Hi again everyone. School’s almost wrapped up in Ontario, and I luckily found time to sneak this into my busy schedule as I currently work through over 400 pages of student essays and exams that I have to mark this week. I hate my life. The good news is that summer’s around the corner – and with it, a chance to drink beer in my underwear while a lot of you suckers are still in the office. Gotta stick it to y’all when I have the chance. At least you guys are getting paycheques.
In league news this week:
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ linebacker Simoni Lawrence received a two-game suspension for a late hit to the head on Riders QB Zach Collaros, which forced him from the game. He’ll miss this week’s matchup against Toronto, and the Week 3 game against Montreal.
- Saskatchewan is being cautious with Zach Collaros, who has a history of concussions in his career; he’s been placed on the six-game injured list. The team announced that Cody Fajardo will start against Ottawa this week, but they did sign veteran Bryan Bennett to help out in the meantime; Bennett was the third quarterback on the roster in Winnipeg last season and saw extremely limited duty in the regular season.
- The Riders also reached out to Kevin Glenn, who just announced his retirement last week at age 40 and ultimately declined their offer. Glenn remains the only player in CFL history to have his contract rights held by all nine franchises; he also saw playing time for seven of them (only Ottawa and Toronto did not have him on their active rosters). In 18 CFL seasons, Glenn dressed in 304 games, starting 208 of those; he completed 4068 of 6434 pass attempts for 52,867 passing yards, 294 touchdowns, and 207 interceptions. He retires in the sixth position among the CFL’s all-time passing yards leaders, ahead of fellow great Ron Lancaster and behind Danny McManus.
Onto the games!
WEEK 1 RECAPS
Saskatchewan 17 vs. Hamilton 23: This was absolutely not the way that the Roughriders wanted their season to start off. Zach Collaros, long-suffering quarterback, was injured from a hit to the head by former teammate Simoni Lawrence on the opening drive; fearing concussion symptoms, backups Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker took over for the rest of the game. The Riders opened the scoring in this game, and led at halftime, but Hamilton’s offence woke up in the third quarter, and the Tabbies re-took the lead and didn’t look back. Frankie Williams scored a spectacular 68-yard punt return TD in the third to extend the lead further for Hamilton, though Saskatchewan tried their best to tie things up late in the game; unfortunately, rookie QB Harker tossed interceptions on consecutive drives, killing hopes of a late comeback.
Montreal 25 vs. Edmonton 32: Mike Reilly who? In his first game in green and gold, new quarterback Trevor Harris looked fantastic – the team’s new star threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns on 32-41 pass attempts, and also scored the game-winning major on a QB sneak with 90 seconds left in the game. To the lowly Alouettes’ credit, they did actually make a good game of this one – with starting quarterback Antonio Pipkin injured with just over five minutes to go in the third, Vernon Adams Jr. stepped in to lead the Als. Down by 17 points in the 4th quarterback, Montreal’s offence came to life with the quarterback change, tying the game at 25 thanks to a rushing score from William Stanback and a TD pass from Adams to receiver BJ Cunningham, plus a field goal by Boris Bede. Edmonton’s offence looked good throughout this game – Ricky Collins led the way with 175 yards receiving on 9 catches, while CJ Gable added 154 yards on the ground on 20 carries.
Ottawa 32 vs. Calgary 28: The REDBLACKS got some sort of revenge for last year’s Grey Cup loss, I guess? It was a sloppy one for both teams, but in the end, Ottawa came away with a very, very rare victory at McMahon Stadium, where the Stamps have been the league’s best home team for many years runnings. Dominique Davis, in his first-ever CFL start, threw four interceptions – including three to rookie CB Tre Roberson – but also scored three rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner for Ottawa with just 1:22 left on the clock. Calgary’s defense in this game was certainly not at the level of what most fans have come to expect from previous seasons, but to be fair, they weren’t exactly aided much by the sputtering offence, which scored just seven points in the second half of the game. Bo Levi Mitchell’s late drive ended in an interception by REDBLACKS’ DB Jonathan Rose, capping off quite a comeback for an underdog Ottawa squad on the road.
