2008-11-07

Playoff game day -- Eskimos at Winnipeg



Saturday morning the Eskimos will play their first playoff game since the last time Ricky Ray lifted the Grey Cup, three long years ago.

Again for the heck of it, I'll run a live blog, or turn it into a game day thread if the comments section gets rolling. Canadian football is maybe my fourth favourite team sport behind hockey, baseball and soccer, but I have been following the CFL since the early 60s and still like to watch it at this time of year. Come to think of it, football should be just right for blogging, with its ratio of 6 seconds of action to 30 seconds of getting off the pile and standing around in little circles. Whatever, if I remember to wake up I'll be here at 11 a.m. MST. Please feel free to drop by.
***

Staurday morning: Whaddya know, I did wake up, sort of. Pretty groggy after being out 'til 5 doing some astronomy, but I'm here in front of the big screen with my laptop hooked up, so how tough can it be?
***

Rereading that: Staurday? Not a promising start.
***

1/13:07 - Not a promising start for Ricky Ray either as two passes find turf and look horrible doing so. His arm was hit on the second throw. We're going into the harsh prairie wind, which combined with bitter cold provides the sort of natural challenges that can make football compelling.
***

1 / 12:00 - "There is no infraction on the play." The referee has already established there are no rules against Winnipeg. At least they're upfront about that sort of thing in this league, not like the NHL.

1/10:34 - Bombers miss a field goal, but Edmonton returner errs by conceding the single point immediately, rather than killing time by running around the end zone for a while. That will give Eskimos one or two more plays into the wind, something they don't really need. the guy frankly looked like he couldn't wait to get off the field, looks pretty miserable out there. Winnipeg 1, Edmonton 0
***

... and once again the colour guy agrees with me. :) Coming out of commercial, he makes the same point about clock management.
***

Just as I was going to comment how Edmonton was managing field position not too bad, Winnipeg has a one-play, 80-year touchdown drive. Edmonton's pass defenders manage to make contact with each other, but the receiver eludes both and trots the rest of the way. Winnipeg 8, Edmonton 0
***

1/5:23 - The surround sound really gives the sense of the crowd willing on the defensive front on third and short. There's a muffled but enthusiastic sound to a playoff crowd on a cold November day. Having attended probably 15 playoff games at Clarke and Commonwelath over the years, I can empathize.
***

... and with that I'm moving into the comments section ...

126 comments:

Doogie2K said...

I may have to have that going in the background while I get some work done tomorrow.

As an aside, the CFL is wacky. One .500 team in an entire division, while the the other has a 10-8 team in last place. I can see why they have that crossover rule now. (As an aside, wouldn't it just complete everything if there was a BoA in the Grey Cup final?)

Doogie2K said...

Also, as an aside, I know even less about our brand of football than I do about "proper" football. And that's not much.

doritogrande said...

Scan the East side upper deck in section 8. I'll be there, frozen to the fucking bench seating.

Go Blue!

Doogie2K said...

And the sack. Ouch. Inauspicious start for the Green & Gold.

Doogie2K said...

Wow. Bryant beat everyone. 8-0 WPG.

Doogie2K said...

I definitely bought the baffled expression on the Als' players' faces during that War Amps commercial. What's an 18-wheeler doing on a football field?

Doogie2K said...

Also, go Jason Tucker.

Bruce said...

Hey D2K. Not looking good just now. edmonton needs to move the ball.

Doogie2K said...

And just as you say that, Campbell with the big reception.

Of course, my Dad used to say, "Never trust a Campbell," but I can live with this one. ;)

Doogie2K said...

And two and out. FG range, at least.

Doogie2K said...

"Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" seems like an odd-ass stadium rock song, considering it's about decay in Western society.

Bruce said...

1/1:00 and counting down, mercifully. Eskimos have stabilized the game with a drive for a field goal, but need to nip Winnipeg's possession in the bud. Third and inches ...

Doogie2K said...

Wow, Glenn's loving that deep throw to Bryant today. Missed it by inches.

Doogie2K said...

And that chocolate milk ad is actually 100% right: I was as surprised as anyone to learn that, but after learning it in a nutrition lecture for exercise physiology, I feel less guilty about my chocolate milk consumption. ;)

Bruce said...

i find it more than a little offputting how easily the protest songs of my youth (I'mn a child of the 60s) have been assimiliated into that decaying, decadent western culture. Not that there's anything wrong with playing a good song in the long gaps between the action.

