We’re almost halfway through the CFL regular season, and based on what I’ve seen thus far in 2019, I can’t think of a bigger letdown than the BC Lions. It’s a shame, really. We’ve been accustomed to all five teams in the West Division being extremely competitive, and considering the crazy finish that 2018 had to the year, it just seems like such a disappointment to see how far they’ve regressed. With all the money they threw around in free agency, I really thought they’d come out swinging – where has Duron Carter been this year? Where has the O-line been this year? The secondary? I dunno why I’m ranting, really – I guess every time I see large-market teams struggling to attract attention I get a little fatalistic about the future of the CFL. This is the problem with summertime – I don’t have to think of work-related stuff, so I end up occupying my time with ridiculous stuff instead. Hey, have you heard about InfoWars.com? Apparently the chemtrails in the sky are turning the frogs gay. Fascinating stuff! (I kid, fortunately.)
In league news this week:
- The Lions re-acquired DE Shawn Lemon in exchange for DT Davon Coleman and a conditional 2020 eighth-round draft pick. Both players have previously been CFL All-Stars; Lemon was in BC last season, where he was also traded from Toronto partway through the 2018 season.
- The Ottawa REDBLACKS released WRs Julian Feoli-Gudino & Noel Thomas, and picked up longtime Alouettes returner Stefan Logan, adding him to the practise roster; he’ll likely assist DeVonte Dedmon as the secondary return man later on.
- Montreal announced that WR DeVier Posey is healthy and will be returning to the active roster; just as well, since they also simultaneously announced that fellow receiver BJ Cunningham is headed to the 6-game injured list with a broken wrist.
- The Calgary Stampeders signed DL Anthony Johnson; a fringe former NFLer, he spent time with Miami, the Redacteds, New England, the Jets, Indianapolis, and the Memphis Express of the AAF. Defensive depth will be needed moving forward for the Stamps, and if he can adapt to the line-of-scrimmage rules of the Canadian game, he may go on to be a useful acquisition.
Onto the games!
WEEK 9 RECAPS
Calgary 24 vs. Winnipeg 26: Welcome to the CFL, Janarion Grant. In his first-ever CFL game, the Bombers’ rookie punt returner racked up over 300 return yards, including two touchdowns for 76 and 83 yards – just the 8th time in CFL history that a player has scored multiple punt return TDs in one game, and the first Blue Bomber ever to achieve the feat. The Bombers had to fend off a strong comeback from the Stamps in the fourth quarter; while Nick Arbuckle converted on a touchdown pass to Eric Rogers with under three minutes remaining, he would later throw a late interception to Winston Rose that ended Calgary’s hopes of equalizing.
Saskatchewan 17 vs. Montreal 10 (Weather Protocol): The CFL implemented a new protocol for weather delays this season, stating that if the game has been halted past the midway point of the third quarter or later, for more than 60 minutes, and one team has the lead, that team will be awarded the victory. In this case, Saskatchewan got the win, becoming the first-ever beneficiaries of the new weather policy. Montreal struck first with yet another return TD – it really has been a great year for those in the CFL, eh? – with Shakeir Ryan taking a punt 101 yards to the house. The Riders responded later on with two defensive scores of their own from DEs Earl Okine and Charleston Hughes.
Ottawa 12 vs. Edmonton 16: Not a particularly notable offensive night from either team, but Eskimos RB CJ Gable did have himself a very good night, leading Edmonton to victory with 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score, on 16 carries, to go along with 4 receptions for 36 yards. The Eskimos continue to have the league’s best defence, with just 138 points against in eight games, and with some key pieces returning from injury, it was on full display in this one. Ottawa managed to rack up some yardage, but Dominique Davis continues to throw picks, killing momentum, and Ottawa’s chances of a playoff berth to boot.
