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MacLeod: In the CFL playoffs, the quarterbacks lead the way

Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant


Anybody that didn't think the Canadian Football League is not dominated by the quarterbacks were not paying attention during semi-final Sunday.

In the West semi, Darian Durant turned back the clock, using both his legs and his arm to lead the Riders' to a stirring 29-25 comeback victory over the B.C. Lions at rocking Mosiac Stadium.

With the victory, the Roughriders kept alive their hopes of being the home team when the Grey Cup is played out in Regina on Nov. 24.

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Durant rushed for 76 of his game-high 97 yards in the final frame where his elusiveness helped wipe out a 24-16 Lions lead early in the third quarter.

"Darian played like the Darian of old,'' Riders head coach Corey Chamblin said on Sunday .

Durant, who had back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010 where he rushed for over 500 yards over the year, described his ability to run with the ball Saskatchewan's "secret weapon."

The win sets up the West final where the Roughriders will travel to Calgary to contest the Stampeders.

It was a difficult loss for the Lions to absorb after rushing the ball for 213 yards and not turning the ball over once

Out in the East final in Guelph, Ont., where the gale-force winds played a huge role in the outcome, it was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who were able to prevail, a19-16 overtime win over the Montreal Alouettes.

And the Ticats won by utilizing the skills of not one quarterback but two.

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First it was veteran Henry Burris, displaying his considerable poise, leading the Ticats on a smart 97-yard, 12-play drive against the wind that put Hamilton ahead 13-10 with just over a minute left to play in regulation.

The Als would come back to tie it up to force the overtime where Hamilton coach Kent Austin relied on No. 2 quarterback Dan LeFevour to carry the day.

"I trust Dan LeFevour," Austin proclaimed after LeFevour came on to play six of the game's final seven plays in Hamilton's deciding drive.

LeFevour would score the winning score on a two-yard TD plunge.

The CFL now gets the match-up it relished, Hamilton travelling down the QEW to Toronto to face the Argonauts, their arch rival, in the Eastern showdown.

No Luck for Luck

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It was a day that Andrew Luck would like to forget.

The young Indianapolis Colts quarterback was harried most of the afternoon by a swarming St. Louis Rams defence and the result was a 38-8 Rams National Football League win.

And although the Colts remain on top of the AFC South standing with a 6-3 mark, Indianapolis remains an imperfect team.

The Denver Broncos held on for a 28-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers, but at what cost?

Quarterback Peyton Manning was injured late in the game after taking a hit that sent him to the sidelines. The Broncos said that their QB will undergo an MRI on Monday.

The low blow, administered by Chargers right defensive end Corey Liuget, is being described as a "cheap shot" and will likely draw the attention of league officials.

In the 49-17 thumping by the New Orleans Saints over the Dallas Cowboys, the numbers were staggering.

Quarterback Drew Brees directed the Saints to 40 first downs, an NFL record and the 625 yards surrendered by the Cowboys represented the most by any NFL team since 1982.

For the Cowboys, they are getting "outcoached as well as outplayed" and changes could be in the offing as Dallas heads into a bye week.

Jaromir Jagr continues to turn back the clock

Jaromir Jagr is 41 years old but he is showing little signs of slowing down.

"It looks like he can play a few more years," said Travis Zajac, Jagr's linemate with New Jersey after the Devils blanked the Nashville Predators 5-0.

Jagr reached another milestone in the win, scoring a goal early in the first period that gave him 1,700 points in his career.

The Globe's Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web most weekday mornings

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