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- The English: Are They Human? Case Study 2: George II and Dying On the John – September 3, 2020
Hi again, folks. The CFL Beat is back this week with a look at the CFL’s 2005 championship game featuring some of the best quarterback play of all time – the 93rd Grey Cup. Read on!
Date: November 27th, 2005
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, BC
Edmonton Eskimos fast facts:
- Season record: 11-7 (3rd in West)
- Head Coach: Danny Maciocia
- Quarterback: Ricky Ray
The 2005 season was the last year in a 34-year streak of the Eskimos making the playoffs, an incredibly impressive feat even in a league where two-thirds of its teams make the playoffs each season. The Eskimos defeated the Calgary Stampeders in the Western semifinal by a 33-26 score, as well as the BC Lions in the West final by a 28-23 margin. Ricky Ray, the team’s starting QB and future CFL Hall of Famer, had surprisingly been struggling over the last few games of the regular season as well as the Esks’ two playoff games; backup Jason Maas saw significant playing time in the run up to the Grey Cup. Despite his inconsistency at the tail end of the 2005 season, Ray still got the start in the Grey Cup.
Montreal Alouettes fast facts:
- Season record: 10-8 (2nd in East)
- Head Coach: Don Matthews
- Quarterback: Anthony Calvillo
Perennial winners of the East division during the late ’90s and early 2000s, it was surprising for the Als to finish in 2nd place in 2005. Nevertheless, they managed to come alive in the playoffs, defeating Saskatchewan (who appeared in the Eastern semifinal due to the crossover rule affecting playoff eligibility) at home by a 30-14 score, then going to Toronto and beating the Argonauts by a 33-17 decision. The Grey Cup rivalry between Montreal and Edmonton dates back decades, having faced off against each other ten times in 1954-56, 1974-5, 1977-79, and 2002-03. Montreal won in ’74, ’77, and ’02, while Edmonton won the other seven matchups.
0:37 – Man, do I ever miss the days when the CFL was on the CBC, free for the whole country to watch. Now TSN is the TV provider, which requires a premium cable package. The TSN deal has stabilized league revenues thanks to the TV money now coming in, but there’s something to be said about a national broadcaster being able to cover the league on a greater scale for sure. This intro is a classic.
1:55 – Don Matthews was a legend. 5 Grey Cup wins, 5 Coach of the Year awards, and 231 regular season victories – the 2nd most of any CFL coach ever, behind only fellow great Wally Buono. Don died of cancer in 2017 after fighting the disease for five years – despite passing at age 78, he clearly lived a full life, serving in the Marine Corps for three years before becoming a coach.
2:05 – This is the first Grey Cup ever to be broadcast in HD. Could’ve fooled me.
3:04 – Ricky Ray hasn’t thrown a touchdown in seven straight games, and has been yanked twice in favour of Jason Maas in this stretch. So unusual for him. Clearly, as the rest of his career will show, he’ll get over it.
4:30 – Ed Philion sacks Ricky Ray, taking him down well back of the line of scrimmage. The next pass is complete, but the Eskimos have to punt.
6:25 – Pre-reno BC Place looks strange to me. The city of Vancouver has changed so much in the last 15 years. Between the Olympics, foreign investment, and general gentrification, it hardly feels like the same city.
7:10 – Terry Vaughn makes the catch, but fumbles the ball, and the Eskimos pounce on it!
11:15 – Trevor Gaylor runs a corner route to try and snag the deep ball in the end zone, but can’t haul it in for Edmonton.
12:05 – Sean Fleming kicks a field goal, and the Esks go up 3-0.
20:00 – Ricky Ray sacked again – this Montreal D is rushing the passer very effectively early on.
20:40 – Montreal’s Ezra Landry almost finds a gap on a punt return, but LB Glen Young is able to get him, keeping the Als at midfield.
24:00 – Anthony Calvillo floats one throwing across his body, and almost gets picked off… but DB Keyuo Craver can’t keep the ball under control. Montreal will have to punt.
24:40 – Damon Duval skies a punt, and Tony Tompkins is forced to take a knee for a…
It’s now 3-1, Edmonton.
25:20 – I have no recollection of The Tournament. If it was anything like most other CBC non-news or -sports shows from this era, there’s a reason for this.
27:10 – 11:07 of possession time for Edmonton in the 1st quarter – wow. Montreal’s damn lucky to have such a good defence to keep them in it thus far.
27:45 – Derrell Mitchell drops the swing pass, then ends up bowling over his own teammate. Lol.