Doogie2K said...

Do they not have heating in the broadcast booth?

Doogie2K said...

Well, it's not like today's protest songs are generally worth a damn, though I am a fan of Green Day's American Idiot.

Bruce said...

Eskimos got lucky, the quarter ended before a kicking play so that clock management error din't cost them field position.

Big stop there, other than one 5-play sequence that featured a Winnipeg sack, a long Winnipeg touchdown pass, a dumb-ass Edmonton penalty on the convert, and a big special teams play by Winnipeg on the kickoff. Sometimes such sequences are the trigger for blowouts ... but edmonton played pretty darn well both before and after.

Doogie2K said...

and with that I'm moving into the comments section

I was starting to feel like I was talking to myself. ;)

Bruce said...

Iris Dement's Wasteland of the Free is a beauty, tho' it's probably a dozen years old so not that "current". Subject matter still is, unfortunately.

Bruce said...

Look after the damn ball, Ricky!

Doogie2K said...

Nice punt return. Thought for a second there he was away.

Bruce said...

Big difference between a near interception and a 53-yard punt with no return. if anything, turnovers are more costly with the wind.

Doogie2K said...

I think Don Henley's song "Dirty Laundry" is more appropriate today than it was 20 years ago.

Bruce said...

Nice runback by Jackson. All is forgiven for the earlier brain freeze.

Doogie2K said...

I love the irony of an Esks' receiver named Stamps. Into scoring range.

Doogie2K said...

3rd and goal at the 1...you've gotta go for it, no?

Doogie2K said...

TOUCHDOWN HARRIS!

Bruce said...

... and George Carlin's Gulf War rant works equally well for the second Gulf War as it did the first. Even the names didn't change, just father to son in one notable instance.

Anyway, this is about Canadian football, not political football. Look at that! it's first and goal. Nice pass to Stamps. Let's see if we can move the ball through the red zone.

Doogie2K said...

I often wonder why RBs tend to go up the middle when there's the large crowd of bodies. Seems like going outside like Harris did there would be easier, even if you have to cover a lot more lateral distance.

Bruce said...

Wow, a pitch play, haven't seen much of that in my admittedly limited views of Eskimos this season. (went to one game, watched all or part of a few on TV)

That was a no-brainer to gamble. If the Bombers make the stop, they're backed all the way up and almost sure to be conceding 2 of the 3 points we would have got with the field goal.

Bruce said...

Of course, we are talking about Danny Maciocia ...

Doogie2K said...

"I've been here 14 years and I still hate this weather, man." Heh.

Bruce said...

Brutal.

Bruce said...

Classic Ricky Ray: two complete passes, third and 7.

Doogie2K said...

Oh shit. Punt return TD Winterpeg.

Bruce said...

Disaster. terrible punt, terrible coverage.

Bruce said...

When you've got the wind is not the time to be kicking line drive punts. The coverage team wasn't downfield yet and Armstead found the hole in the wave. But i put a lot of that right on the kicker. He didn't angle the kick or anything.

Bruce said...

The good news is, it's just 7 points. It didn't wipe a bunch of time off the clock. Edmonton needs to respond with points.

Bruce said...

Spare a warm thought for DoritoGrande. Hope he's having fun.

Doogie2K said...

Definitely seen the best and worst of Ray in the first half.

Ineligible receiver. That seems like a silly mistake to make.

Bruce said...

How can that be a penalty? WTF was the guy supposed to do?

Doogie2K said...

I hope so, too. Sitting on a cold metal bench in sub-zero temperatures is never fun on its own.

Bruce said...

Ray's arm got hit and the ball went straight to the lineman about one yard over the line of scrimmage. I guess his mistake was putting his hands on the ball, instinctively no doubt. Just a bad break.

Doogie2K said...

I would think he'd know he's ineligible, no? So shouldn't he just let it drop? Or would he need to do something to prevent a turnover? This is one of those football things I don't understand.

Bruce said...

Eskimos respond with a FG. A TD would have been great, but we'll take the 3. If anything, 15-13 flatters the Bombers, who have had a few big plays while the Eskimos generate the better (ahem) Corsi numbers. I can hear the dice rattling already ...

