School is back, and gone is my sanity, as I’m forced into teaching ninth grade math for the first time in my career… an incredibly ironic situation, since I barely passed it as a student and haven’t touched any of the material in over a decade. Still, a man’s gotta eat. Nobody’s cried yet (students or teacher), so I guess that’s a good sign so far. To go along with the usual loss of sanity is, of course, the return tonight of our beloved NFL. As excited as I am to see a return to action, I’m grateful I still have CFL football to watch to tide me over between Thursday and Sunday. It’s a truly wonderful time of year for sloth, folks.
Onto the games!
WEEK 11 RECAPS
Ottawa 32 vs. Montreal 4: Not only is Trevor Harris continuing to pile up the numbers, but the REDBLACKS defence continues to improve week over week. This game marked both Ottawa’s third straight win, but also the third straight game in which the D chased the opposing starting quarterback from the field. Montreal mustered only a field goal and a punt single; Kevin Glenn only completed 12 of 21 passes for just 140 yards and a pick, prompting the Alouettes to bring in Toronto and Winnipeg castoff Drew Willy for an extended look to finish things out. REDBLACKS receiver Greg Ellingson went over 1000 yards for the third straight year, and if he can average 138 yards a game for the remaining seven matchups, he’ll have a chance to break into the 2000-yards club – rare territory indeed. Besides an end-zone interception, Trevor Harris continues strong QB play this season for Ottawa; he threw for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns on 32-41 passing.
Winnipeg 24 vs. Saskatchewan 38: The ‘Riders are rolling. The first half of this one was an offensive explosion, with Saskatchewan up 34-16 thanks to another fantastic game from Kevin Glenn; he was connecting in a major way with his receivers, as Bakari Grant, Naaman Roosevelt and Duron Carter all racked up over 100 yards on the night. Glenn would finish with 3 touchdowns and 386 yards passing on 26-26 passing, thoroughly besting his Winnipeg counterpart Matt Nichols, who went 35-47 for 364 yards and 2 TDs, but also had two picks along the way as well, both to Saskatchewan DB Ed Gainey. Saskatchewan’s young defence did a good job of limiting Andrew Harris, who had 29 yards on 9 rushes and 72 yards on 10 catches – both of those down from his typical usage in a game. These two teams have a rematch coming up this week in Winnipeg to settle things further.
Edmonton 18 vs. Calgary 39: The Battle of Alberta was clearly won by Calgary this week; after a 26-6 lead at the half, the Stamps’ D kicked in and locked things down in the third and fourth quarters, staving off a small rally by the Eskimos. Despite a quiet night from Bo Levi Mitchell, with no touchdowns thrown as well as a pick, the run game kicked in to help out, with Jerome Messam scoring two touchdowns on 13 carries for 61 yards, and backup Anthony Parker racking up an additional 24-yard rushing TD as well. Return man Roy Finch had a 90-yard kickoff return TD, to mirror last year’s Labour Day game between these two teams. Mike Reilly was forced to press his throws in the fourth quarter as the Eskimos pushed to make a comeback, but in the end, with two interception thrown, it wasn’t nearly enough, and Calgary walked away with their sixth straight win.
Toronto 22 vs. Hamilton 24: Well, it was likely bound to happen at some point, but I didn’t figure it’d be this way. After a weird, weird Monday night, where a thunderstorm delay forced both teams off the field for more than two hours partway into the second quarter, Hamilton walked away with their first win of the season. June Jones, longtime NFL and NCAA coaching vet, also recorded his first CFL victory as a head coach in this one; it’s Hamilton’s first win as a team since October 2016 – that’s a long-ass time to go between victories. Toronto had the lead for much of this game, including a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter; after a couple of video reviews that helped extend a Hamilton, including a pass interference call that brought the Ti-Cats all the way to the Toronto goal line, CJ Gable took the handoff and pounded it in to put Hamilton up. It came down to a Lirim Hajrullahu field goal attempt to try and get the Argos to tie it; but unfortunately, he missed just left, and the single conceded thanks to pinning the return man in the end zone wasn’t enough to get them a win. It was a strange, strange game all around, but I think Hamilton fans will take it all the same.