28:30 – Ricky Ray’s in trouble, but he scrambles out of the pocket and picks up 12 yards on the ground for the first down. Nifty little spin move there to shake the pass rush!
31:15 – Roughing the passer call on Alouettes DT John Nix, and the drive gets extended.
32:40 – Ed Hervey scores his first TD of the year, and it couldn’t come soon enough! 9 yards from Ricky Ray, and Edmonton goes up 10-1 after the kick. In 2020, Hervey is now working as the BC Lions’ GM.
35:05 – Anthony Calvillo sends one deep to Sylvain Girard, who’s wide open and hauls it in. Neither team is running the ball – and honestly, when these are your QBs, why would you?
37:20 – Damon Duval attempts a field goal, but misses wide left. Tony Tompkins runs it safely out of the end zone.
44:45 – Terry Vaughn picks up a big first down, swinging wide to the outside on a crossing pattern. Montreal is
47:20 – Eskimos DB Steven Marsh is finally getting to his feet, after getting tangled up tackling Terry Vaughn. It looks like he’s favouring his left ankle a little bit, but he’s probably going to be back.
48:30 – Shannon Garrett picks off Anthony Calvillo, who’s trying to force the ball over the middle!
49:10 – LOL I FORGOT THIS WAS THE YEAR THE BLACK EYED PEAS WERE THE HALFTIME ACT. IT WAS DOGSHIT. Seriously, don’t watch this unless you want an excuse to drink. So naturally, I expect 95% of our readership will still make this foolish choice.
53:10 – Thyron Anderson makes another big catch on an Anthony Calvillo deep ball!
53:43 – Another deep ball, this time over the middle, but Terry Vaughn can’t make the catch as he’s covered well by DB Singor Mobley.
55:30 – Troy Davis picks up 15 yards on the run, and Edmonton has a first down to help stop the clock as this first half winds down.
59:15 – Anthony Calvillo takes a knee to end the first half. After 30 minutes, it remains 10-1, Edmonton.
59:56 – In a sideline interview, Steve Armitage asks Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia if he’ll consider pulling Ricky Ray again if he later struggles in the second half; Maciocia’s fast response, both times – “Nope.” Maciocia runs off – the Black Eyed Peas await. Crazy how young he looks in this interview – still, all this success early on in his career has helped him a ton. He’s now the GM of the Alouettes in current times. I also learned, via the wonder of Wikipedia, that Maciocia is trilingual in English, French, and Italian, having grown up in Saint-Leonard, Montreal.
1:02:00 – In the 2005 regular season, Edmonton is 9-1 when leading at halftime – this will be tough for Montreal to come back and win this, despite being down just nine points.
1:03:25 – Eric Lapointe, the Canadian RB, has a nice cut up the middle to pick up the first down on the ground.
1:04:35 – As the pocket collapses, Anthony Calvillo takes off, rushing about a yard shy of the first down. For a guy who doesn’t run much, he’s pretty slippery on this play.
1:06:35 – Calvillo airs it out deep once again, and Ben Cahoon, Calvillo’s favourite receiver, brings it in! First and goal…
1:07:10 – Eric Lapointe bullies his way through the scrum, scoring the touchdown. Just like that, after the convert, it’s 10-8, Edmonton…
1:13:38 – Edmonton is driving well; Montreal rookie LB Jeremiah Garrison is down and injured on the previous play.
1:14:42 – I forgot that Chris Jones was the DC in Montreal! Jones is best known in the CFL for guiding the Eskimos to a 2015 Grey Cup victory as head coach, before bolting one week later to Saskatchewan where he served as both GM and head coach… and then unexpectedly resigning from that job after three seasons to join the Cleveland Browns – which caught Saskatchewan fans off-guard, as the move came one week after signing a contract extension to stay in Saskatchewan. [Cue Barenaked Ladies – “One Week”, maybe?]
1:16:56 – LOOK AT THIS FONT. THE EARLY 2000s ARE BACK, BABY.
1:18:55 – Ricky Ray floats one deep to the right, and Derrell Mitchell has to come back a bit on his route in order to make the catch.
1:21:14 – Sean Fleming kicks a field goal, and it’s now 13-8, Edmonton.
1:22:10 – Ezra Landry with a 39-yard kickoff return – dude has some wheels. He’s only 5’4″! Even smaller than Tiny Darren!
1:22:55 – Sylvain Girard with another MONSTER catch to take the Alouettes down to the 3-yard line!
