Winnipeg Blue Bombers Still Atop the League; B.C. Lions Continue to Win

Dorian McLean@Quartz87Contributor IIISeptember 19, 2011

The 12th week of the Canadian Football League has come to a finish and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are still leading the league in first place.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are coming off a two-game losing streak to the Saskatchewan Roughriders after starting the season 7-1, their best start since 1984.

Buck Pierce had a lot to answer for after throwing a career-high five interceptions last week in their 45-23 loss at home and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers responded accordingly.

Pierce was 20-of-29 on the day with 312 yards, two touchdowns and one interception that came off a tipped pass by Terrence Edwards that led to seven Montreal points.

Although Fred Reid still has no 100-yard game, he led the rushing game with 84 yards and one touchdown, compared to Brandon Whitaker’s 51.

On the Bombers first possession they drove the field in three plays off a 92-yard scamper by Canadian receiver Cory Watson that set them up 1st-and-goal. A quick pass to Greg Carr later and the Bombers led 7-0.

The Bombers defense had some questions of their own to answer with what many speculated was the loss of their "swagger," but they stayed with the defending Grey Cup champions, toe-to-toe, and won the hard-fought battle.

Pierce again put a drive together, hitting Edwards for 37 yards followed by a nine-yard scamper by rookie Tim Brown. The drive was capped with a 47-yard dash by Reid up the middle with no one in the backfield.

This was a Bomber team that many questioned and Sunday afternoon they came out and put them to bed. Although there were many positives from this game, there will always be some negatives.

There were the undisciplined penalties taken by the defense on two offensive drives that led to points for the Montreal squad.

However, through the bad, the defense was able to push one of the game’s top quarterbacks in Anthony Calvillo off his game while his best receiver, Jamel Richardson, was quiet for all of about five minutes of the game.

This win puts Winnipeg four points ahead of Montreal in the East and sole place once again atop the league.

Winnipeg will play Toronto next Saturday, where they’ve won two games over Toronto this season, as well as 2-0 on Saturday. Montreal will face Edmonton as they look to climb back towards the top of the east.

The Edmonton Eskimos traveled to Ivor Wynne Stadium to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where both teams were coming off a loss and looking to rebound towards the play-offs.

While Hamilton has shown flashes of success, they would follow that up with mistakes and bad play. This game was no exception as many receivers had trouble catching or hanging onto the ball that led to stalled drives.

Kevin Glenn was only 14-of-23 and 140 yards while Quinton Porter attempted to make something of the game, going 8-of-12 and 90 yards.

Through all the troubles, Hamilton appears to be in possession of the Rookie of the Year in receiver Chris Williams, who had five catches for 74 yards and tacked on a 93-yard scamper for a kick-return touchdown.

In the end however, Ricky Ray and the Edmonton offense out-shined Hamilton with Jerome Messam once again bringing it to the Tabbies going on 15 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Questions are certainly going to begin mounting for current head coach Marcel Bellefeuille, who as the Tiger-Cats head coach has only mustered a 24-31 record since 2008. Many speculate a change will be made if Bellefeuille cannot turn this ship around.

Over in the West we saw the Calgary Stampeders and the B.C. Lions take form for their second game of three this season. Calgary won the first contest in a close battle, 34-32.

This game was sort of a statement game for the B.C. Lions and Travis Lulay. Starting the season 1-5, it was the same old story for the Lions who seem to start slow but eventually pick up and find themselves in the playoffs.

Lulay is also looking to continue making his name in the league and what better opportunity than against one of the premier Western teams in Henry Burris and the Calgary Stampeders.

Lulay finished the day at 13-of-26 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, hitting six different receivers, which saw Arland Bruce and Adrian Foster lead the Lions at 49 and 48 yards, both with a touchdown.

The B.C. defense was also able to hold Calgary to just 55 rushing yards on the day, while Joffrey Reynolds had 15 of his own.

For Reynolds, he has averaged around 1,374 yards per season, but his numbers have dramatically dropped and at his current rate could finish with fewer than 700 yards this season.

Just when you feel that Calgary and Henry Burris are picking their game up they have another bad night executing their game plan.

Calgary will look to bring their level back up next week as they head to Moncton for the Touchdown Atlantic game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Lions will play the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are currently on a three-game winning streak following their win over Toronto Saturday afternoon.

This was a team that started out 1-7 on the season, fired their head coach and offensive coordinator and questions surrounded quarterback Darian Durant.

All that changed the day the club announced Ken Miller would return as head coach. Since then, the Roughriders are on a three-game winning streak and Durant continues to improve his game-play each week.

For Toronto the same problems continue to plague the 2-9 club, who finished the 2010 campaign at 9-9 and that is their lack of depth at the receiver position.

Aside from the odd big play here and there, the Toronto Argonauts have not had a deep threat receiver that several other teams employ. Jermaine Copeland was supposed to be that guy but those days are long gone for the 34-year-old.

The second leading rusher just a season ago in Cory Boyd currently holds fifth place at 469, over 300 yards from the top spot.

Quarterback Cleo Lemon is gone from the team and Steven Jyles made his second straight start but was unable to make the most of the situation.

Down three with just under one minute to go, Jyles threw a pick-six that sealed the game for Saskatchewan.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the Toronto Argonauts; however, one thing remains clear and that’s if Jim Barker cannot turn this club around, David Braley will find a coach who can.

Offensive Player of the Week: Chris Getzlaf

Chris Getzlaf led all receivers this week with seven catches for 170 yards, averaging 24 yards a catch and one touchdown.

Defensive Player of the Week: Barrin Simpson

Barrin Simpson continues to show why he is the Minister of Defense as he racks up seven tackles, one interception and a forced fumble over the Toronto Argonauts.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Noel Prefontaine

Doing everything he could to keep the Toronto Argonauts within distance to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Noel Prefontaine connected on all four of his field goal attempts, while averaging 41.4 yards on seven punts.

Canadian Player of the Week: Jerome Messam

Jerome Messam had 15 catches on the day for 139 yards and two touchdowns for the Edmonton Eskimos. Messam had trouble the last four games, netting only 66 yards but against Hamilton earlier this season he rushed for 104 yards. Playing Hamilton once again, Messam rushed for over 100 yards, second time this season.


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