I am on vacation! Things are pretty splendid. I’m hoping next week I won’t have to be finishing this column on the morning of publication, but such is life when you’ve been busy drinking blueberry beer and having fireworks on the beach. Remains to be seen how much of each game this week I’ll get to actually watch live… but all the same, the Beat will continue on exactly as scheduled.
Onto the games!
WEEK 3 RECAPS
Ottawa 14 vs. Calgary 24: A defensive struggle was finally blown open in the fourth quarter, when a big defensive stop at the goal line for the Stampeders managed to give them some momentum. Calgary scored two touchdowns in the final frame, pulling well ahead of the REDBLACKS. With the win, the Stampeders stay unbeaten and remain at the top of the West Division – as per usual.
Winnipeg 17 vs. Hamilton 31: While Winnipeg had an early lead thanks to an interception of a Jeremiah Masoli pass by DB Marcus Sayles that kickstarted a touchdown drive, but the Ti-Cats remained the much stronger team through this one. The Hamilton defence forced six straight Bomber two-and-outs in the second half, while on offence, Masoli had his third consecutive game of passing for over 300 yards. The Ti-Cats really do seem to be back; it makes the East all the more an intriguing situation with their bouncing back from an unexpectedly poor showing in 2017.
BC 22 vs. Edmonton 41: Despite coming off their first bye week rested and ready to go, the Lions suffered their first loss of 2018, while the Eskimos improve to 2-1 on the year. Despite having a twelve-point lead in the second quarter, BC ended up going into halftime down 17-14 after Edmonton’s offence finally found a rhythm and started connecting on pass attempts. They didn’t stop there, either… in the third quarter, touchdowns from RB CJ Gable and WR Duke Williams blew the game wide open, and the Lions couldn’t end up keeping pace. With the win, the Eskimos are doing their best to keep pace with Calgary, and they currently hold second place in the division.
Montreal 23 vs. Saskatchewan 17: A shocker here! The Alouettes, who came into this matchup having lost 13 straight games and no road wins since Week 20 of 2016, ended up taking this one. Thanks to a strong defence, who racked up 4 interceptions on Saskatchewan QBs Brandon Bridge and David Watford, Montreal managed to keep the Riders at bay for the whole game. Saskatchewan didn’t have a lead for the entire game; they only came within two points of Montreal in the third quarter. This is definitely a disappointing loss for the Roughriders, who drop to 1-2 on the year.
BYE: Toronto (0-2)
WEEK 4 PREVIEWS
Hamilton (2-1) vs. Saskatchewan (1-2), Thursday, July 5th, 9:00 PM EST: The Roughriders suffered a surprise loss last week, and it’ll be curious to see how they bounce back. The Ti-Cats offence is being paced by strong showings not only by Jeremiah Masoli, but also from receivers Luke Tasker, Jalen Saunders, and Brandon Banks, while rookie RB Mercer Timmis has also made waves thus far. Meanwhile for the Riders, despite a mediocre first half last week from Brandon Bridge, the Canadian will once again start at quarterback as Zach Collaros remains on the injured list. Also notable is that receiver Duron Carter will once again start at cornerback, for the third straight week – while Chris Jones did re-inset him into the offence late last week to try and give the team a spark, it’s hard to say if he’ll be willing to do the same thing again against Hamilton.
Ottawa (1-1) vs. Montreal (1-2), Friday, July 6th, 7:30 PM EST: Coming off a surprise win in Saskatchewan, the Alouettes are likely feeling good, and understandably so – it was a full-team effort that sealed the deal for them. Historically, though, Montreal has struggled against the REDBLACKS; Ottawa swept the 3-game season series last year, and won the 2016 series 2 games to 1 as well. Additionally, this is a homecoming of sorts for a few REDBLACKS; defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe gets to face off for the first time against the team that unceremoniously dumped him last season, and while LB Kyries Hebert is suspended due to a late hit last week, he and FB J-C Beaulieu will be pulling hard to see Ottawa defeat the Alouettes once again.
Edmonton (2-1) vs. Toronto (0-2), Saturday, July 7th, 5:30 PM EST: The James Franklin era has arrived in Toronto, whether Franklin or the Argos like it or not. With Ricky Ray now done for the year, this is Franklin’s team moving forward. Rather poetic that his first CFL start will come against his old team here as well! The Argos will be in tough – without a win so far this season, and with a new quarterback still in the midst of learning a new playbook, they’ll have their work cut out for them when it comes to keeping pace with the high-powered Eskimos offence.
BC (1-1) vs. Winnipeg (1-2), Saturday, July 7th, 8:30 PM EST: Well, Matt Nichols has apparently been activated for this game, which is good news for Bombers fans – but it’s unclear as to whether he’ll indeed be the starter or not. He shared first-team reps in practise this week with rookie Chris Streveler, who despite having an average showing last week, has really done pretty well for himself in his tenure as the starter in Nichols’ absence. For the Lions, the offence will have its work cut out to try and keep pace with the Bombers; these teams have had some offensive back-and-forth battles in years past, and while Winnipeg’s defence is suspect, conceding more than 500 total yards to the Ti-Cats last week, the Leos will still need to make sure they can make each possession count against Winnipeg.
BYE: Calgary (3-0)
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|
- Masoli, HAM – 1045
- Reilly, EDM – 1020
- Mitchell, CGY – 872
- Mitchell, CGY – 6
- Reilly, EDM – 6
- Streveler, WPG – 6
- Jackson, CGY – 294
- Gable, EDM – 241
- Powell, OTT – 217
- Williams, EDM – 308
- Walker, EDM – 299
- Williams, MTL – 250
- Hughes, SSK – 4
- Laing, TOR – 2
- Davis, CGY – 2
- Murray, OTT – 2
- Gaitor, WPG – 1
- Lee, BC – 1
- Lauther, SSK – 8
- Bede, MTL – 7
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 7
Don’t think I don’t notice you sliding into the competition late, blaxabbath.
Remember to submit your picks here! http://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=148402
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||8||3-1||66.67%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.