Doogie2K said...

INTERCEPTION TOUCHDOWN PERRY!

Bruce said...

SWEET!!! HUGE play by Perry. Athletic sequence from the big man.

'bout time Edmonton got a Big play.

Doogie2K said...

Well, the Eskimos have had more possession time so far in the game. That sort of corrects the shooting percentages, so to speak, no? ;)

20-15 Eskies.

Bruce said...

The crowd is quiet in all 7.1 speakers.

Bruce said...

That sort of corrects the shooting percentages, so to speak, no? ;)

Methinks it's obvious, no?

Doogie2K said...

How did you get your TV in full surround? I don't know how to do that, so I just have traditional 2.0 sound on my 5.1 system. =(

(I'm using an ExpressVu box, BTW.)

Bruce said...

I'm still trying to get my head around the fact this is the Eastern semi-final.

Bruce said...

My kid set it up. I'm on "old fashioned" cable.

the announcer's voices and the game action sounds like it comes from the screen, but the speakers behind me just make crowd and PA noises and echoes and stuff. It's fairly authentic, actually.

Doogie2K said...

I set it up for my dad, too. Clearly, I have some figuring-out to do.

Bruce said...

See that stat on turnovers? Eskimos +11 in their 10 wins, -19 in their 8 losses. No doubt turnovers have a much better correspondence to results than stats like yards or first downs or even possession time.

Doogie2K said...

I was listening to the morning show on FAN 960 yesterday morning and they cited a similar stat for my university team, the U of C Dinos. In a game where simple transition is much less common than in hockey, it makes sense that turnovers have a much greater impact, but it's still kind of stunning when you actually see it laid out in front of you.

Bruce said...

Sucks to come away from that last possession with only one point. Oh well, as the old adage goes (for every single sport), it's a game of mistakes.

Btw, the CFL's biggest critics -- and there's plenty of them -- will always chant that "reward for failure" mantra about the sadly abused single point. But I like the single point. It rewards success, namely kicking the ball into the end zone, it's just a lower eward than for kicking it between the uprights. 9and you could extend the argument that the field goal itself is a "reward for failure", since the team forced to kick has failed to score a touchdown. the same logic applies, and i prefer to see all scoring plays as a reward for what you did do commensurate with its degree of difficulty.

The single point has the great blessing of giving teams the incentive to run the ball out of the end zone, something completely absent from the NFL which features far too much dead ball play for my liking.

in the current instance I agree with the commentators questioning why the Winnipeg returner didn't try to run that one out. But we'll take our one point for successfully pinning the guy in the end zone. ;)

Bruce said...

Exciting first half, two offensive touchdowns including a big play and a third down gamble, one defensive touchdown, one special teams touchdown, and some pretty decent football in between times under difficult conditions. Eskimos have looked the better team so far, but one of the knocks against Danny Maciocia's teams have been half-time adjustments or failure thereof. his teams have also had difficulty in the second half of back-to-backs, not to mention the second half of the season.

But that's all in the past ... let's see how if they can keep it going today.

Bruce said...

Winnipeg gets the wind in the fourth quarter. I can't tell you how many prairie playoff games I've witnessed where that was critical.

Doogie2K said...

Ooh, almost turned over on that long bomb.

Doogie2K said...

So much for that guaranteed sellout. ;)

Bruce said...

Sometime i get frustrated that we can complete a five yard pass on 2nd and 8, but on 2nd and 3 we decide to go deep?

Bruce said...

Big stop there. Way to go D. Big decision here.

Bruce said...

the trouble with having the wind first is the natural tendency -- especially Maciocia and Ray -- to play conservatively with the lead when we really need to be opening it up.

Bruce said...

the lack of running game hurt there. oh well, a much better punt this time. pinning the Bombers deep is an OK result.

Doogie2K said...

What the hell happened there? Again, I really don't understand how balls are sometimes dead when they hit the ground and sometimes can be picked up for turnovers.

Bruce said...

FUMBLE!!! Or is it?

Bruce said...

no way ... even the video goal judge in the Pond would get that one right.

Bruce said...

I like the poppy on the official's collar. Classy.

