The Decision: Riders Edition

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I can't go to bed without saying something about The Decision.

First off, before I get to that, what a game!!! Unbelievable comeback with a 77-yard receiving touchdown by Dressler, a 60-yard receiving touchdown by Fantuz and a 30-yard touchdown run by Hugh Charles. The Riders needed a spark on offence and ended up pulling the pin on a grenade.

43-37 overtime win by the Roughriders as they now are winners of the two best games in the CFL this season and no coincidence they were both held at Mosaic Stadium.

Now let's try to get between the ears of Coach Ken Miller on the last play of the fourth quarter.

But let's start with the play before that. Riders have the ball on the 25-yard line of Stampeders with the game tied and 20 seconds remaining as the clock comes down, the Riders elect to have Darian Durant take the snap run to the middle of the field and take a three yard loss.

The only time I have ever seen a quarterback make a play like that was to set up their kicker for a game-winning field goal with no angle, just straight ahead. Luca Congi trots on to the field for the 35-yard game winning field goal.

Time out Riders.

Congi is still on the field ready to pound a 35-yard field goal and just before the snap of the ball.... time out Stampeders.

And then, out of nowhere, the punt team starts sprinting onto the field with Eddie Johnson requested to kick a ball 50 yards threw the endzone for the game winning single. He hits it 40 yards and we're headed to overtime.

Here is the entire dialogue of Coach Ken Miller with the media after the game about the decision.

Q: Coach, can you go into the decision making on deciding to go for the punt as opposed to the field goal?

A: I thought that might be question number three... chuckles... There are times you kick a field goal and it goes off the pipe for no points and we've worked on a situation where we punt or kick for a single and we felt like certainly Eddie (Johnson) had the leg to boot that out of the end of the endzone and he probably would 99 times out of 100 but he just didn't hit the ball well and it caused to not get the points to win the game in regulation.

Q: Did your heart skip a beat when it happened?

A: I was about ready to figure out a way to get out of town before daylight.

Q: Would you do again?

A: Yes.

Q: Why?

A: Why?... again because 99 times out of 100 he's going to kick the ball through the endzone for the point with no time on the clock and you don't run the risk of the field goal going off the pipe and that sort of thing. And there is only one person who handles the punt as opposed to snap and hold and kick and that procedure so I'd do it again.

Q: Did you say anything to Luca Congi about the decision, why you didn't put him on the field, confidence wise making sure he knew it wasn't like you were expecting him to miss?

A: No, Luca's fine. I have talked with him and he understands the situation, he understands ... I guess the thought process that went into that decision, the strategy I guess you'd call it that went into that.

Miller said 99 times out 100 Johnson kicks it 48 yards+ for the single and the win. When the Riders had the wind in the second quarter Johnson had punts of 53, 56 and 45 yards. In the fourth quarter, with the wind, his only punt was 40-yards, which was the fateful play.

Luca Congi just made a 44-yard field goal to tie the game 2 minutes before the play. Faith should be in the kicker.

In the end the Riders win.. yes, but many of my colleagues, many of the Rider fans I know don't believe that was the right call. I don't think it was the right call and both times I've seen coaches choose to punt for the single, it didn't work. The team came out in overtime and saved the coach from having to find that path out of Saskatchewan without being seen.

Now, there is comments section to this blog, so have at 'er

Follow Jamie Nye on twitter at


Good discussion, I am with

Good discussion, I am with you especially on the faith in the kicker part. The % was simply not high enough to go with Johnson when Congi could have got that single - either as a missed FG or a deliberate kick through himself, closer to the line. Hitting the post? Really? Gotta be the least possible chance of that happening from the centre at 35 yards, including it being run back or being blocked (punt more likely than FG too). Or, say, missing the 50+ yards needed when cold.

I sincerely hope Congi is as ok as Miller says. Since his reasoning here is kinda sad.

punt or field goal

I think that's why he's the coach Jaime - made a decision based upon stats. Could have been the hero or the ass - but this time the hero. I don't think Miller would have made that decision in a playoff game. The one thing that he didn't factor into the game was the temperature. The ball won't and can't go as far when it's cold. That made the decision even more harrowing. Personally should have kicked the field goal.

funny how a game can be

funny how a game can be different when your quarterback has time and the other team's doesn't. i think that was the difference. as far as 'the decision', well thankfully we won. if we hadn't this would have been talked about for years. what i can't believe is coach miller saying he would do it again. he can't be serious. he should just suck it up, apologize, say he was on medication, and move on. apparently that works.

There is a difference.

You see Jamie, There is a difference between all of us and Ken Miller. He is the Head Coach, And we are not. There is a reason he is the head coach, and a reason you are a guy writing a blog. You would be writing how stupid it was to try for the field goal if Congi missed. "Oh why didn't we just tie the game." Lets all stick to what we are best at, and leave the coaching to the Pro.

I would have called for the

I would have called for the field goal team for the last play. However having said that, how many times has a missed field goal been returned for a touchdown against the Riders this year?

I completely agree

I completely agree with you. If Luca is OK with that decision then good for him; he's the team player we want. Not sure I would be so forgiving in the same circumstance. That was a really poor gamble and I hope we don't see plays like that again this season. Let the players do what they do best!

