This is now officially the back half of the CFL season. While the old-timers claim that things don’t really start until Labour Day around here, I think that many things are already quite clear – the Lions and Argos won’t make the playoffs, and likely the Ottawa REDBLACKS as well. That said, weirder things have happened, such as last year’s late-season collapse in Edmonton, not to mention quarterback injuries continuing to dog much of the league – but we’ll get to it when we get to it.
In league news:
- We have an NFL game happening at a CFL stadium for the first time in a while! It’s the first NFL game north of the border since the 2013 season, when the Buffalo Bills lost to the Atlanta Falcons 34-31 in overtime at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Today, on Thursday, August 22nd, the Oakland Raiders take on the Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It may only be pre-season, but in a football-mad region of the nation, I expect attendance to be decent – and the late price drop on tickets hopefully will help things, as well.
- Montreal DB Tommie Campbell is being investigated by the league after getting “an altercation” during warmups against the Calgary Stampeders last week; while he maintains his innocence in the proceedings, he was still seen throwing punches with injured Stamps LB Wynton McManis, who he claims initiated the whole thing. There were no ejections or penalties issued as a result of the fracas, but it’ll be interesting to see just how things unfold as a result of this incident.
- The BC Lions signed LB Jonathan Newsome, who was released by the REDBLACKS on July 28th, where he had spent the second half of 2017 and all of 2018. Before his stint in Ottawa, he’d spent time in Saskatchewan, where he was cut halfway through 2017. Despite the releases, Newsome still has some upside as a player; he played in 14 games as a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts before making the jump to the CFL. With the Leos’ defence by far the league’s worst, any help could be used – yes, even from you, if you’re willing to tolerate the high cost of living in Vancouver!
Onto the games!
WEEK 10 RECAPS
BC 16 vs. Winnipeg 32: It was another full-team effort from the Blue Bombers as they toppled the lowly LioUns once again this season; the defence racked up seven sacks, an interception, and three forced fumbles, while RB Andrew Harris had 14 carries for 73 yards to become the all-time leader amongst yards gained from scrimmage by Canadians in the CFL. DB Marcus Sayles blocked a punt for a touchdown as well, helping Winnipeg to pull away in the second half of this game. The Lions actually played the Bombers pretty closely through the first 30 minutes of this contest, but the second half proved to be the difference maker as BC’s O-line broke down once again. The only black mark for Winnipeg was Matt Nichols’ injury in the fourth quarter; after forcing a fumble, Lions pass-rusher Shawn Lemon took Nichols down hard, hurting his throwing shoulder and forcing him from the game. Hope in BC for the playoffs this season is long gone.
Edmonton 41 vs. Toronto 26: One week after beating Ottawa, two former REDBLACKS were on display as the Eskimos stuck it to the Argos. Trevor Harris threw for 420 yards and 3 TDs, two of which went to receiver Greg Ellingson, who had 10 catches for 170 yards on the night. DaVaris Daniels also had a strong night for Edmonton, with five catches for 155 yards – his best showing in an Eskimos uniform. McLeod Bethel-Thompson has definitely improved as a quarterback, and he went 19-26 for 200 yards and two TDs in this game- with James Franklin and Zach Collaros both waiting in the wings to see some playing time, he’ll still have an uphill battle to try and wrest away the starting job from the others. Most notable, however, was the scratch of James Wilder, Jr. from the active roster for this game – with Branden Burks and Chris Rainey both getting carries and showing some success, Wilder has slid down the depth chart. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with him at this point – he’s met with the team, but no clarification has been provided on what his role might be moving forward.
Hamilton 21 vs. Ottawa 7: Not a particularly high-scoring matchup, but Ottawa’s absolutely abysmal offence meant they had virtually nothing to counter Hamilton’s. REDBLACKS kicker Lewis Ward saw his consecutive field goals streak end at 69 with a rouge in the first quarter; a very nice record indeed, if you ask me… Ward would kick two others successfully in the second half, which would be Ottawa’s only other points. The REDBLACKS dinked and dunked their way down the field, to little avail – Dominique Davis went 20-40 for 238 yards, no TDs and no picks. Yikes. Dane Evans threw two picks for the Ti-Cats, but also threw for a TD while backup David Watford ran for another. While it wasn’t a pretty game for the Tiger-Cats, it was downright wretched for the REDBLACKS… so Hamilton will happily take the win, especially considering their four straight losses to Ottawa last season that kept them out of the Grey Cup once again.
