With just two weeks remaining in the Canadian Football League, the time for wins is now, as several teams continue to look at locking down first place in their respective divisions.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers need to win out the season and they will clinch the Eastern finals, while B.C. and Edmonton are still fighting with Calgary looking in at first place in the West.
A lot of good football was played this weekend and let’s take a look at some of the good, the bad and ugly that went on.
There is a lot of buzz coming out of the city of Winnipeg this season as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have secured a home playoff date for the first time since 2008 where Winnipeg lost to Edmonton 29-21 in the semi-finals.
This is the final season at the Canad Inns stadium and the football club is doing all they can to send the stadium off on the right foot.
They have now won five of their eight home games after winning only four all of last season, while winning seven of their nine games against divisional opponents, which helps set them up for the playoffs.
Another team doing their part in attempting to host a home playoff game is the Edmonton Eskimos. Edmonton joined Winnipeg last season as the other team to miss the playoffs. Both teams have been on hot streaks throughout the start of the season but have fizzled since their bye weeks.
The last time Edmonton hosted a home playoff game was back in 2004 where they eventually lost to Saskatchewan. They would go on to the win the Grey Cup a year later.
Both teams are hailed by their respected coaches who have worked hard in the league to get where they are now and are both deserving of the success the season has brought to their clubs.
As well, there must be congratulations regarding receiver Chad Owens out of Toronto, who on Friday became the first pro-football player ever to go over 3,000 all-purpose yards in back-to-back seasons.
The decision making by Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Ken Miller when deciding to start quarterback Darian Durant against the Calgary Stampeders. Darian Durant is currently working through a foot injury and played in a meaningless game which could have made the injury more severe.
This was an opportune time for Ken Miller to take a look at his backups in both Ryan Dinwiddie and Cole Bergquist. Saskatchewan would lose the game to Calgary as they continue to work with no real shots left, only talent evaluation.
Meanwhile, the lack of offensive production from the B.C. Lions was surprising after their eight game-winning streak which saw the Lions put up double-digits through each win, averaging 32 points a game.
In their loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, quarterback Travis Lulay put up 218 yards and one touchdown on 17 completions in their 42-10 loss. The last time Lulay threw for less yards was Week 11 where he completed 13 attempts for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Wally Buono knows what he needs to do to keep his troops level-headed and focused as they head towards the playoffs, where they were a win away from the Western finals last season after their slow start.
The decision by Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille to think that running a two-quarterback system will work down the stretch.
Both Quinton Porter and Kevin Glennwant to be starters, and rightfully so, and to put them in this position has to certainly be tough for either player.
It’s clear that Porter, through the years with Glenn, has the better tools to lead this team than he did at day one and showed it in their win over B.C., as Porter actually achieved the same yardage in half the attempts it took Glenn.
During the third quarter of the Winnipeg vs. Montreal game punter Jamie Boreham took the snap, ran five yards and attempted to punt the ball, which was hit and sailed about zero yards, setting up Montreal, which allowed them to drive and score a major.
The way Edmonton almost lost their game after being up 31 to 3 over Toronto was ugly in more than one way. Allowing Toronto to score 21 unanswered points is no way to operate.
Offensive Player of the Week:
Chris Garrett not only notched two rushing touchdowns in Winnipeg’s comeback win over the Montreal Alouettes, he managed to do so within a seven minute span, finishing the night with 57 yards of rushing and 30 yards receiving.
Defensive Player of the Week:
There are several candidates available but what defensive end Jason Vega has done in his rookie season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is certainly entertaining. Through the last four games, Vega has notched 14 tackles and six sacks with two back-to-back games with at least two sacks.
Special Team Player of the Week:
Sean Whyte did all he could Saturday afternoon to keep his Montreal Alouettes afloat against a strong Winnipeg defensive performance, notching six field goals but was short of the victory. Nonetheless his offensive contributions kept them in the game long after Anthony Calvillo was unable to find the end zone.
Canadian Player of the Week:
Although Jerome Messam lost one of his two fumbles Friday night he certainly kept the ground game afloat behind his 115 yards on 19 carries to keep the offensive drives going for Ricky Ray. Adding another 43 yards through the air allowed Messam to finish with 158 yards of offense.