The Saskatchewan Roughriders' bubble didn't just burst, it exploded Saturday night in Calgary. Henry Burris threw four touchdowns and Joffrey Reynolds ran for another as the Stampeders routed the Riders 40-20 at McMahon Stadium. It left both teams with identical 3-1 records, and tied for first in the CFL West after four weeks.
"You know at halftime (with the scored tied 7-7) I told the team we were going to win it in the second half, but then we couldn't move the ball," admitted Rider coach Ken Miller after the game. "Our special teams were just average, we couldn't move the ball and we couldn't stop the run."
Other than that, it was a great outing. Actually it's not the end of the world although a few have already jumped off the bandwagon. But that happens with every loss.
At this time last year, the Riders were 2-2 and on the way to finishing first for the first time since 1976. They're still in first place, albeit tied, but now have some questions that need to be answered.
Such as: why was Darian Durant left in the game for the entire 60 minutes, even though the team was losing by as much as 40-11 late in the game? How could the team give up 245 yards rushing when they only averaged 91 yards per game against in the first three games? Why has prized free agent Dominique Dorsey not come anywhere close to breaking a long kick return? Wasn't that why he was signed to a six-figure deal?
It's not a bad thing the team will have to face the tough questions this week, as they prepare for their next challenge, Saturday at home against the 1-3 Hamilton Tigercats.
The Riders have been living the life of rock stars pretty much since training camp began. They were the toast of the CFL before losing this game and were living high on the hog.
Half a dozen Riders were introduced on stage at the Craven Country Jamboree and received a raucous cheer from the 24,000 in attendance. Slotback Andy Fantuz just announced the breakfast cereal Fantuz Flakes will go on sale later this summer. The Royal Canadian Mint will unveil a Rider loonie later this summer, making the Riders the first CFL team to be bestowed the honour.
Somewhere along the way, we forgot about football. So the heat will be on the Green and White this week as they prepare for the Tigercats in a game that is already sold out.
I've always said if you have to lose in football, it's better to be blown out and embarrassed rather than lose a close one and feel you did okay.
It's just too bad the lopsided loss had to happen in Calgary where the Stampeders and their fans had too much fun rubbing it in.
But they earned the right to do it.