What do Saskatchewan Roughriders and their fans need to see on Sunday? Rocky II.
Rocky Butler, who had been buried in the Roughriders quarterbacking depth chart until the injuries changed from everyone, was the 2002 Labor Day Classic-unforced hero. In the first CFL, he rushed three into the lead to lead a green and white 33-19 victory over Taylor Field's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Now that bets are exponentially higher, it is imperative that someone – Brandon Bridge – mimics Butler by registering a victory over bullpen.
TSN's Dave Naylor, whose suspicious reporting is as infrequent as Roughriders' passing game, announced on Saturday night that Bridge will start the Saskatchewan runner-up in Sunday's CFL West Division semi-finals against visiting Blue Bombers.
Naylor added that Collaros, although he has abandoned the League's conciliation protocol, is not unified.
The news sparked tensions and intimidation at Rider Nation, and understandably so.
A team that has to start a second string game is not a valid place – especially since the backup does not have the powers of Tom Burgess or Marcus Crandell.
The bridge threw only one touchdown, unlike three seconds, during the regular season. Saskatchewan won two of his four games when Collaros was ignored with concussion, but there was no controversy.
Last year at the entrance to Kevin Glenn, Bridge was a resignation. He routinely enlivened the crime.
For example, in Saskatchewan's last playoff game, Bridge twice replaced Glenn 2017 East Division finals against Toronton Argonauts.
Glenn was in good shape throwing his third listening from the first half. The bridge did not light up in the second half, but he threw a touchdown pass to Duron Carter and helped Roughriders win.
As it turned out, it was a defense – not a bridge – that bent the switch. Roughriders was one-third down a defensive stoppage from Toronto's defensive and facing the Gray Cup. However, Argonauts moved the third game and soon scored a point, 25-21.
What if Roughriders had halted Toronto one third down? Can you say "builder controversy"?
There would have been a stir in the 2017 Gray Cup and a strong way to do so. We never know what head coach Chris Jones had done – a suspicion that he would be stuck with Glenn, but even faster than usual – but it would have been an interesting week.
This is much more than speculation: The presence of the bridge last season gave Roughriders some kind of energy and some insurance. He dropped an average of one touch point every 13.8 per company – a striking average.
A year ago, the scenario that faces Roughriders today would not have been a source of extreme concern. But now that the regular season, when Bridge threw only one TD in 131 companies, the mindset has changed as clearly as the numbers.
However, it should be noted that Collaros has not had a particularly strong season – a fact that alleviates the effects of his absence.
There is no slope since 2014 when the Roughriders season was brewed as soon as Darian Durant suffered from severe forearm and came Tino Sunseri, Seth Doege and eventually 41-year-old Kerry Joseph.
Collaros cuts (13) in 2018 have exceeded the touch speeds (nine). However, Collaros has handed Roughriders an experienced hand and somebody with whom they can win. The bridge, when called, has not even even reminded her of 2017, for reasons that are still a mystery.
Offensive Coordinator Stephen McAdoo seems reluctant to allow the Bridge to do anything except to hand over or throw short, safe routes. Last year the raiders were more aggressive behind Bridge, but now it is true.
Fresh Brandon Bridge's findings do not wake up. He has the ability to be a gambler, as everyone saw a year ago, but can he repeat his 2017 form within the 2018 offense? Hmmm …
Here is one soothing idea: Roughriders have shown that they can win without having to commit a great deal of crime. This is a team that is heavily dependent on defense and special teams, units that combine 15 clubs in 40 matches. (Last year, Glenn and Bridge combined the league-high 35 TD tickets.)
Even with Collaros as a builder, it is possible that Roughriders could have won despite the crime. In this sense, nothing changes when the bridges are raised to the front line.
Perhaps – and perhaps this is the dimension – the way Bridge is introduced this season is the wisest strategy for Winnipeg.
Play it safe. Avoid turnover. Punt.
Put the game in the hands of a dominant and dangerous defense and hopefully, like Winnipeg on September 8, hope to be able to defeat the great plays of defense. The formula, which is unusual and unprecedented in many ways, has worked so far.
Collaros threw three dice, one against Winnipeg. The risk of recurrence can be greatly reduced due to the game's Bridge game due solely to the conservatism of the expected system.
Keep in mind the weather forecast – which can compete with some Collaros media sources for mere shamelessness – a preventive crime could only be the best strategy anyway? Harmful elements may weaken the airplane's game.
In the offense, the Roughriders have been more effective in hand ball, anyway.
Cameron Marshall is in excellent shape in the last two games, using a stubborn, threadable style that is great for playing the spray gun.
Marcus Thigpen, with a 75-meter touch screen last year's Eastern semi-finals against Ottawa Redblack, had TD sprints this month at 82 and 80 meters.
So why not run, run, run?
Take care of football. Soften the opposition with Marshall and hoping that an attractive Thigpen will find a hole and fall into afterburning.
Give defense, special teams and hard home crowd to take care of business.
If the game unfolds this way, the path to the victory could be rocky hard.
Make the last one: Saskatchewan 22, Winnipeg 14.