November 11, 2012
Stampeders score in last minute to down Roughriders
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Drew Tate tossed a 68-yard bomb to Romby Bryant for the winning touchdown with 20 seconds left, ending a long drought against the biggest rival.
That much he remembers.
As for the first half, when the Calgary Stampeders quarterback tossed a bomb to receiver Jabari Arthur and set up another TD drive, he's a little foggy.
Tate took a massive head hit early in the second quarter of Sunday's CFL West Division semifinal courtesy of Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end Tearrius George, and he doesn't remember the entire first 30 minutes.
The Stamps are lucky their No. 1 pivot stayed in the game, although maybe he shouldn't have, considering they beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 36-30 in one of the most thrilling playoff outings in history.
Tate was picked up by teammates on the play, got back in the huddle and led them on a drive that put them in front early.
"I just got my bell rung -- that's all," Tate said afterwards. "I don't plan on (missing any time this week)."
At halftime, Tate told TSN sideline reporter Farhan Lalji he didn't remember the first half, but apparently nobody told Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel about that fact.
It was another curious turn of events in a game filled with them.
For Bryant, the final TD strike was a bit of redemption, too. The Stamps were leading by 10 points in the fourth quarter when Bryant was reaching for a first down and had the ball knocked loose by Riders safety Craig Butler.
The fumble gave the Riders some life, as three plays later Darian Durant threw the first of two fourth-quarter TD strikes to Greg Carr.
"We didn't panic at all," Bryant said. "We just went on the field and do what we do. We've won a lot of nailbiters like that.
"There was a lot of emotion. Two years ago, Saskatchewan put us out. We just got tired of (losing to them in the playoffs).
"I can't explain how I felt. I was running out there for the team. It was a team effort."
With the win, the Stamps break a five-game losing skid against the Riders dating back to 1994. They will travel to Vancouver next weekend to face the defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions in Sunday's West final.
The Riders have their season ended, but they went down swinging and can be proud of their effort.
Durant went 24-of-37 passing for 435 yards with four touchdowns -- two in the second quarter to running back Kory Sheets -- but with two interceptions, although one was a last-second Hail Mary.
Riders receiver Weston Dressler was the biggest target, and he seemed to do damage every time he touched the ball. Dressler finished with six catches for 153 yards.
The Stamps also got clutch kicking from Rene Paredes, who hit a 50-yarder at the end of the first half that capped a wild swing in momentum.
After Sheets' second TD, Keon Raymond blocked the extra point, giving Fred Bennett the chance to return the ball for two points the other way.
Raymond iced the game with the final interception, plus had a sack in the first quarter that was key.
The Stamps have finally lifted the Riders curse, and now they face the Lions in the post-season for the first time since 2008, when they went on a Grey Cup run.
"Since '94? Not no more," Raymond said. "The Riders are a good team. That's why they were in the playoffs.
"When we've played them this year, it's been a total of six or seven points between us. It was a great play by Romby at the end. We had to step up."