Far too often throughout the latter half of the 2013 season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders' early-game offensive struggles partially masked their greatest strengths.
Particularly after Alex Hall arrived in a mid-season trade, the 'Riders were built ideally to hold leads. The defence boasted enough elite pass-rushers to pressure quarterbacks while leaving plenty of extra coverage to drop into the secondary; the offence could churn up yardage on the ground as well as any, while also enjoying a high enough comfort level to try the occasional deep ball rather than playing too conservatively.
But if the 'Riders didn't get to deploy those weapons as often as they'd have liked earlier in the season, they showed exactly what they could do in its final two weeks - and particular in yesterday's Grey Cup victory over Hamilton.
The 'Riders' 24-point offensive outburst in the second quarter effectively forced the Tiger-Cats to abandon their running game and rely on repeated deep passes into tight coverage. Kory Sheets managed to pile up a few records and awards in the season's most important game - which should easily make up for any he lost to injury during the regular season. And just when it looked like the Ticats might make the ending too close for comfort, the combination of two deep passes to Weston Dressler and a Ticat turnover put the game well out of reach.
Of course, the CFL offseason will mean plenty of player movement - particularly with an expansion draft moving away from the best current teams in the league. But the Roughriders were able to play their best possible type of game when it mattered most - and an entire province is now getting to celebrate as a result.