BYE: BC (5-5)
WEEK 12 PREVIEWS
Montreal (3-7) vs. BC (5-5), Friday, September 8th, 10:00 PM EST: Montreal is in a tailspin, while BC is coming off the bye rested, but definitely full of questions, especially concerning their situation at quarterback. Wally Buono has gone back to veteran Travis Lulay after 3rd-year pivot Jonathon Jennings struggled mightily again in his last matchup against Ottawa. Lulay was also responsible for leading BC to victory over the Alouettes back on July 6th, and thus the coaching staff figured he deserved the chance to start again. All the same, both QBs have made numerous mistakes thus far this season, and inconsistent play is the primary cause for BC’s .500 record this far into the year. For Montreal, a lot of the same questions remain; if Darian Durant has another poor outing, what’s going to happen with Montreal’s quarterback situation? Backup Drew Willy, who was cut from the Argos after being traded for a king’s ransom last season, looked unremarkable in cleanup duty, and if this is what the Alouettes have to contend with on a weekly basis, then they’re no better off than the situation they were in before with their quarterbacks. For a guy who was supposed to be The Answer for Montreal, who haven’t found a consistent starter since Hall Of Famer Anthony Calvillo retired four years ago, he’s done nothing but raise more and more questions as the year’s gone on.
Saskatchewan (5-4) vs. Winnipeg (7-3), Saturday, 3:00 PM EST: The prairie teams rematch last week’s Labour Day Classic with their annual Banjo Bowl matchup in Winnipeg; for the Blue Bombers, they need to figure out a way to get the Saskatchewan D guessing further; while their usage of backup RB Timothy Flanders was a good move as the front seven keyed in on starter Andrew Harris, they need to be able to take the next step and engage others on a more regular basis. The Roughriders continue to improve week over week, and the patience that Riderville showed with the rebuild under coach/GM Chris Jones is finally starting to pay off. With Edmonton fading and Winnipeg showing they can be beaten, the playoff race in the West is going to be extremely interesting moving forward.
Hamilton (1-8) vs. Ottawa (4-6-1), Saturday, September 9th, 6:00 PM EST: The last time these two teams met, Ottawa won handily on the road; at home, they’ve also stuck it to the Tiger-Cats numerous times, the most dramatically of which happened in the 2015 playoffs when Greg Ellingson caught a pass from Henry Burris on 2nd-and-25 and burned S Emmanuel Davis for a 93-yard TD to send the REDBLACKS to their first Grey Cup game since 1981. While the stakes are much lower this time around, these two teams still have a history of not liking each other much; however, with the year that the Tiger-Cats have had to date, the betting is definitely in Ottawa’s favour on this one.
Calgary (8-1-1) vs. Edmonton (7-3), Saturday, September 9th, 9:00 PM EST: Yes, Edmonton’s coming off three consecutive losses, including a decisive one last week to the Stamps, but they just received a big boost to their lineup thanks to the return of Derel Walker, one of the CFL’s top receivers last season. After being cut from Tampa’s NFL camp, Walker was quick to return to the organization where he racked up over 1600 yards receiving last year, adding to an already potent offensive lineup with receivers Adarius Bowman, Brandon Zylstra, Dhaquille Williams, Kenny Stafford, and more. I’d love to see an Edmonton game plan where Mike Reilly just pulls a Sex Cannon and bombs it deep all game long – with the potential for receiver packages he has now with the addition of Walker, it might be the only way that Edmonton can beat Calgary this time around. All the same, whenever these two teams play, it’s hard not to be entertained.
BYE: Toronto (4-7)
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|
- Haris, OTT – 3531
- Ray, TOR – 3343
- Reilly, EDM – 3165
- Harris, OTT – 22
- Glenn, SSK – 19
- Nichols, WPG – 19
- Messam, CGY – 682
- Harris, WPG – 599
- Johnson, BC – 518
- Ellingson, OTT – 1033
- Green, TOR – 1002
- Sinopoli, OTT – 810
- Butler, TOR – 7
- Lemon, TOR – 7
- Hughes, CGY – 6
- Gainey, SSK – 6
- Heath, WPG – 4
- Randle, WPG – 3
- Medlock, WPG – 35
- Hajrullahu, TOR – 30
- Paredes, CGY – 28
Congrats to Low Commander of the Super Soldiers, who was the only one of us to go 4-0 this week… gutsy call on a Hamilton win there, man.
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=138425
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||30||3-1||66.67%|
|Joliet Jake Delhomme||21||0-4||46.67%|