1:23:52 – Dave Stala gets stood up after making the catch, and can’t get in for the score.
1:24:34 – Eskimos DB is injured once again, and getting tended to on the field. This time, it appears to be the left knee.
1:27:17 – I forgot what Ricky Ray looked like with hair. He’s been shaving his head for so long now that it startled me to see him looking like this.
1:27:20 – Eric Lapointe scores again, and that’s his 5th touchdown of the post-season – the man is on a tear! After the convert, it’s 15-13, Montreal – their first lead of the game.
1:29:40 – Tony Tompkins is bouncing around like crazy on the kick return, but he doesn’t get that far down field despite proving pretty elusive.
1:30:20 – Troy Davis fumbles the ball, and Montreal’s rookie DB Matthieu Proulx snatches it up, running it back for excellent field position off the surprising turnover!
1:32:40 – Damon Duval kicks a chip-shot field goal, and Montreal now leads 18-13.
1:34:03 – Tony Tompkins takes it all the way – 96 yards for a kickoff return touchdown! And just like that, the Eskimos are back in the lead. After the convert, it’s 20-18, Edmonton. At the time, this was a CFL record for longest kickoff return touchdown.
1:45:10 – Rick Campbell was the Eskimos’ DC in 2005 – he bounced around coordinator positions for a number of years before becoming the Ottawa REDBLACKS’ first head coach from 2014-2019; after deciding to part ways, he was hired as the BC Lions’ new head coach for 2020. Most notable about Campbell is that his father, Hugh, was the head coach behind the Eskimos’ legendary run of five straight Grey Cup victories in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
1:45:39 – Struggling to find an open man, Ricky Ray rolls right and has lots of time to throw the ball away, but gets sacked instead.
1:46:20 – It’s a fumble! Ricky Ray can’t make the pass, and the ball is knocked loose before his throwing hand moves forward. Als recover! Impressive to do that on just a three-man rush.
1:47:20 – Kerry Watkins is close to a first down, but Als OL Paul Lambert is down in a heap and needs some help getting off the field.
1:50:05 – Anthony Calvillo connects with Ben Cahoon again, and Montreal is poised to score as the line up from the 1.
1:50:50 – NAKED BOOTLEG!!! Anthony Calvillo calls his own number, rolling right and pulling the LB away from the middle of the scrum. Montreal scores the TD to make it 25-20 with the convert.
1:55:59 – Ricky Ray’s been hit ten times in this game and hurried nine more; he’s taken a beating so far. OL needs to step up.
1:59:55 – The BC Lions started the season 11-0 and finished 12-6. Dave Dickenson, a future CFL Hall of Famer, was competing with Casey Printers for the starting QB job, and when he went down, the streak ended. Despite going 1-6 with Printers, the Lions probably should have been in this Grey Cup game instead of Edmonton – in the West Final, a potential game-winning pass from Printers to receiver Geroy Simon, the final play of the game, was ruled incomplete, and the pass interference call that should’ve been called on the Edmonton defender never materialized.
2:02:07 – Ricky Ray’s pass is tipped and aaaaaalmost intercepted. Yowza.
2:04:15 – The Grey Cup makes its traditional stadium appearance, carried by uniformed Mounties.
2:07:33 – The Als have to punt from deep. As inconsistent as Edmonton’s offence has been the last few weeks, they have plenty time to strike.
2:09:00 – Ricky Ray has to get rid of the football – he’s on the run once again. He’s extremely fortunate to not take the sack here.
2:09:45 – Ricky Ray hits Derrell Mitchell deep! An absolutely perfect throw and catch. Textbook stuff. It’s a 35-yard completion.
2:10:37 – Ray decides to keep it and run. He’s about two yards short of a first down. But wait! There’s a flag – contact on the receiver – so the Esks will move up – half the distance to the goal line.
2:12:05 – Incomplete to the end zone, but there’s another flag! Defensive pass interference. The Alouettes appear to be imploding.
2:13:04 – QB sneak, and Ricky Ray gets stuffed. And yet another flag. The Als have gone offside. Don Matthews is a nervous wreck on the sidelines.
2:13:45 – Touchdown, Eskimos! Ray keeps it, and dives – and he’s in. Will Edmonton go for two?
2:15:00 – They’re going for two!
2:15:21 – Ray rolls right, throws to Jason Tucker who’s deep in the corner, and it’s good! It’s now 28-25, Edmonton.
