It’s week 2 of summer vacation, and I’m already stressed that I’m not doing enough with my time off. Goddamnit. You working stiffs, of course, have zero pity for my plight, which is to be entirely expected. At least I’m not slacking on my beer-drinking responsbilities!
In league news this week:
- Ottawa signed LB Jeff Knox, Jr. to a one-year deal this week, bringing in some more defensive help. He’s started practicing with the team, but won’t play until next, most likely. Knox spent last season with the Argos, while spending the previous three with the Roughriders – in his 50-game CFL career, he’s recorded 231 defensive tackles, three sacks, and one interception.
- Montreal signed DB Chris Ackie to a one-year deal this week; Ackie was traded from the Alouettes to the REDBLACKS late last season, but hadn’t signed a new deal after Ottawa’s Grey Cup run. The 27-year-old Canadian spent the last four seasons in Montreal; in his career, Ackie has recorded 131 tackles in 54 games.
- A variety of kicking news around the league – the Toronto Argonauts released Drew Brown, replacing him with former Rider Tyler Crapigna, who was most recently on Montreal’s practise roster. Brown’s release comes in the wake of an illegal kickoff out of bounds last week against BC, which set up the Lions with excellent field position, ultimately allowing their game-winning drive. Additionally, the BC Lions signed Australian punter Josh Bartel, who’s spent four seasons with the Roughriders and two with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The signing takes some of the kicking pressure off Sergio Castillo, who can focus on field goals now.
Onto the games!
WEEK 4 RECAPS
Hamilton 29 vs. Montreal 36: Take a goddamn bow, William Stanback. Montreal’s starting running back had 203 yards rushing on 22 attempts, and another 46 on a catch; he also had three touchdowns to help the Alouettes take revenge on the Ti-Cats and record their first win of 2019. It was truly a breathtaking experience watching Stanback in this game – he becomes the first Alouette RB since CFL Hall of Famer Mike Pringle managed the feat back in 1998. Even Jeremiah Masoli throwing for 400 yards wasn’t enough to match Montreal in this game – Hamilton saw their 3-game win streak snapped, not to mention their own starting RB Sean Thomas-Erlington leaving the game in the first quarter, with his status for this coming week uncertain.
Winnipeg 29 vs. Ottawa 14: The REDBLACKS lost their first game of 2019, and the Hyde version of their offence was on full display in this one, after seeing the Jekyll version in Week 2 against the Roughriders. Winnipeg started strong out of the gate – their first possession of the game featured an 82-yard catch-and-run TD from Drew Wolitarsky, who snagged Matt Nichols’ pass and took it to the house. For the REDBLACKS, the team failed to score an offensive TD – Dominique Davis threw two interceptions and was sacked twice, and Ottawa had 236 net yards of offence in total. Lewis Ward kicked two field goals to keep his regular-season FG streak alive, dating back to last season, and DB Jonathan Rose scored a TD on a fumble return to cut the Bombers’ lead to 8 points in the dying minutes of the 3rd quarter. In a quintessentially Canadian play, Justin Medlock tracked his own punt down to the five-yard line, where return man Ryan Lankford muffed the ball – and Medlock punched it out of bounds himself, giving Winnipeg possession and setting up the final score of the game for the Bombers.
BC 18 vs. Toronto 17: The LioUns won their first game of 2019 in the most Canadian way possible – on a walk-off rouge. Yup – the play we’ve all dreamed about finally happened! With BC down two and no time left on the clock, Sergio Castillo’s 42-yard field goal attempt went wide left; the Argos’ Chris Rainey successfully caught the ball, and prepared to return it… but the play was blown dead, and the game was over. As it turns out, Rainey’s foot was out of bounds as he hauled in the ball, meaning that the ball technically went out of bounds over the back line… giving BC the single point and the victory. Canadian football is the absolute best. With the BC win, Toronto remains the only team yet to win a game this season – and considering how they let BC back into this one late, it seems like it’s unlikely they’ll be winning anytime soon.
