CFL: Calgary Stampeders Alone in 1st Place; Toronto's Season Near End
They played their hearts out with full determination and banded together when everyone else counted them out and were one play away from winning the game.
That’s right; the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were one play away from taking the season series from the Montreal Alouettes, a team that has won the last two Grey Cups.
Unfortunately that play was ruled unsuccessful at the goal line as quarterback Alex Brink, who started just his second career game, was unable to break the plane and get the major.
If not for the slow offensive production earlier in the game this play should have never been needed, however, that has been one of Winnipeg’s faults this season.
Looking at the positives this week running back Chris Garrett, who made his first start, rushed for 76 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Not bad production for his first start and game action this season.
On the receiving end, Greg Carr led all Bombers with six catches for 95 yards and had a shot at the touchdown to win the game but the play was broken up.
Alex Brink had his first start of the season and in his efforts threw for 326 yards, a touchdown and two picks. The Bombers were down early, struggled for most of the first half but they were never out and Brink led his team to an almost perfect comeback.
For Montreal, Anthony Calvillo continued to be his usual self, netting 335 yards and three touchdowns.
His No. 1 receiver Jamel Richardson led all receivers at 126 yards and a touchdown. Richardson continues to outpace the rest of the league and sits first at 1,318 yards.
Buck Pierce’s status for next week against Hamilton is still questionable and he may not be ready to go as he continues to work with his bruised ribs. If that’s the case it's likely Alex Brink will start this week.
The B.C. Lions opened their new home to the world as they hosted the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night in a 33-24 win.
Travis Lulay has never given up this season, always looking for opportunities and exploits in order to get the victory and has been successful for six straight weeks.
Friday night Lulay threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns while looking for his running back to provide some balance as Andrew Harris rushed for 60 yards on 11 carries but received 115 yards on five passes and two touchdowns.
Ricky Ray for the most part was able to keep his receivers in the game and put drives together but often had to settle for field goals.
Both Jason Barnes and Adarius Bowman combined for 230 yards and a touchdown in their loss.
During the offseason running back Jerome Messam was traded from the B.C. Lions to the Edmonton Eskimos for draft picks. Players from the Lions locker room labeled Messam a cancer to the room.
His time with Edmonton for the most part was clean and un-controversial but that quickly changed during Friday night’s contest when Messam was involved in a skirmish after completing the two-point convert. Those actions would result in his disqualification.
The B.C. Lions are continuing to build on their season after their slow start and still have four games against the West and are currently tied for second place with Edmonton.
Edmonton will face the West three more times as Kavis Reed tries to recover his season after starting 5-0 but finishing just 2-6 in their last eight contests.
The troubles in Saskatchewan continue to build as the Roughriders lose their second straight game after winning their first three following the bye week, which saw Ken Miller return as head coach.
The return of Ken Miller to the sidelines, however, appears to have been out welcomed, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders are back at square one.
Losing two straight games and being outscored 82 to 8, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a lot of issues to work out if they want to make any sort of playoff run.
They are six points behind Hamilton for the cross-over and their current play will not bring them any wins.
Saskatchewan’s last touchdown came defensively in the last minute of their game against Toronto. They haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in 10 quarters, with Chris Getzlaf the last player to receive one.
For Henry Burris and the Calgary Stampeders this was a comeback game that they needed to win to put the critics down. The pounding they took a week ago against Hamilton had revealed some issues they needed to deal with.
With Joffrey Reynolds a healthy scratch for the second week, Jon Cornish took full advantage of the opportunity again, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
It is clear now that Joffrey Reynolds' days as a Stampeder are clearly numbered and with Jon Cornish being the younger back, he will become the more logical choice for Hufnagel to use.
This win gives Calgary sole possession in first place for the time being as they look to build their lead and win the West for a second straight year.
Saskatchewan will need to dig deep and fix their issues on offense if they want any shot at the postseason. This is a team that went to the Grey Cup two straight years and at a time when they needed to win, can do anything but win.
Finishing off the week that was saw the Toronto Argonauts host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in what Toronto had to label a playoff game.
Toronto currently sits in last place following their loss Saturday night and most likely any chance of making the postseason went out the window with that loss.
Quarterback Steven Jyles is clearly still not ready to return to the field after suffering what was seen as a mild ankle sprain. The situation Jyles was put in this season was certainly not to his favour but he will be back next season.
Earlier in the week both Ejiro Kuale and Cory Boyd were commenting to the media with Kuale guaranteeing a win over Hamilton and Boyd saying he’d rush for over 200 yards.
Both players made no impact during the game and the Toronto Argonauts lost.
The Toronto Argonauts will undoubtedly make changes in the offseason but the No. 1 change required is that of head coach Jim Barker.
It’s no secret that the Extra Yard documentary became a distraction for Barker and he lost the grip of his team over the course of the season.
Offensive Player of the Week: Anthony Calvillo
When the time for the Montreal Alouettes to make their push to secure the first spot in the East is now, Anthony Calvillo came out strong and put together the drives he needed. Calvillo completed 26 of 44 attempts for 335 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Game: Charles Hughes
Charles Hughes put together a game package worth revisiting over and over again, recording five tackles and two sacks, but the biggest play came off a fumbled ball from Darian Durant, recovered by Hughes for the touchdown.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Henoc Muamba
When the Bombers were all but out of the football game, holding Montreal to a punting situation Henoc Muamba made the biggest play of his rookie career as he recovered the blocked punt, returning it for a touchdown.
Canadian Player of the Week: Jon Cornish
Jon Cornish got his second straight start for the Calgary Stampeders as Joffrey Reynolds was made a healthy scratch once again and Cornish made the best of the situation. Rushing for over 100 yards, the first for a Stampeder back this season, as well as two touchdowns in Calgary’s win over Saskatchewan.
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