Bruce said...

great kick into the wind. how strong is that breeze, anyway? it's not near the factor it could be, let's put it that way.

Bruce said...

Beauty pitch and catch there to Campbell.

Bruce said...

something emptied the room ... the eyes have it.

Doogie2K said...

That would be me working on my notes a bit.

Doogie2K said...

Also, TOUCHDOWN HARRIS!

spOILer said...

Too hard for me to run back and forth from TV to office.

That drive exposed the right side of the Bomber's defense; other than the long one up the middle, the Esks worked the short side all the way up the field.

Bruce said...

TOUCHDOWN!!! That was a clinical drive by the Esks. 29-15, but lots o' time left. steady as she goes ... the defence needs to respond now.

Bruce said...

laptops and wireless networks are perfect for game day threads.

Bruce said...

I get sick of these reductionist replays ... we saw the fumble about 9 different times, and the recovery zero times. just show the damn play.

Doogie2K said...

But Bruce, they got all these fancy-ass cameras...gotta use them.

Also, looks like Campbell just slipped a bit or he was away.

Bruce said...

the classic shoestring tackle

Doogie2K said...

So how is that one nothing, but the others were +1?

Bruce said...

the short-yardage running game has been letting Esks down at times


right call to kick the fG, but
our veteran kicker has just made his third poor kick of this game. the difference between 14 and 17 is huge. a golden opportunity blown there

spOILer said...

I can't see Prefontaine being back next year. He's been Fleming-like in his consistency.

Bruce said...

it's a dead ball after it hits the post. if it bounces through it's 3, otherwise it's nothing and the ball scrimmages at the 25 (used to be the 10)

One of those strange twists of the rulebook, but there's a twisted logic to it, he hit the post so didn't kick it into the end zone

no reward for failure :D

Bruce said...

third quarter ends with Eskimos facing a 3rd and a full yard on their own side of midfield. i'm guessing they punt.

Doogie2K said...

Weird-ass rule.

Bruce said...

331 yards to 187
28:12 to 16:48 possession time
2 turnovers to 0

That's 45 minutes of pretty alright, need to finish the job.

Bruce said...

this is a big drive here, two first downs later the D needs to bear down

Bruce said...

huge play, negative yardage on 2nd-and-1

spOILer said...

That was a weird short-yardage play by the Bomb. Block left on a left side draw from the shot gun? Why? Block left seems more suited for the draw up the middle, or a counter, like the one they fumbled on couple of drives ago.

Bruce said...

I'm liking 29-15 on the board, that was the exact scoreline of the 1993 Western final in mcMahon Stadium when Damon Allen was running the Sally Rand offence (the naked bootleg) and Doug Flutie froze his brain. Edmonton went on to beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup, also in McMahon.

Doogie2K said...

Wow, dumb penalty by Walls gives Ray a mulligan after getting sacked.

Bruce said...

Dumb MF penalty. inexcusable is right

i'm not sure Kabongo is the guy i'd want to be pissing off, either

spOILer said...

I was at that Cup, Bruce, sweet feeling it was, cause all the Calgarians who'd bought tickets thought they were going to be watching their beloved Pied Piper. They were in an evil mood that day.

Bruce said...

hey, Spoiler! welcome

33-23 wasn't it?

i still remember Flutie taking himself out on third-and-goal so he could warm up on the sidelines for the two-point convert. he was so cold his faculties deserted him. Hard to get a two-point convert without scoring a touchdown first, Mr. Legend.

spOILer said...

Yup, against these very Bombers.

Bruce said...

Eskimos pulled off the same sequence in '87, they beat the Grey cup hosts inb their own barn in the western final, then took over the home team's locker room and ultimately, the Grey Cup. Onvce in Vancouver, once in calgary. Sweet

spOILer said...

If Prefontaine is going to line'em or pooch'em, could he stop doing it directly at the returner?

Bruce said...

McCarty has been catching that pass all day, but Peterson couldn't bring it down. We could have used a big play from our big play receiver there

that was prefontaine's first ppor punt into the wind.

spOILer said...

If Bombers get it in here, gotta think they'll go for two, no?

Bruce said...

100!!! that's a first for this blog

Bruce said...

No reason not to go for 2 when down by 5 late.

but they're going to kick the three first and try to get the 8 at the end. They need two scores.