Winnipeg 33 vs. BC 23: This game was a very fun one, with a more even feel to it than the final score suggests. The Lions held a slim lead going into halftime, but the Bombers took over in the second half. Mike Reilly had 324 yards and a TD in his first game since returning to the LioUns, but the two interceptions he threw in the second half kept BC from making things more even – especially the second one with under five minutes left in the game. Winnipeg’s offence was highly efficient, with Matt Nichols throwing for 184 yards and 3 TDs on 21-33 attempts, WR Drew Wolitarsky grabbing two major scores, and RB Andrew Harris adding 148 yards on the ground on 16 carries. The other crazy part of this game was the blocked convert on BC’s third-quarter touchdown; the Bombers’ Marcus Sayles got a hand on Sergio Castillo’s kick, which knocked the ball down – Brandon Alexander recovered the loose ball and lateralled to Chandler Fenner, who motored 80 yards to score.
WEEK 2 PREVIEWS
Saskatchewan (0-1) vs. Ottawa (1-0), Thursday, June 20th, 7:30 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): With Zach Collaros already out, Cody Fajardo gets the starting gig for the foreseeable. future. He technically is the #2 guy, but his game’s strengths lie primarily in working as a short-yardage specialist; he also was hit hard at one point last, though he did return to the sidelines afterwards. Isaac Harker is more of a traditional QB, but he’s also a rookie fresh out of college, and threw two tough interceptions that wrecked the Riders’ chances late against the Ti-Cats. On the other side of the field, Ottawa did pull out a big win last week, but any time your quarterback throws four picks in a game, you need to fix things. Dominique Davis absolutely has an arm, but if he doesn’t have the vision to go with the arm, that will likely prove to be a problem.
BC (0-1) vs. Edmonton (1-0), Friday, June 21st, 9:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN2): This game was supposed to be the Mike Reilly homecoming game, but after last week’s performance by Trevor Harris, the narrative has changed somewhat. The Eskimos would love to see another offensive performance like last week’s – for BC, the hope is that the offence, with so many new additions this offseason, continues to gel and show the cohesion that teams like Winnipeg have thrived on for a number of seasons now. One thing the Lions need to do to improve from last week is to get the run game going – John White had four yards on four carries, and he was the only man with any rushing attempts at all against Winnipeg. I’m pretty sure even me, an out-of-shape, overweight high school teacher, could have had a few more than that…
Hamilton (1-0) vs. Toronto (0-0), Saturday, June 22nd, 4:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): It’s the first matchup of the Battle of the Queen Elizabeth Way, and the first game of the season for the Argos, who started last week on a bye. It’ll also be our first chance to see a few new talents wearing the double blue, such as receiver Derel Walker, running back Chris Rainey, and defenders Micah Awe and Kevin Fogg. Most importantly, however, it’s the true beginning of the James Franklin era for the Argos; after Ricky Ray went down with a neck injury last season in Week 2 – which ultimately was the end of his Hall Of Fame career – Franklin was thrust into the spotlight as the new starting quarterback for the Argos, and didn’t look comfortable in the role. With an offseason to prepare mentally, as well as a crew of new talent to surround him, the Argos are hoping he’ll be able to take a step forward this season and bring the team back into contention – the team’s Grey Cup win in 2017 was a real surprise, but it was one that was impossible to follow up, considering Toronto finished last overall last year. For Hamilton, last week was a win, but they’ll need to take some further steps to show they’re the team to beat in the East – and they’ll have to do it without Simoni Lawrence, arguably their top interior defender.
BYE: Calgary (0-1), Montreal, (0-1), Winnipeg (1-0)
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|
- Harris, EDM – 447
- Reilly, BC – 324
- Davis, OTT – 276
- Nichols, WPG – 3
- Harris, EDM – 3
- Masoli, HAM – 1
- Gable, EDM – 154
- Harris, WPG – 148
- Madu, OTT – 112
- Collins, EDM – 175
- Burnham, BC – 153
- Stafford, EDM – 98
- Boateng, EDM – 1
- Moncrief, SSK – 1
- Wakefield, OTT – 1
- Roberson, CGY – 3
- Hecht, WPG – 2
- Rose, OTT – 1
- Ward, OTT – 3
- Castillo, BC – 3
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 3
Remember to submit your picks here! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||3||3-1||75.00%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.