BC 34 vs. Hamilton 35: A wild one in Steeltown, as the LioUns blew a fourteen-point fourth-quarter lead to lose on a late touchdown from Dane Evans to Brandon Banks. BC did finally get their offence going in this one, as Mike Reilly went 21-28 for 306 yards, two touchdowns, a rushing TD, and two picks. Reilly also had an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and needed to be helped off the field, but he did end up returning to the game to try and fend off the ferocious Ti-Cats comeback. John White also racked up 124 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 15 carries for BC. On the home side of the field, Dane Evans and Brandon Banks hooked up twice for touchdowns, backup QB David Watford rushed for another, while Frankie Williams had a 108-yard kickoff return TD, continuing the Year of the Return in the CFL – a truly delightful trend.
BYE: Toronto (1-6)
WEEK 10 PREVIEWS
BC (1-7) vs. Winnipeg (6-2), Thursday, August 15th, 8:30 PM EST: Fresh off another disappointing loss, the LioUns have the Bombers to contend with – always a handful. Winnipeg didn’t play particularly well last week, but it was still enough to score a win against arguably the toughest competition they’ve faced all season. That said, you can’t rely on multiple return TDs as the gameplan for success on a regular basis. Considering the patchwork BC defence, I’d expect to see Matt Nichols put up some big numbers this week. If Mike Reilly is also dinged up, that’s just another blow to a Lions’ season that has really, really gone off the rails thus far.
Edmonton (5-3) vs. Toronto (1-6), Friday, August 16th, 7:30 PM EST: The Argos are coming off the bye week hopefully having rested up, and they’re getting RB James Wilder, Jr. back off the injured list. While that’s definitely a positive thing, I still don’t know if it’s going to be a tremendous difference-maker… ALTHOUGH, Toronto did beat the Bombers in Week 8, so what the hell do I know, really? Edmonton’s D remains excellent, but the offence needs to show a little more cohesion; the emergence of the ground game last week against the REDBLACKS was a good thing indeed, but the passing attack also needs to show some finishing ability, particularly in the red zone.
Hamilton (6-2) vs. Ottawa (3-5), Saturday, August 17th, 4:00 PM EST: Another late collapse from Ottawa in part due to another disappointing offensive performance. If it weren’t for the strength of the return game, Ottawa would barely be able to score any points at all, I think. Hamilton comes to this one on an emotional high after successfully pulling off a 14-point comeback last week. Yes, it was the Lions, but still, that always feels nice. Historically, though, Ottawa has consistently had the Ti-Cats number. Is this the season where this finally changes?
Montreal (3-4) vs. Calgary (5-3), Saturday, August 17th, 7:00 PM EST: Vernon Adams, Jr. and William Stanback return from injury for the Alouettes, while Calgary returns home to host them, where the Stampeders have been a historically dominant team over the last decade. The Stamps had trouble with Winnipeg’s special teams last week – something that normally hasn’t been an issue for them – and they’ll be looking to rebound and hopefully make some space between them and the Roughriders and Eskimos, who are all tied with identical 5-3 records in the West. Bo Levi Mitchell is getting very close to returning, and at the time of writing this, it’s still not clear if he’ll be returning to action just yet for Calgary. If he is indeed ready to go, that’ll be a tremendous improvement for the Stamps’ offence.
BYE: Saskatchewan (5-3)
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|
- Harris, EDM – 2631
- Reilly, BC – 1974
- Fajardo, SSK – 1871
- Nichols, WPG – 14
- Bethel-Thompson, TOR – 10
- Harris, EDM – 10
- Harris, WPG – 746
- Stanback, MTL – 592
- Gable, EDM – 591
- Banks, HAM – 691
- Collins, EDM – 670
- Burnham, BC– 653
- Hughes, SSK – 10
- Law, CGY – 6
- Davis, HAM – 6
- Rose, WPG – 6
- Roberson, CGY – 5
- Reid, MTL – 3
- Whyte, EDM – 23
- Ward, OTT – 21
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 21
Litre_Cola opening himself up a little lead… but we’re still not yet halfway through the season. Lots can change in the back nine!
Remember to submit your picks here! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||22||3-1||62.86%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.