Regular season comes to a close when Roughriders face Lions
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - While they may not know where they are going to be playing once the playoffs begin, one thing is for sure, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be participating in the postseason no matter how their meeting against the British Columbia Lions plays out in the final regular- season game of 2012 slated to be played at BC Place on Saturday night.
The Roughriders are a game under .500 and have lost three straight, yet still managed to back into the playoffs as they sit in third place in the West Division standings behind both BC and Calgary. Last week, the team was defeated by the Toronto Argonauts at home in a 31-26 final, which means Saskatchewan is now a game under .500 and is in danger of closing out the regular season on a four-game slide.
Against the Argos, Saskatchewan was held scoreless through the first period of play and then erupted for 16 points in the second quarter, but the effort fizzled in the second half. With the loss, the Riders now have to win this final game or have Edmonton lose earlier in the week in order to set up a meeting with Calgary in the West Semi-Final.
Darian Durant tried to get the Riders back on track last week as he completed 24-of-38 passes for 252 yards and a score, but he was sacked four times and had one pass intercepted, not to mention he failed on a two-point conversion to Weston Dressler in the fourth quarter which would have certainly made things more interesting.
Durant did complete a scoring pass to Dressler to give the receiver 13 majors on the season, which leads the CFL with one week of games remaining. Throw in a return for a touchdown and Dressler is second in the league in scoring among non-kickers with 14 TDs.
Joining Dressler among the most productive scorers in the league, running back Kory Sheets also landed in the end zone on a 24-yard run in the second frame against Toronto, which means he now has 13 TDs of his own overall.
As for the Lions, even though they had their three-game win streak snapped last week in a 41-21 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, they've still locked up the top spot in the division thanks to six wins in the previous seven outings. Against the Stamps, Travis Lulay remained on the sidelines, nursing an injury since putting him on the field meant nothing in terms of the team's playoff positioning, and turned the offense over to Mike Reilly who converted 19-of-26 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, but the signal-caller was also sacked seven times and had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Also making an appearance for the Lions was Thomas DeMarco who completed 3- of-6 passes for 35 yards and was also sacked.
The good news for the Lions was that there was a Geroy Simon sighting as the receiver caught a team-best five passes for 43 yards. Simon, who early in the season became the league's all-time leading receiver in terms of yardage, had missed nearly a month of action due to injury but made sure to return in time for a tune-up heading into the playoffs.
While Simon will miss out on reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the 10th year in a row, having recorded just 54 catches for 700 yards and a couple of scores at this point, having him back on the field moving forward is ultimately the most important thing for the team as he demands attention from defenses and that tends to open up the field for other receivers.
On another positive note for the Lions, they currently lead the league in turnovers with just 22 over the course of 17 games. Barring a complete breakdown by the offense, BC is in line to register the fewest turnovers in CFL history with the current mark being held by Ottawa and these same Lions at 28.
Victorious in a 27-21 decision in the most recent meeting with BC in late September, the Roughriders have now taken two of the last three encounters with the Lions and because of that own a 92-81-4 advantage in the all-time series stretching back to 1954.
10/31 11:31:44 ET