Calgary 37 vs. Saskatchewan 10: In the “Battle of the Backups”, Nick Arbuckle and the Stampeders emerged victorious over Cody Fajardo and the Roughriders. It was a full team effort from Calgary, who dominated this game from start to finish. Arbuckle had a very efficient showing, going 19-22 for 262 yards and 2 TDs, while WR Reggie Begelton paced the Stamps with 4 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. The Riders couldn’t get their offence going in the face of a Calgary defensive unit showing every indication it’s really starting to gel; DB Tre Roberson had two more interceptions this week, bringing his season total to five picks in three games – a very impressive showing so far. The Stamps did well to shut down Fajardo, who went just 9-15 for 89 yards and two picks. Backup Isaac Harker fared little better for the Riders, going 9-13 for 72 yards and an INT in mopup duty in the fourth quarter.
BYE: Edmonton (2-1)
WEEK 5 PREVIEWS
Edmonton (2-1) vs. BC (1-3), Thursday, July 11th, 10:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): The Eskimos have already beaten the Lions once this year, and are coming off a bye week. Even as the road team, you have to like their chances – particularly against a side that needed literally a single lucky misstep (Chris Rainey’s errant foot) to win their first game last week. The Leos will get star receiver Bryan Burnham back in the lineup this week, giving Mike Reilly another versatile offensive weapon; however, if BC really wants to win this one, their D really needs to step up and start making plays. Without some consistency, this team will be in trouble, especially if the West stays as strong as it has been throughout the past few seasons.
Toronto (0-3) vs. Winnipeg (3-0), Friday, July 12th, 8:30 PM EST (TSN, ESPN+): If the Bombers don’t win this one, I’ll eat a shoe. You can take that to the bank. The main question for this one will be QB Matt Nichols’ status; after leaving last week’s game in the third quarter after a hit from REDBLACKS LB Kevin Brown, he went through concussion protocol and didn’t return. That said, Nichols returned to practice on Monday, so right now it certainly looks like he’ll be good to go this week. If not? Well, Chris Streveler is a very capable backup quarterback, and I really don’t see the Argos giving Winnipeg too much trouble on either side of the ball.
Montreal (1-2) vs. Ottawa (2-1), Saturday, July 13th, 4:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN2): A week ago, I would’ve said Ottawa for sure. This week? I’m still gonna pick them, but things are a lot murkier now, especially after the REDBLACKS’ putrid offensive showing, and William Stanback running roughshod over Hamilton last week. The name of the game for the REDBLACKS will be about neutralizing the run game – not only is Stanback an excellent rusher, of course, but Vernon Adams, Jr. is extremely mobile, and is quick to call his own number whenever need dictates it. Montreal still has flaws on defence – most notably in the secondary – but Dominique Davis also needs to be more prudent with his throws as well. After two more interceptions last week, Ottawa needs to be more secure when they have possession – elsewise the Alouettes will make them pay for it.
Calgary (2-1) vs. Hamilton (3-1), Saturday, July 13th, 7:00 PM EST (TSN, ESPN2): The Stamps looked great last week, while the Ti-Cats did not. Bo Levi Mitchell is on the six-game injured list, however, so Calgary is definitely hoping that Nick Arbuckle can continue his strong play in the wake of Mitchell’s absence. Hamilton played some sloppy football against Montreal, and they ultimately got burned for it. I don’t expect them to get gashed for 200+ yards on the ground again, but they’ll need to be watching closely, as Calgary still can run the ball. Hamilton will have to deal with the loss of both RB Sean Thomas-Erlington, who had knee surgery this week (though fortunately not his ACL, meaning he’ll likely be able to return this season) as well as WR Bralon Addison. The Stamps will be without RB Don Jackson once again, as he remains on the six-game injured list after suffering a concussion in Week 3 against the BC Lions.
BYE: Saskatchewan (1-3)
STANDINGS AND STATS
East Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
West Division Standings
|Team||Games||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
- Masoli, HAM – 1325
- Reilly, BC – 1099
- Harris, EDM – 1086
- Masoli, HAM – 7
- Nichols, WPG – 7
- Harris, EDM – 6
- Stanback, MTL – 357
- Gable, EDM – 347
- Powell, SSK – 276
- Banks, HAM – 420
- Ellingson, EDM – 313
- Durant, BC – 308
- Hughes, SSK – 5
- Leonard, SSK – 4
- Davis, HAM – 3
- Roberson, CGY – 5
- Lawrence, HAM – 2
- Hecht, WPG – 2
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 12
- Ward, OTT – 11
- Whyte, EDM – 10
Our top 3 entries this week – and 4 of the top 5 – are all Canadian Commentists. As it goddamned well should be, if you ask me.
Remember to submit your picks here! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||10||1-3||66.67%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.