Maybe I’m getting old and crotchety, but I’m over the live mic games. The novelty has worn off, and you can tell that either the players and coaches have some say in what goes to air or they’re just shutting their mouths. See: Chris Jones basically having nothing to say during his live mic game.
But once in a while, the live mic gives a little glimpse of humour, and the above clip of Travis Lulay was pretty funny. He took a vicious shot right under the chin later in the game, so we’re hoping he’s okay.
Ottawa at BC
What is the deal with Ottawa QB Trevor Harris? He has a dynamic RB in William Powell and a solid receiving corps with Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli, and Dionate Spencer. Yet Harris and the REDBLACKS are having a tough time generating any offense over the past couple of weeks. While they’ve run into a couple of teams whose defenses have made big improvements over the past couple of weeks – see: Montreal and BC – they should still be able to put up points.
If I recall correctly, the TSN crew thought Harris does much better in a hurry up offense rather than one that takes the full 20 seconds between each play. If that’s the case, then run the hurry up offense! But I’m starting to think the problem is starts with the REDBLACKS’ offensive line, which gave up SIX sacks on Friday night. It’s a young line – and that will pay dividends in time – so there are some growing pains.
Still, the REDBLACKS need to figure out how to help their young oline so that their offense can get going. That might mean focusing on the running game more in the first quarter to help the young’uns start winning the line of scrimmage, or bringing in extra blockers to help the passing game.
The Lions had to win on Friday night to keep any hope of making the playoffs alive. The crossover is in play, as the Lions now have four wins, one more than both Montreal and Toronto in the East Division.
BC’s offense was not spectacular, as it only managed to 260 yards. It was in tough from the beginning, as C Cody Husband went down, leaving the backup to take over. His snaps were all over the place, making it difficult for the BC QBs on timing routes and hand offs. Luckily, the BC defense scored a pick six and came up with two other interceptions that helped limit the REDBLACKS to only one TD on the night.
As mentioned above, QB Travis Lulay went down after taking a hit to the chin in the second quarter. WR Emmanuel Arceneaux is already out for an extended period of time. If Lulay misses any significant playing time, the Lions’ chances of making the post-season will be in trouble.
FINAL: Ottawa (6-5) 14, BC (4-6) 26
Hamilton at Toronto
Before I say anything about the actual game, I need to complement Henry Burris. And no – you are not in a parallel universe or the twilight zone. Burris worked this game alongside Gord Miller and I thoroughly enjoyed the two of them. Miller is a classic play-by-play man who clearly follows the CFL even though hockey is his milieu. What I liked about Burris was that I felt like I was learning by listening to him break down a play. He talked about the progressions a QB would generally have on a certain type of play and would identify the routes. It was like he was in my living room beside me breaking down the game for me as it went along. I hope he gets more assignments because he is far better than either Glen Suitor or Matt Dunigan. Duane Forde is pretty blasé, but I still enjoy him.
As for the game, the Argos did start WR Duron Carter, but he mostly saw time on kickoff and punt returns. He was targeted on one offensive play – a pass deep to the end zone that was beyond his reach. He could be a difference maker for the Argos as he gets more time on the field. The Argos are desperate for another receiver to take the heat off of veteran WR SJ Green, although WR Armanti Edwards has proven to be a good foil for Green.
The Argos put up more of a fight than I expected. Inconsistency remains their biggest issue. Some offensive drives they couldn’t get the right amount of personnel on the field, while on others, they cut through the Hamilton defense making it look so easy. A couple of miscues on short yardage – they lost two 3rd down gambles – and the game might’ve ended differently.
I continue to be impressed by Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli. He threw for over 300 yards and 4 TDs on Saturday afternoon, with another 300+ yard game breaking a franchise record formerly held by – Henry Burris. He also moved the ball on the ground, rushing for 51 yards, which kept the Argos’ defense off balance most of the game.
With a win, the Tiger-Cats moved into a tie with the REDBLACKS for first in the East Division, while the Argos remain in the CFL basement with only three wins.
FINAL: Hamilton (6-5) 36, Toronto (3-8) 25
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
I have a lot to say about this game, but much of it isn’t exactly PG. The play above was inexplicable. The Riders ran the same play earlier in the game. You have four receivers on the right side of the formation, telegraphing exactly what is about to happen again. No one seems to see the DB creeping up to jump the route and the play is not only a bust, but results in a pick six. The Riders’ offense is so very easy to defend against. Opposing defensive co-ordinators probably look forward to the weeks they play the Riders because they don’t have to put much thought into their game plan.
That being said, the Bombers’ offense didn’t exactly light the world on fire.
Matt Nichols was amazingly inept, throwing TWO pick sixes in the first half, which led to him being booed off the field a half time and Chris Streveler going in at QB in the third quarter.
It didn’t help.
Here’s another inexplicable play. It’s second down, and a bunch of the Blue Bombers’ defenders are crowding the line of scrimmage. They’re going to blitz. It’s not hard to see that there are few Rider olinemen than Bomber guys on the line, so someone is going to get by unblocked. The inability of ANYONE on the Rider offense to react is mindnumbingly stupid. And it resulted in QB Zach Collaros being pulled from the game.
Obviously the Rider defense won this game for the Riders. It had a much better game against the run, but, in my opinion, left receivers with too much cushion throughout the game. But when the defense has two TDs and the offense had NONE, it’s hard to criticize the game plan.
Kudos also to Brett Lauther, who racked up another six field goals on Saturday afternoon.
The Riders’ offense is just – effing terrible. (I am running out of adjectives to describe its ineptitude.) Somehow it has managed to help put up enough points to keep the Riders on a four game winning streak, but instead of getting better, it’s getting worse. If RB Tre Mason wouldn’t have put up 117 rushing yards, the Riders would’ve been two and out for most of the game. The offense wasn’t working when QB Brandon Bridge was running it, and it isn’t working with QB Zach Collaros. The common factor is Offensive Coordinator Steve McAdoo. Kevin Glenn made McAdoo look good last year. But his offensive playbook is now being exposed for what it is: a couple of plays drawn on the back of napkins from the Memories restaurant at the Quality Hotel in Regina.
The Riders have won the last four games DESPITE their offense. The Riders’ defense is the main reason why the Riders are 7-4. The Riders lead the league in points off of turnovers. I think the Rider defense has now scored MORE TDs than the Rider offense. That is unacceptable.
The Bombers have their own problems. They may have a genuine QB controversy, as the fans clearly want Chris Streveler to take the reins, while Head Coach Mike O’Shea seemingly remains committed to Matt Nichols. With a bye week coming up, O’Shea will have a lot of time to figure out who his starting QB is going to be going forward.
One final note: if DE Willie Jefferson EVER AGAIN showboats on his way to the end zone, he’d better be benched.
FINAL: Saskatchewan (7-4) 32, Winnipeg (5-7) 27
Calgary at Edmonton
That was CLOSE. And it’s possible Calgary got robbed. I thought the Calgary player’s backside might’ve hit the turf before the ball came out. But he didn’t argue with the ruling of incomplete, so maybe I’m completely out to lunch on this one.
Both the Calgary and Edmonton defenses took the night off in what became a shootout between QBs Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly. Mitchell ended up with 491 yards, 4 TDs, and 3 INTs, while Reilly had 397 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT – plus another 3 TDs on the ground. His CFL Fantasy score must’ve been RIDICULOUS.
The Eskimos were in control for most of the game, but Calgary made a late surge and just about took the game away. It was tons of fun to watch, especially given the offensive ineptitude of the previous game.
I’m surprised Calgary’s defense wasn’t better, as up until now it’s been the league’s leading defense, but what do I know?