Not a lot of time for me to watch this week’s upcoming games – I’m leaving on vacation on Saturday to spend 10 days out in beautiful Nova Scotia, where I’ll get to spend time relaxing at the family homestead right on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s my favourite place in the world – you can just feel the salt air calm everything around you. At any rate, I digress somewhat from my point about this – not gonna have as much time to watch the games as I normally do, so next week’s update may be a little bit shorter.
Onto the games!
WEEK 5 RECAPS
Montreal 19 vs. Ottawa 24: The REDBLACKS finally picked up their first win of the year, in combination to a few big plays including a 66-yard TD from Trevor Harris to Greg Ellingson, five turnovers created by the Ottawa defence, and a huge stop on third and inches with less than three minutes to go. Darian Durant had a rough start to the game, with two interceptions in the first half, but recovered well to get Montreal back in it; he ended his night with 452 pass yards on 35-45 attempts and two touchdowns. Alouettes receiver Nik Lewis also hit a career milestone, becoming just the fourth player in CFL history to record 1000 receptions in a career, besides Geroy Simon, Terry Vaughn and former Alouettes legend Ben Cahoon. BJ Cunningham and Ernest Jackson led the way for the Alouettes’ receiving corps, with 101 yards each, with Tiquan Underwood managing 95 as well; for the REDBLACKS, Greg Ellingson had another excellent game, with 149 yards on 6 catches and a TD; RB William Powell also recorded 92 all-purpose yards to balance out the attack.
Edmonton 31 vs. Hamilton 28: It was the Ti-Cats in the lead for practically the entire game… and then they blew it. After a few questionable calls on the Eskimos’ final drive, (including a pass interference call that resulted in a first down in the red zone) Mike Reilly found Vidal Hazelton in the end zone to put the Eskimos ahead with less than a minute remaining in the game. With Adarius Bowman confined to the 6-game injured list, the Edmonton offence needed to reconfigure itself to make up for the loss of its top receiver; #2 wideout Brandon Zylstra had a great game filling in with 113 yards on 8 catches, while Bryant Mitchell, sliding into Bowman’s place in the slot, had 5 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. All in all, though, without the excellent play of Mike Reilly, this would have been a far different outcome; the QB ended his night with 27/37 passing for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. This game is doubly disappointing for Ti-Cats fans, as well, because for the first time this year, their D was showing some signs of putting up a fight; DE Ted Laurent recorded three sacks on Mike Reilly, and the front seven did a great job of pressuring Reilly in the pocket for most of the game. However, until Emmanuel Davis and Abdul Kanneh return from injury, the Hamilton secondary will continue to get torched like they have been so far this year.
Winnipeg 42 vs. BC 45: Talk about a gunslinger show – this was an incredibly entertaining game to watch. The first half was tilted in the Lions’ favour, while the Blue Bombers came out blazing to start the second. Winnipeg had a 42-27 lead headed into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hang on as backup QB Travis Lulay, starting his second consecutive game as Jonathon Jennings recovers from a shoulder injury, led the drive down field three times to swing the game all the way back in favour for BC. Lulay did throw two interceptions on the night, but also had his second consecutive 400-plus-yard game throwing, and added two touchdowns and a rushing major of his own as well. The Bombers had lots of firepower as well; Matt Nichols had three touchdowns and an interception on the night as well as his own 20-yard rushing TD. Receiver Darvin Adams had 5 catches for 87 yards and two TDs, including an impressive one-handed grab which you can check out here. This game even featured an awesome fake punt which got ruled as a successful onside kick and recovery, and an excellent defensive touchdown by the Bombers where DL Jake Thomas tipped a Travis Lulay pass to himself, then successfully lateralled it to LB Kyle Knox, who went to the house.
Saskatchewan 10 vs. Calgary 27: This score was rather flattering to the Roughriders… because in all seriousness, this was Calgary’s game from start to finish. The Stampeders sacked Riders QB Kevin Glenn five times in the first half alone, including three by Charleston Hughes; Jerome Messam added 135 rushing yards and the final major score for Calgary in the fourth quarter. The Stamps had a 17-0 lead at the half, and while Saskatchewan battled back somewhat in the third with a touchdown from RB Cameron Marshall and a field goal from Tyler Crapigna, it was still nowhere near enough, as Rene Paredes would hit from 47 yards out to add a field goal before Messam’s fourth-quarter TD that clinched it for the Stamps. The most noteworthy part of the game for Saskatchewan, otherwise, was seeing Glenn become just the seventh man in CFL history to crack 50,000 passing yards in a career; not a bad career for a man who’s seen 17 CFL seasons and started for six of nine CFL teams. At age 38, he’s not done just yet, either.
Ottawa 24 vs. Toronto 27: As tired as the REDBLACKS likely were with playing their second game of the week, happening just five days after their first tilt against Montreal, this was another extremely entertaining tilt. Ricky Ray threw 55 times in this game, completing 40 passes for 367 yards and 2 touchdowns, and looking better than he’s looked in years – Marc Trestman is clearly a QB whisperer. And possible candy delivery man. Not sure. At any rate, Toronto’s defence also stepped up and did a very good job of pressuring Ottawa’s Trevor Harris, with Victor Butler, Cleyon Laing, and Shawn Lemon all recording sacks for the Argos. The action was back and forth all game long; with the score tied at 17 in the third, LB Marcus Ball picked off Trevor Harris, and the Argos made the REDBLACKS pay with a touchdown on the subsequent possession. While Ottawa fought back valiantly to tie it again with another Harris-to-Ellingson TD throw, Lirim Hajrullahu kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to seal the deal for Toronto. With the win and with Montreal’s loss, Toronto now takes over sole possession of first place in the East Division, while Ottawa drops to 1-4-1 on the year – a heartbreaking record for the REDBLACKS, as all four of their losses are by a combined ten points. Ottawa can’t afford to make any more mistakes this year, as the margins are already ridiculously slim between first and last in the East.
