Just when you thought they couldn't get better...
The Saskatchewan Roughriders came out with their most-impressive showing of the season on Sunday, trashing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-0 before a season high crowd of 37,323 fans at Mosaic Stadium.
In the victory the 4-0 Riders showed dominance, finish, and above all, class and sportsmanship.
In a game overshadowed by the return of the Ticats' Kent Austin and Henry Burris to Regina, it was the Riders' Darian Durant, Kory Sheets and Rob Bagg who stole the show.
Durant threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns (two to Bagg) and Kory Sheets had 125 yards rushing to add to his record-breaking start to the season.
So what was so classy about it? Well the Riders had the chance to put even MORE points on the board in the final minute but head coach Corey Chamblin elected to kneel down back-up quarterback Drew Willy and grind out the clock. Call it football's version of euthanasia.
"When we knelt down late, the game was already won," Chamblin revealed. "We didn't need to add any more points because it's not a season series deal in our own division. We didn't need to put anymore up."
As for the Ticats, Henry Burris was honest after the game, saying the result showed they have plenty to work on in the weeks ahead. Austin was equally deflated saying it was not one of his, or his team's, better days.
"I have a lot of great memories here," Austin said. "This wasn't one of them."
Chamblin must of bitten his lip all week long as the accolades poured in for Austin for his first return to Saskatchewan since leaving after the 2007 championship season. Austin's banner is on the stadium, a parking lot's named after him and TSN ran a special feature on "The Return" over and over all weekend.
However in the end, it was Chamblin who had the last laugh.
"I don't take any pleasure from that," Chamblin said humbly.
"I think this (hype) was unfair to him. I really liked how he handled himself with the media."
That may be the case, but it's Chamblin who's having a Coach of the Year type season. Sheets is off to the best season-ever for a CFL running back while the 2013 Riders are the first team in CFL history not to commit an offensive turnover over a four game period.
Fortunately, unlike last year when their 3-0 start turned into an ugly five-game losing streak, the Riders are just gaining steam. And Chamblin has shown an impressive ability to keep his team's feet on the ground.
"Expectations are one thing," Chamblin said. "Our biggest thing is to work every week to be 1-0. Our guys prepared well and didn't fall into the thought that they were supposed to win.
"The way this team works, we're a humble team. We want to enjoy the fruits of our labour though, and enjoy the wins."
They have earned that right. And the Drive for Five goes Saturday when the Riders visit Ticats at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, ON (5:30 pm kickoff Sask time on TSN and the CKRM Rider Radio Network).