2:17:10 – Jonas Lewis with a SICK high-step on the return. Montreal will set up at midfield for this critical drive.
2:17:45 – Ben Cahoon makes another catch over the middle, and it’s 2nd and 3.
2:18:15 – Ben Cahoon, again! He’s the Mormon JEWKAH of Canada, folks.
2:19:35 – Eric Lapointe picks up another first down for the Alouettes. They’re now into field goal territory…
2:20:00 – HOW DID EDMONTON NOT PICK THAT OFF??! The ball bounced off the hands of both Keyuo Craver and Donny Brady, and neither guy could keep a handle on it. That would’ve been game, right there!
2:22:10 – Eric Lapointe sets up the Als with one last offensive play, so they can kick a field goal right from the middle of the field.
2:22:45 – The kick is good! It’s tied at 28, and we’re off to overtime for the first time since 1961.
2:23:25 – CFL overtime rules: both teams will have an equal number of possessions, starting at their opponents’ 35-yard line. If the defence scores, the game is over; if the score remains tied after each set of possessions, the game will continue indefinitely. Here we go. Montreal will get first possession.
2:24:10 – A fun little throwback clip to 1983, when Don Matthews’ BC Lions lost the Grey Cup here at BC Place to the Toronto Argonauts.
2:24:38 – Anthony Calvillo hits Ben Cahoon – who else? – for a gain of 13 yards. A good start to OT.
2:25:15 – Calvillo is sacked by Charles Alston.
2:25:55 – WHAT. A. BOMB. Anthony Calvillo hits Dave Stala in the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown. That was a massive, massive throw. 30 yard TD in OT? Serious Sex Cannon energy. Montreal leads 35-28, after the convert.
2:27:45 – Ricky Ray hits Derrell Mitchell over the middle for 21 yards, and the Eskimos are responding in force to Montreal’s score.
2:28:20 – Not much of a gain from Troy Davis on the shovel pass.
2:29:10 – Jason Tucker – more Grey Cup heroics from Ricky Ray’s favourite receiver! (He was also the 2003 Grey Cup MVP). The Esks score a beautiful TD, and make the convert – and we’re tied at 35 again.
2:32:20 – Edmonton starts off double-overtime with the first possession. Ed Hervey catches the checkdown pass over the middle and picks up six yards.
2:33:11 – Trevor Gaylor can’t hang on to the catch, and the field goal unit will need to come on.
2:33:47 – The kick is good! The Eskimos lead, 38-35.
2:34:35 – Holy shit! What a series of events. So this is what has just happened: Anthony Calvillo’s pass get deflected and it pops up high, right back to him. He catches it, and decides to heave it downfield again, to a wide-open Kerry Watkins in the end zone – despite this clearly being illegal. At any rate, nice chutzpah. The second pass also falls incomplete. It’s a ten-yard penalty for the illegal pass, taking the Als out of field goal range.
2:35:55 – Charles Alston sacks Anthony Calvillo again! It’s a loss of 13. It’s now 2nd and 33 for Montreal. Ouch.
2:36:45 – Calvillo is pressured, and tries to hit Ben Cahoon over the middle, but it’s incomplete. 3rd and 33 incoming.
2:37:35 – Charles Alston appears to be injured on the field. He may well just be milking some recovery time for his fellow Edmonton defenders.
2:40:14 – In desperation, Anthony Calvillo rolls left down the sidelines, and has to kick the ball away in order to maintain Montreal possession – but Edmonton LB AJ Gass is on it. Ball game! Eskimos win an absolute classic, 38-35.
Ricky Ray won the Grey Cup MVP Award for his performance, rebounding from a shaky postseason with a fantastic game, going 35-45 for 359 yards, two touchdowns, and a rushing score. The Most Outstanding Canadian was Edmonton fullback Mike Maurer, who had 4 catches for 41 yards. Not a bad effort for a fullback – if Montreal had won, the award was almost certainly going to RB Eric Lapointe, who had a fantastic final game of his CFL career.
Edmonton improved to 8-3 all-time in Grey Cup matches against Montreal; while the Alouettes were the class of the league in the 2000s, it took a Grey Cup opponent other than Edmonton for their fortunes to turn later on. Don Matthews never did get the elusive sixth Grey Cup ring as a CFL head coach, but his status as one of the greatest football minds the league had ever seen was never in doubt.
Thanks for reading! Check back here next week, when we take a look at the rarest of all possible CFL scenarios – an American team winning the Grey Cup. Be well, folks.