WEEK 6 PREVIEWS
Montreal (2-3) vs. Winnipeg (2-2), Thursday, July 27th, 8:30 PM EST: Both teams are coming off losses, but for whatever reason, I still feel like Winnipeg is kicking themselves for the missed opportunity for victory last week, considering they had a 15-point lead on the home side Lions headed into the fourth quarter. Montreal’s offense still runs Jekyll-and-Hyde; while the passing yards are now coming for Darian Durant, the Als are having a tough time in the red zone still. Not to mention the fact that their defence will likely have some issues dealing with an offense that does such a good job of utilizing running back motion out of the backfield to create additional slot options for screen passes and such. For Winnipeg, their defence is still dealing with the absence of LB Mo Leggett and DB Kevin Fogg, who were both key cogs in such an excellent rebound year last season – while they’re both showing signs of improvement, there’s still no word yet on whether or not they’ll be ready to go this week.
BC (4-1) vs. Edmonton (4-0), Friday, July 28th, 9:30 PM EST: This is gonna be a good one for sure. Winner gets the lofty title of best team in the CFL; BC also wants revenge for their Week 1 loss suffered at the hands of the Eskimos last month. With Jonathon Jennings still recovering from a shoulder injury from a couple weeks ago, Travis Lulay gets another start for BC, hoping to go for a trio of 400-yards-plus games. BC is also hoping that their big free agent signing in Chris Williams, finally healed from a torn ACL from last October, will be ready to go; however, with so many talented players already in the lineup (Manny Arcenaux, Bryan Burnham, Nick Moore, and Shaq Johnson), who’s going to sit if coach Wally Buono wants to get Williams some time this week? It’s a good and bad problem to have all at the same time. The Eskimos won’t have LB JC Sherritt for this one, of course, as he’s done for the year, but there’s some added significance to this game, since Sherritt was initially injured against BC in the first place. With Edmonton also missing top receiver Adarius Bowman, top rusher John White, and top linebacker Cory Greenwood, on paper, they’ve lost a big chunk of their team – but so far, unbeaten heading into Week 6, they just keep on finding ways to win.
Toronto (3-2) vs. Saskatchewan (1-3), Saturday, July 29th, 6:30 PM EST: Toronto’s riding high, having secured first in the East all to themselves, while Saskatchewan returns home licking their wounds after getting thoroughly outclassed by the Stamps last week. It’ll be interesting to see what the Argos’ pass rush will look like this week, as two of their top sack artists in Victor Butler and Cleyon Laing both left last week’s game with knee injuries. While they’re not expected to be season-ending injuries, there’s still not been official word from the team yet about just how long both will be out. LB Bear Woods was also placed in the concussion protocol last week, but is hopeful to be good to go by this weekend. The loss of Butler and Laing will hopefully make things a little easier for Kevin Glenn, who’s had one of his best seasons in quite some time, enjoying some resurgent success with a renewed Roughriders receiving corps sporting Naaman Roosevelt, Bakari Grant, Duron Carter, Rob Bagg, and Nic Demski. Offseason signing Chad Owens, who came aboard after spending 2016 in Hamilton, is still a ways from making his debut in green, but RB Kienan LaFrance, who became a playoff hero for Ottawa last year, should be ready very soon – he was recovering from a hamstring injury suffered during training camp.
Hamilton (0-4) vs. Calgary (3-1-1), Saturday, July 29th, 9:30 PM EST: They had it in the bag… until they didn’t. Hamilton absolutely shit the bed letting Edmonton leave Tim Hortons Field with the win last week (although, to be fair, officiating did fuck them pretty good in the fourth quarter), and with a road game against the Stamps on the schedule, they’ll likely have to wait longer still to notch their first W of 2017. Of all the negative things about their year though thus far, they did a good job of getting to Edmonton QB Mike Reilly last week, so Calgary starter Bo Levi Mitchell will need to be wary. Fortunately for the Stamps, the Ti-Cats don’t have much available to them to stop Jerome Messam out of the backfield, so if Mitchell is taking some knocks early on, they may go old-school for a little while and just ground and pound the crap out of the Tabbies.
BYE: Ottawa (1-4-1)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|
- Harris, OTT – 1939
- Ray, TOR – 1896
- Mitchell, CGY – 1635
- Harris, OTT – 12
- Mitchell, CGY – 9
- Nichols, WPG – 8
- Messam, CGY – 323
- Johnson, BC – 313
- Sutton, MTL – 295
- Ellingson, OTT – 643
- Green, TOR – 518
- Jorden, CGY – 468
- Butler, TOR – 7
- Hughes, CGY – 4
- Johnson, CGY – 4
- Heath, WPG – 4
- Yell, BC – 2
- Leonard, HAM – 2
- Hajrullahu, TOR – 19
- Paredes, CGY – 14
- Long, BC – 13
I went 5-0 this week. I thought that made me special, until I saw that SonOfSpam, Balls and Game Time Decision also managed this feat. Such is life.
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=138425
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||13||5-0||61.9%|
|Joliet Jake Delhomme||12||3-2||57.14%|