REGINA - When their season ended in shocking fashion in the 2012 West semifinal, the Saskatchewan Roughriders knew they needed to do something about their defence.
One year after Calgary Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate hit Romby Bryant with 18 seconds left for a game-winning touchdown to send the Riders home, consider it done.
The defence is a completely revamped unit, and it’s helped propel them into Sunday’s 101st Grey Cup against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The statistics back up the on-paper improvements, too.
The Riders gave up a CFL-low 398 points.
They held opponents to only 181 first-downs through the air — by far the best mark in three-down football — while confusing opposing quarterbacks to the tune of a 58.2% completion rate, which again led the league.
They picked off 26 passes.
Their pass-rushers provided 57 sacks.
They’re at the top, or near the top, of the CFL in almost every single defensive statistic.