We entered the final week of the regular season in the CFL still with two playoff spots up for grabs.
The Edmonton Eskimos were in the driver's seat, not needing to win in order to clinch. A win over the Calgary Stampeders or a loss by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats meant the Eskimos would make it.
This meant that the pressure of an entire season was on the Ticats as they rolled into Toronto to battle the rival Argonauts. Toronto had already punched its playoff ticket, which typically suggests that backups get to play, handing Hamilton a terrific opportunity to salvage a disappointing season.
However, the Argos refused to give them a free pass. Last Thursday night's contest turned into a shootout with a late Swayze Waters field goal lifting Toronto to a dramatic 43-40 victory.
Don't worry, ladies and gentleman, I (Andy) am not picking another kicker for most valuable player. This week's choice as "Mac's Main Main" and "Carlan's Darling" is one and the same -- Toronto's second-string running back Gerald Riggs Jr.
Sitting some starters did not take any spark out the Argos' attack as Riggs put the league on notice by rumbling his way to 122 yards on 15 carries and scoring a touchdown. Key to this effort was that the Ticats were playing for their playoff lives. This was not a "Who Cares?" matchup like a couple of others this past weekend, meaning the rookie running back performed exceptionally well in a pressure situation.
Having the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" (Riggs hails from Chattanooga, Tenn.) get the majority of reps and delivering gives Toronto two game-ready rushers heading into the crossover semifinal versus Edmonton. The Eskimos will now not only be playing on the road, but also have to adjust their defensive strategy to account for both Chad Kackert and Riggs carrying the football.
If utilized properly, the emergence of Riggs could give the Argos the extra boost they need on offence to elevate themselves over Edmonton and into the East Division final.
-- Andy McNamara & Carlan Gay
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