Montreal 40 vs. Calgary 34 (2OT): What an incredible comeback by the Alouettes! With just 50 seconds remaining and Montreal down by 11 points, Vernon Adams, Jr. threw a touchdown pass to WR Jake Wienecke, followed by a successful two-point convert. Als receiver Eugene Lewis then managed to haul in the onside kick attempt successfully, setting up a successful drive to get the game-tying field goal from Boris Bede. Having successfully pushed it to overtime, the Stamps scored another touchdown on a pass from Nick Arbuckle, which was caught by Reggie Begelton – his fourth TD reception of the game. Montreal countered with a score of their own, on a QB sneak from Adams at the one-yard line. Due to CFL rules, each team was afforded another possession – with Montreal starting first this time, Adams would score another QB sneaker TD, and Calgary almost managed to counter it once again – but on third down, with Eric Rogers seemingly having hauled in the ball, replay had ruled one foot had touched down out of bounds before he had it in. Such a shame for the Stamps – but a highly entertaining game for an impartial observer. Montreal finally has their first win at McMahon Stadium since 2009 – a shocking fact!
BYE: Saskatchewan (5-3)
WEEK 11 PREVIEWS
Winnipeg (7-2) vs. Edmonton (6-3), Friday, August 23rd, 9:00 PM EST: With Matt Nichols sidelined for the next six weeks or so, that’s a big blow to the Bombers. While Chris Streveler performed admirably as a backup last season, he’s thrown three interceptions in just 16 pass attempts this year, so in order for the Bombers to maintain their division lead, he’ll need to be much sharper in the starter’s role over the next little while. Edmonton finally had both offence and defence going equally effectively last week against Toronto, but they’ll face a tougher test this week – even with Nichols on the shelf, Andrew Harris remains the league’s best running back, and he can single-handedly change games for Winnipeg – they’ll naturally be game-planning for him. Hopefully Trevor Harris can have another monster game – just like last week. The Eskimos will need it!
Ottawa (3-6) vs. Saskatchewan (5-3), Saturday, August 24th, 7:00 PM EST: The REDBLACKS’ lack of an offensive coordinator is catching up to them, if you ask me. Receivers coach Winston October will hand over the play-calling duties to running backs coach Joe Paopao in an attempt to shake things up. While Paopao has a wealth of coaching experience at both the CFL and Canadian U Sports level, including a stint as head coach of the Ottawa Renegades team from 2002-2005, he’s not exactly a fresh face, and I’m not certain it’s going to have much of an effect on the efficacy of the offence, really. The REDBLACKS have beaten the Riders once this season – in a 44-41 slugfest back in Week 2 – but the Roughriders have rounded into form since then, while Ottawa has clearly regressed. This might be an ugly one – especially if pass-rusher Charleston Hughes can get a clear lane to Dominique Davis.
Hamilton (7-2) vs. BC (1-8), Saturday, August 24th, 10:00 PM EST: BC almost beat Hamilton a couple weeks – but as per usual, “almost” doesn’t mean a damn thing in sports. While Hamilton’s offence has definitely taken a hit with Jeremiah Masoli’s injury, there’s still enough talent out there that they’ve proven they can mount big comebacks if need be. The Ti-Cats’ D, however, will be just fine for now – and if they can get to Mike Reilly with the ability that other CFL teams have shown this year, against a flimsy LioUns offensive line, they’ll come out of this one with a road victory. Once again, I bemoan the state of the Lions – it really wasn’t supposed to be like this – and yet, here we are.
Montreal (4-4) vs. Toronto (1-7), Sunday, August 25th, 12:00 PM EST (Croix-Bleu Medavie Stadium, Moncton, NB): This is Touchdown Atlantic, the first CFL game in the Maritimes since the 2013 season. It’s also the first to be hosted by the prospective 10th CFL team, the Atlantic Schooners. While they, naturally, won’t be participating in the events on-field, the business side of the franchise will be front and center as they attempt to drum up some CFL excitement with the promise of their team arriving soon – hopefully within the next couple of seasons. With the Alouettes riding high after a huge OT win last week, they’re finally coming into their own as a team – it’s the best they’ve looked in years. As for Toronto? Well, maybe playing somewhere other than one of the nine permanent CFL stadiums will somehow be a winning formula for them. I dunno what it’s gonna take if the defence can’t get things sorted out.
BYE: Calgary (5-4)
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 – 3051
- Reilly, BC – 2151
- Arbuckle, CGY – 2103
- Nichols, WPG – 15
- Harris, EDM – 13
- Bethel-Thompson, TOR – 12
- Harris, WPG – 819
- Gable, EDM – 667
- Stanback, MTL – 592
- Collins, EDM – 741
- Banks, HAM – 716
- Begelton, CGY– 704
- Hughes, SSK – 10
- Law, CGY – 6
- Davis, HAM – 6
- Roberson, CGY – 6
- Rose, WPG – 6
- Reid, MTL – 3
- Whyte, EDM – 25
- Hajrullahu, HAM – 23
- Ward, OTT – 23
Remember to submit your picks here! https://www.pooltracker.com/join.asp?poolid=168258
|Rank||Total Points||Weekly Score||Win Percentage|
|Game Time Decision||25||3-1||64.10%|
Enjoy the games, everyone.