Bruce said...

I keep thinking back to the two that Prefontaine missed at the same end of the field. Cerna's made two in a row to keep his team alive.

Bruce said...

Kabongo takes another one for the team.

Isn't that one of the best names in all of sports?

Bruce said...

our ball control offence has really, uh, dropped the ball in the fourth quarter.

Bruce said...

option play on 2nd and 10, what a call.

eskimos are missing the tackles at the most critical point

spOILer said...

I don't care, I would've punted there, downfield out of bounds.

The near block on the last punt must've had an effect on the decision.

Bruce said...

ferfuxsakes, illegal procedure on 3rd and inches, what a blunder -- did Eskimos make a single first down in the fourth quarter?

this offence has lacked killer instinct for years

Bruce said...

uh, guys, can one of you rush the quarterback?

Bruce said...

thank you

Doogie2K said...

Sack. Not to jinx it, but that's probably the game.

Doogie2K said...

First-ever crossover win? Cool.

Bruce said...

Edmonton 29 Winnipeg 21

these eastern playoffs are alright! now it's off to Montreal for an early renewal of one of the great Grey Cup rivalries

things were a little tenser than they needed to be at the end, but the better team won that game.

spOILer said...

Bruce, I blame Maccioca. What other team has a garden gnome for a head coach?

The swing passes, play action hitch screens completely disappeared from the play book in the 4th.

It's been tough for me to get behind this team since he became head coach. Just one cock up after another.

As for Kabongo, he needs a first initial of L...

"Hey Queeeksdraw!"
"I'll do the thinnin' round here, Bobba Louie."

Bruce said...

Spoiler; you're right. From now on he's Patrick L. Kabongo. (for Large)

I'm with you in that I fail to understand how the team can simply stop doing their most successful offensive plays when they're trying to batten down the hatches on a lead. Maciocia's game management "strategy" has baffled me for years.

Whatever, his team was prepared today, esp. when it came to protecting the ball. Zero turnovers is a real good stat for any team under tough conditions. Winnipeg got the two big plays but not a whole lot otherwise.

Fantastic game by Fred Perry and the D-line.

Doogie2K said...

L. Kabongo is Pierre MacGuire's favourite player.

Bruce said...

The CFL may be a bush league -- in fact, that's one of its charms -- but this playoff system is alright. Top two in your division guarantees a home date, next two best records get in. The seeding system meant Winnipeg got home "ice" advantage despite their inferior W-L record, but at least they had to play a real team instead a sad sack outfit like Toronto.

The results of the crossover system speak for themselves. At this moment in between today's games, the five teams with winning records are still alive and kicking, the other three are gone. Montreal and Calgary have earned their byes, but they're still going to have to win a home final against a reasonably strong team, which is how it should be.

Doogie2K said...

Had to snicker at the pre-game scuffle between the Lions and Riders.

Bruce said...

still there Doogie? So far the green Riders can't hang on to the ball, which as we've discussed, cannot possibly be a good sign

Bruce said...

... and that makes three, and we're still in the first quarter. Terrible throw by Bishop.

Bruce said...

Wow, and there's #4 as the Grey Cup champs self-destruct. The always excellent Chris Cuthbert calls it a "ghastly start for Saskatchewan". Not a word you hear often, but absolutely appropriate. Did they oil the pigskin?

doritogrande said...

"Spare a warm thought for DoritoGrande. Hope he's having fun."

Fucking.Freezing. I think I almost lost a toe. Eskimos did a fantastic job stopping out run-plays and aside from the long bomb to Bryant, the recievers weren't effective. The better team won this game.

Doogie2K said...

Sorry for posting and running there. I have to get ready for the Hitmen game tonight, so I'm out.

Bruce said...

DG: Thanks for the report, hope you warm up soon. i know from "bitter" experience it takes longer after a loss.

What was the temperature? Wind chill? Attendance?

doritogrande said...

Temperature would have been fine if not for that killer North wind. Cold enough to turn my Kokanee into a slurpee, it was.

Definitely not a sell-out by any means but it was hard to expect one in these conditions. We Winnipeggers may be tough, but we're also cheap bastards.

Also, it's hard for cheerleaders to warm male blood when they're in michelin-man suits. Not attractive.