The Call

Although I understand Ken Miller's reasoning in going for the rouge, I think it was (for lack of a better word)chickensh#t. Did we not learn in the grey cup last year that, when we sqaundered that huge 4th quarter lead, that "safety was death". That was a routine kick for Congi last night and not to have confidence that he can make it I cannot imagine that it is good for his or the team's psyche.

After all is said and done though, what a game. Firewagon football is back is Sask!!

might have been bad choice

might have been bad choice but at least he has the balls to face up to the media and fans, if this was the barret, shivers years they would have banned the media for 2 weeks good on you ken miller and you are never to old to keep learning from mistakes

It's not the first bad

It's not the first bad decision made by the coaching staff, but it is the most glaring! There have been bad decisions made by the coaches all year, especially on the offensive play calling. Maybe it's time to evaluate the coaches performances and see who should still be around at the end of the year.

The Decision

I do not think that Coach Miller had no confidence in Congi. I feel that he thought that a lot of bad things could have happened on field goal attempt. A bad snap, a blocked kick which might have been returned the other way for 2 points.
Although I do not agree with punting from that distance, the game was won, lets be happy for that and look forward to the next game.If a field goal would have been tried and been unsuccessful would we be hearing "why didn't we punt the ball"
Just remember that in the whacky world of sports and especially the CFL anything can and does happen.

Please don't go soft on

Please don't go soft on Miller. The players were angry and Miller said he would do it again. A 35 yard fg with the wind! What was Miller thinking. Daly drives me up the wall, always in Miller's ear. Congi is having a good season, no reason to put Johnson in.


It was the wrong call. I don't get why you would ask your punter to punt FURTHER by running the ball into the middle of the field and telling him to avoid the uprights. If you were going to punt, then pound it up the middle of the second last play to get closer. However, they didn't they set it up for a field goal so STICK WITH THAT DECISION. I think Miller is a great coach but it worries me that he would make the same decision again.

Jim Daley

Daley got into Millers head just like you said today talking with Glen Suitor. Daley was a poor head coach because he was afraid to take chances.
They might as well of 'pantsed' Luca before they asked him to come off the field.
It's a no brainer; kick the field goal, walk off winners after a tremendous comeback. If they had lost the game, that could have spelled the end for the season.

Although I am not a Daley

Although I am not a Daley fan it is hard to blame him for this. Miller is the head coach and the call was his and only his to make.

give him a break

i think he made a good choice!! although i dont think i have the grapefruits do it ! either choice was good ! miller would never put this team in harms way on perpose so give him a break

Time to get Mr. Daly a new

Time to get Mr. Daly a new job. There is just too much confusion on special teams and he is the root cause - watch him skittering up and down the sidelines during the games yelling and waving his arms it's not helpful - way too much coffee. Or something.
Bye-bye Jim.

Coach Miller's Decision

He is the head coach and that was his call. I think 99 out of a 100 people feel strongly that it was the wrong call. I think Coach Miller could make this debate a completely mute point, but simply stating that if he had to do it again he would probably attempt the field goal. That would be the end of it!

The Truth Revealed

The Truth Revealed
Insider information has revealed that Ken Miller's call was a result of a malfunctioning hearing aid.

Miller: "Alright guys, Field Goal to Win!"...
Congi: "I'm your man coach, this will be easy"
Miller: "What's that Luca? your feeling queasy?"
Congi: "I'm fine coach!, from here it will be a piece of cake"
Miller: "You had some wine? and you're starting to shake?"
Congi: "No not at all coach, I'm feeling rock steady!"
Miller: "You want me to give the ball to Eddie?"
Congi: "Why would we do that? we're still in the hunt!"
Miller: "You're right, with you sick, we had better punt"
Congi: WTF?

Well It was an interesting

Well It was an interesting call. I would have let congi kick it, but there is probably more to it cause if congi missed, the fans would be more upset with him. Now with the punt miss, miller has taken all of the heat and it was Johnson that kicked the ball. Maybe he felt congi had too much pressure on him and thought this is a way to re-route the pressure. Just a thought. Players play better with fans on there side and the last few weeks the fans here have been losing some confidence in the players.


That is great logic. For now on lets have Cates pass the ball so that Durant's confidence does not get shaken. Makowsky should run the ball to save Cates and Charles any humiliation and Fantuz should play the secondary to preserve Morgans feelings. How did we not all think of this before.

Just a thought

It was only a thought. On that ONE play. All I can think of is mccallum. It's a little different but we don't know what goes through their minds when they make some play calls. that's all i'm saying. I think they should've let Congi kick it but It's easy for me and you to say. Hey If I was coaching there probably wouldn't have even been a kick for a win. ha.

I believe that Ken Miller

I believe that Ken Miller was not playing to win, but he was playing not to loose, which is not in my opinion the right call. I have the great faith and respect for Ken Miller, but sometimes he is wrong, and would have liked for him to admit it. He did not have faith in his kicker and his players to stop Calgary if we happened to miss the field goal, which does not boad well with me. We did win the game, so it is a mute point, but as I stated earlier, Ken Miller needs to play to win,instead of playing not to loose.

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