posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 10:45 PM
The NFL game is certainly more athletic and talented than the CFL. But you gotta give the CFL one thing: the Grey Cup (championship game) seems to
always be a thriller. Tonight's was no different. What an incredible game to watch.
Eskimos win 93rd Grey Cup in Vancouver
Eskimos win 2005 Grey Cup
11/28/2005 12:14:30 AM
VANCOUVER (CP) - It was Ricky Ray's day and one of the Edmonton Eskimos' most spectacular Grey Cup wins.
Ray threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and helped set up Sean Fleming's 36-yard field goal in the second round of overtime to give the Eskimos
a thrilling 38-35 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.
Pulled from Edmonton's previous two playoff wins in favour of backup Jason Maas, Ray played the entire game as the Eskimos claimed their second Grey
Cup title in three years and 13th overall.
"It's been a tough last month for me," said Ray. "Everywhere I looked, it seemed that people were saying I shouldn't be playing.
"Last night at our hotel, I heard the local anchor man say they should play Jason Maas. It was hard to stay positive. But my team supported me and
Jason supported me, and to go out win was like the cherry on top."
It was just the second Grey Cup decided in overtime - the other was Winnipeg's 21-14 win over Hamilton at Toronto in 1961 - and made for some high
drama as control of the game swung repeatedly from Edmonton, to Montreal and back. In overtime, Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo hit Dave Stala
for a touchdown only to see Ray connect with Jason Tucker. In OT, both teams try to score from the 35 until one team takes a lead.
Edmonton got a field goal on its second OT try, but on Montreal's last chance, Calvillo was charged with making an illegal double pass (his first
attempt hit a player and bounced back into his hands).
Then he was sacked and then he failed to get the first down, prompting the Eskimos to swarm onto the field in triumph.
"They got the field goal and it was like the wheels fell off," said Calvillo, who completed 29 passes for 361 yards. "A dumb mistake on my part with
the double pass. It went downhill from there.
"It hurts more with it probably being my best (Grey Cup) game throwing-wise, but it's still very painful not walking away with victory."
The Eskimos took the rubber match of three meetings with Montreal in the last four Grey Cups - with Montreal winning in 2002 and Edmonton taking the
Of the three, this was clearly the most entertaining, with end to end action in the fourth quarter and OT that had a sellout crowd of 59,157 at B.C.
Place at fever pitch.
"That's the CFL, exciting football at its best, but it's a very difficult way to lose," said Montreal's Don Matthews, whose bid to become the first
head coach with six Grey Cup wins fell short.
Ray was named the game's outstanding player after going 35 of 45 for 359 yards and two touchdowns. Saskatoon native Mike Maurer, who had four catches
for 41 yards, was named top Canadian.
"I can barely fathom it," said Maurer, who signed with Edmonton this season after three years in Ottawa. "I just wanted to contribute."
It also made a Grey Cup champion of Edmonton's rookie head coach Danny Maciocia, a Montreal native who started out in the Alouettes organization.
Maciocia, who ran out onto the field grinning from ear to ear when Ray put his team ahead in the dying minutes, fell to his knees and wept at the
bench when it was over. He was the seventh CFL head coach to win a title on his first try.
"It's always been my dream to be a CFL head coach," he said. "I'm proud to be a Canadian, a Quebecer, a Montrealer, and to win a Grey Cup in my first
year as head coach, but the message is, Canadians are capable of doing this job," he said.
The dying minutes were even more dramatic than the OT, as Montreal's Damon Duval tied the game at 28-28 on the final play of regulation time with a
27-yard field goal.
Montreal had looked to have the game won moments earlier when Edmonton was stalled at the Als' 50 on third and four. Ray then lofted the ball 35 yards
to Derrell Mitchell with what Maciocia called "a perfect, tight spiral pass."
Two pass interference calls and a no-gain later, Ray plunged across the line from the one. He then completed a crucial two-point conversion to Tucker
for a 28-25 lead with 1:03 remaining. Before the frenetic final minutes and overtime, the game was marked by dazzling kick returns by Montreal's
Ezra Landry and Edmonton's Tony Tompkins, who set a Grey Cup record with a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown in the third quarter. Ed Hervey also had
a TD while Fleming booted two other field goals for Edmonton. Eric Lapointe, who had three TDs in an East Division final win in Toronto last week,
added two more in the championship game.
"It's really disappointing to finish this way when we were so close to having a ring on our finger," said Lapointe, who will ponder retirement this
winter. "Just one or two plays in the game made the difference.
"If I'm done with the game, I'm proud to be an Alouette."
Calvillo faked to Lapointe and carried one in himself in the fourth quarter. Duval added a second field goal and a single. Prime Minister Paul
Martin and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean were among the sellout crowd, which appeared evenly split between supporters of the two teams.
The late scoring frenzy came after a deathly quiet first half in which defences dominated and Edmonton took a 10-1 lead.
But Montreal made its adjustments while the Black Eyed Peas were entertaining the audience and picked up 17 points in the third quarter.
After making good on a third-and-one gamble, a 33-yard pass to Ben Cahoon put the ball on the one and Lapointe ran it in 3:46 into the second half.
The Eskimos answered back with a long possession capped by Fleming's 35-yard field goal at 10:56 to go ahead 13-8.
But Landry's 40-yard kickoff return followed by Sylvain Girard's 44-yard catch at the Edmonton five set up Lapointe's one-yard TD plunge at 11:57 for
Montreal's first lead of the game at 15-13. A Troy Davis fumble was then recovered by Mathieu Proulx at the Edmonton 12, setting up a 13-yard Duval
field goal. But Tompkins, who this week guaranteed he would return a kick for a TD, ran back the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to put the Eskimos back on
top 20-18 going into the final quarter. Matthews said losing three starters to injury during the game - safety Richard Karikari, middle linebacker
Jeremiah Garrison and fullback Mike Vilimek - had weakened the kick coverage team.
The first half was marked by two Montreal turnovers, Ray's first TD pass in eight games and Hervey's first TD reception of the season. Ray, who last
threw for a TD on Sept. 24 against British Columbia, hit Hervey near the sidelines with a nine-yard scoring pass at 3:49 of the second quarter.
Ball control was Edmonton's strength in the opening 30 minutes, as Ray used short passes, mainly to Trevor Gaylor and Mitchell, and some timely runs
from Troy Davis to move the ball.
Former Eskimo Terry Vaughn was stripped of the ball by Donny Brady and A.J. Gass recovered at the Montreal 41 on the Alouettes' first possession and
seven plays later, Fleming made good on an 18-yard field goal 6:57 into the game.
A Duval punt rolled into the end zone for a single at 14:42. Midway through the second quarter, Duval missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.
The Alouettes, held to one yard on the ground in the first half, threatened late in the half when Calvillo completed five straight passes, but it
ended with a Shannon Garrett interception.
Lapointe came alive in the second half, picking up 46 yards overall while Davis had 68, each with 11 carries.
Notes - It was Montreal's 14th Grey Cup game and their 11th against the Eskimos, who lead the series 8-3. The Eskimos are now 13-9 in Grey Cups. ...
Head linesman Don Cousens left after the first half with a knee injury and was replaced by Ross Saunders.