The playoff hopes of the Saskatchewan Roughriders ended on Saturday night following a 32-21 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
After a flicker of hope from the Riders early in the second half, Calgary would go on to regain the lead in the third quarter as they never looked back.
The Riders grabbed a 13-12 lead early in the third quarter Shaq Evans caught a 23 yard touchdown pass from Mason Fine. But the lead would be short lived as the Stampeders would respond immediately with a pair of touchdowns.
Calgary was able to control the line of scrimmage on Saturday as they were able to rush for 206 yards. Dedrick Mills had 102 yards rushing while Ka’Deem Carey had 75 yards on the ground.
Time of possession was also dominated by Calgary has they held possession for nearly 36 minutes of the game.
Fine had 189 yards passing and a touchdown in his first start at quarterback for the Riders.
Cody Fajardo appeared for a couple of plays and had 15 yards on a pair of carries.
Jamal Morrow appeared in his first game following a fractured hand injury with 39 yards rushing and 34 yards receiving.
Mario Alford provided some late game fireworks with a 104 yard touchdown. In 2022, Alford was able to return a kickoff, a punt and a missed field goal for touchdowns.
Richie Sandini had 14 yard reception for Calgary.
The game had to be halted with 11:53 as Mike Edem was injured and required a cart to leave the field.
With the loss, Saskatchewan’s record drops down to 6-11. The Riders suffered their sixth straight loss, as well the green and white it was their sixth consecutive loss at Mosaic Stadium.
Saskatchewan will finish their season off next Saturday when they meet the Stampeders in Calgary. The game will have no playoff implications as the Stampeders will finish in third spot in the CFL’s Western Division.
In the post game news conference, Dickenson said that Edem was transported to hospital f0r precautionary reasons and that all signs are pointing that he will be okay.
According to the Riders head coach, the outcome of the game was decided by Calgary’s dominance of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“I think they wore us down, they had ten or twelve more plays than we have, they ran for a lot of yards. ”
Linebacker Darnell Sankey says the green and white defence weren’t able to make the plays to shut the Stamps offence down.
“I just don’t think we’re really executing like we should be executing, I think that goes without saying.”
When accessing his quarterback, Mason Fine’s play on Saturday, Dickenson said there was a mixture of positives and negatives.
“I thought he played well, I think he could play better, was there a spark, I don’t know, but I felt he did what he could, and I think our team believed in him and played hard around him.”
Once he was able to settle in at QB, Fine believed there were some
“During the flow, I felt like me, felt like back in the college days, you know it’s been a while since I played a football game.”
Given the magnitude of Saturday’s game, Shaq Evans believes that Fine performed well given the circumstances.
“Your first start is a must win game in front of the home fans, that’s a tough situation, he handled it well, he did the best that he could, I’m proud of him.”
For the most part of the season, Fine has observed the Riders through the sidelines and has hard time explaining why things didn’t go right for the green and white in 2022.
“If football was a fair game they would make the ball round because then you would know where it bounces. Football bounces a lot of ways, and it didn’t quite go our way this season. ”
From Evan’s perspective, a lot of the Riders problems were created by a lack of execution.
“We just didn’t make timely plays, I just think that’s the biggest thing, I felt like in year’s past we won games that we were suppose to win and that we needed to win, we always made the plays, made the drive, made the stop we needed it and this year for whatever reason, we didn’t put it together, obviously injuries are a factor, COVID, stomach flu, there was a lot going this year, I just felt like it wasn’t in the cards for us.”
There is no doubt there will be changes in Riderville before the opening kickoff in 2023 and that is something Evans is already aware of.
” It’s a feeling that I haven’t felt since I’ve been here, you know always that everyone isn’t coming back, but now it’s like you know there are going to be some changes, when you have a season like this, change is inevitable. ”
Sankey said he was disappointed with the result of the Riders season.
“I feel like that we let down Rider nation.”
When asked how to look back at his team this past season, the linebacker said. “A team, that could’ve.”
“I truly believe that we’re a great team, we have a lot of great players, great coaching staff, but some of the games we lost throughout the year, we shouldn’t lost, you know, flat out we shouldn’t have lost.
Even though next Saturday’s game against Calgary has nothing on the line but pride, Sankey plans on giving a full effort in the season finale.
“I’m going to give it my all until it’s done, that’s kind of the player I’ve always been, meaningless or not, in terms of the standings and playoff it doesn’t matter to mean, I’m here to do a job, and do it well.”