The B.C. Lions, who really ought to decline the honour the next time someone suggests they play a post-season game on the road, simply mailed it in on a perfect late-fall afternoon in Calgary.
A 12-6 season under Wally Buono, full of encouraging moments and emerging stars, was comprehensively pancaked within 30 minutes, by which time the Stampeders led 32-0 and it was all over but the coaches’ challenges.
Of course, that’s not giving half enough credit to the 16-2-1 Stampeders, one of the very best football teams this league has seen, let alone a three-year-old Ottawa Redblacks franchise and its 41-year-old marvel of a quarterback, Henry Burris.
However, wholesale NFL jerseys the losers might choose to rationalize the carnage, the CFL’s No. 1 team will be in Toronto next Sunday to vie for the old silver grail with the Grey Cup’s last chance to be saved by some semblance of a home rooting interest — Redblacks’ fans being close enough to buy all those unsold tickets, if they travel.
In Ottawa, it began as a picturesque snow-globe kind of game, reminiscent of the 1996 Doug Flutie-led Toronto win over Edmonton. It looked like a rout at halftime, 17-3, probably wasn’t as close as the 35-23 final score indicated, and even descended briefly into comedy at halftime when efforts to remove the inches of accumulated snow from the field at TD Bank Place also removed the line markings.
The machine that might have repainted them froze up, and the sidelines had to be delineated by hand, in red, with little orange cones for added visual cues. It was charmingly, endearingly CFL.
There was nothing endearing about the Stampeders’ maltreatment of the Lions, unless you’re a fan of baby-seal clubbings.
“We have fresh legs. You could see it: we’re out-running these guys,” Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said at the half.
He cheap jerseys then qualified his remarks by saying the Lions are a great football team and we better not let up … you know, the things you’re supposed to say so you don’t look overconfident. But he had it right the first time.
The difference in speed between the Stampeders and Lions was startling, a testimony to three weeks without a game to play while B.C. had to grind it out against Winnipeg in the semifinal. With six or seven weeks to work on expanding the playbook since the last meaningful game, Calgary’s … um, rookie head coach Dave Dickenson came up with a superb plan that Mitchell turned into wholesale jerseys a surgical dissection of B.C.’s defence.
The ultra-confident QB might be the unanimous pick as the CFL’s most outstanding player on awards night this week, and played like it Sunday.
Meanwhile, there were only new wounds to lick for the Lions, whose previous two road playoff games were 50-17 and 35-9 losses to Montreal and Calgary, respectively, and now have thrown in this 42-15 turkey to hang in the air like flatulence in an elevator through the off-season while they try to sell season’s tickets for 2017. That’s 127-41 aggregate, but who’s counting?
Wally Buono, whose task now is to build on the positives of the regular season while trying to make the fan base forget the disheartening ending, started Travis Lulay at quarterback to begin the second half. But even though he engineered a touchdown, a subsequent interception was all it took for cheap NFL jerseys the old coach to give his head a shake and realize it would be very bad optics to end the season with the club’s future, Jonathon Jennings, on the bench.
Nothing was going to change the result, in any case. The Stamps would have beaten any team in the league on this day. Maybe not any Minnesota Vikings jerseys team ever, but most of them.