CFL 2011: Winnipeg Clinches First in the East; B.C. in the West as Season Ends

Dorian McLean@Quartz87Contributor IIINovember 9, 2011

The final week of the Canadian Football League came to an end, which saw two teams who missed the playoffs a season ago return with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Eastern final and Edmonton Eskimos receiving a home playoff game.

Elsewhere, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will have a lot of questions that need answers and moves will be made after Ken Miller resigned as VP and head coach.

Toronto Argonauts will also look to make changes in the offseason after their rough season. The team started to get some life back near the end but it was too late.

The 2011 offseason will begin after November 27 and will feature a lot of changes no doubt. As for this week’s Good, Bad and the Ugly, continue on.


The Good

Both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos will head into the playoffs after missing out last season. For Edmonton this will mark their return to the postseason following their 9-9 record in 2009. This will be their first home playoff game since 2004.

Edmonton brought Kavis Reed, former defensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in as their new head coach this offseason. Reed since led his team to a 5-0 start before enduring struggles with injuries and overall play.

They would finish 6-7 ever since, enough to earn them a home playoff date against the Calgary Stampeders next weekend.

For Winnipeg, this will be their first trip back to the postseason since 2008 after finishing 8-10. For Winnipeg they will also finish first place, an accomplishment not made since 2001.

That season, Winnipeg finished 14-4 atop the Eastern division and made it to the Grey Cup, eventually losing to Calgary in the final game.


The Bad

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will head into Quebec to face the Montreal Alouettes for a fifth time this season, having lost two previous games on the road to Montreal already. They will look for an upset behind their two-quarterback system, something that has shown little success so far.

In a game that was meaningless in itself, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats squandered away an opportunity to work out any issues heading into the playoffs and fine tuning some mistakes they may have when they played Toronto in the final game of the season.

Instead they allowed Toronto to score 33 points and have lost their last two games during a crucial time of the season where they need all the momentum possible.

In his final head coaching game, Ken Miller will be remembered this season for returning at the Labour Day Classic, winning three straight games then losing their last five of six and finishing last in the league.


The Ugly

There’s no easy way to put it but the way both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes entered the postseason can be labeled nothing but ugly.

For Winnipeg, they lost their last two games while finishing 3-8 down the stretch. Montreal didn’t fare much better, losing their last three games and finishing 3-8 down the stretch.

Both teams will look to build on their new opportunities as Montreal will attempt to knock off Hamilton for a third straight time this season, while Winnipeg hopes to play good enough to win at home and a shot at another Grey Cup.


Offensive Player of the Week:

Adarius Bowman for the majority of his career has always been highlighted by his drops and his hands. For one night in his four-year career, he put all that behind and became the player many thought he could be. Bowman caught 10 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Beyond that, Bowman finished tied with teammate Fred Stamps for most receiving yards this season.


Defensive Player of the Week:

Juwan Simpson finished with 55 tackles on the season; 10 of those came against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as Simpson was making his presence felt, flying all over the field.


Special Teams Player of the Week:

Rene Paredes landed with Calgary following Rob Maver’s injury after being released from Winnipeg in the preseason. Paredes would hold onto the kicking job following his solid play and on Sunday afternoon did his part to keep Calgary’s hopes at finishing first or second in the West alive, making good on all three of his field goals.


Canadian Player of the Week:

Andrew Harris received three touchdowns on five catches for 74 yards. He would attach another 22 on five rushing attempts for 96 all-purpose yards. Harris is in his second year with the B.C. Lions and has grown into a quality back and option for B.C.


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