Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CFL 2014: Week Four

The Montreal Alouettes will be looking to keep up their momentum from last week, as they kick off week number three with a home date with the undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Yes that's correct, Winnipeg which struggled through 2013 has found a winning vibe under head coach Mike  O'Shea and with a taste of winning over two weeks, the desire to keep the roll moving forward on Friday should be all the motivation that O'Shea needs pre game.


Week Three also offers up an opportunity for the Eskimos to continue on with their undefeated season so far, as they host the Ottawa RedBlacks at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night.  The Esks have sped off from the starting line through two weeks of play with entertaining victories, an impressive comeback from last week adding to the excitement of an unexpected start for many of the Eskimo faithful.

With Ricky Ray having found much success against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, he will look to keep his Argos in winning ways as they play host to the Calgary Stampeders. Either, the Argos clearly addressed their week one struggles, or the Riders of week one were just an illusion for their fans.  We imagine the correct answer is somewhere in the middle.

And BC perhaps faces the largest hurdle of the weekend ahead. Not only have they struggled to find wins in their opening weeks of play, with two losses to show for their efforts but now they have to go into Regina and take on those same Saskatchewan Roughriders, a squad that will be very angry over last weeks loss to the Argos and looking to send a strong message of calm to RiderNation.

Below, we'll provide the scoreboard for the week, as well as any items of note from the first week of the brand new season.


Thursday, July 17-- Edmonton 26 at Winnipeg 3   ( 30,976  )   
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )


Video Highlights-- Edmonton / Winnipeg
Game Recap-- Un-D-feated: Esks 'D' stifles Willy, Bombers
Stats Pack-- Edmonton / Winnipeg

Game Reviews:

12 Men--  Away for the weekend, thus no review

Edmonton Sun-- Defence prevails as the Eskimos dominate the Bombers in decisive victory
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos find a way on offence, defence to win fourth straight game
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers haunted by turnovers in loss to Eskimos
Winnipeg Free Press-- Blue feeling like bongo drums
National Post-- Edmonton Eskimos down Winnipeg Blue Bombers, claim top spot in CFL West


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Friday, July 18-- Toronto 17 at Ottawa 18 ( 24,326 )  
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )


Video Highlights-- Toronto / Ottawa
Game Recap-- Welcome Back: REDBLACKS cap off historic homecoming
Stats Pack-- Toronto / Ottawa

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- Away for the weekend, thus no review

Ottawa Sun-- Ottawa RedBlacks get first win on historic night
Ottawa Citizen-- RedBlacks beat Argos in home opener
Toronto Sun-- Argonauts fall to RedBlacks as football returns to Ottawa
Toronto Star-- Argonauts first victims for RedBlacks
National Post-- Ottawa RedBlacks beat Toronto Argonauts in historic home opener behind Brett Maher's six field goals


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Friday, July 18-- Hamilton 7 at Calgary 10 ( 27,546 ) 
CFL.ca Game Preview--  ( video )


Video Highlights-- Hamilton / Calgary
Game Recap-- Stampeders outlast Ticats in defensive battle
Stats Pack-- Hamilton / Calgary

Game Reviews:

12 Men--  Away for the weekend, thus no review

Calgary Sun-- Calgary Stampeders beat Hamilton Tiger-Cats by a whisker
Calgary Herald-- Stamps survive late scare to beat Tabbies
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats lose another tough one, fall 10-7 to Stampeders
National Post--  Stampeders win sloppy affair over Hamilton Tiger-Cats on late field goal

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Saturday, July 19-- Montreal 5 at British Columbia 41 ( 25,063  
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )

Video Highlights-- Montreal / British Columbia
Game Recap-- Arceneaux's touchdown trio helps Leos topple Als
Stats Pack-- Montreal / British Columbia

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- Away for the weekend, thus no review

Vancouver Province-- Lions 41, Alouettes 5: B. C. keeps 14 year home dome win streak over Montreal alive
Vancouver Sun-- Arceneaux's three TDs help Lions clobber Alouettes
Montreal Gazette-- Alouettes humiliated again in Vancouver
Globe and Mail-- B. C. Lions embarrass Montreal Alouettes 41-5

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gibson's Players of the Week: Week Three




It was a double dip weekend for Andrew Harris, his outstanding week three efforts on the field at Mosaic Stadium earned the Winnipeg native a pair of honours, as he led the BC Lions with the running game to gain their first win of the 2014 season.

Harris collected both the Player of the Week award for week three, as well as the nod as the Canadian Player of the Week.

For those players not named Harris, the salutations were divided among the Alberta rivals.

With Edmonton's Almondo Sewell picking up the defensive honours for his four tackle performance in Friday's Eskimos victory over the Ottawa RedBlacks.

The Special Teams player of the week nod went to the Calgary Stampeders Jock Sanders who returned a missed Argonaut field goal for 121 yards with a pull yourself out of chair kind of run.

The four top selections for Week One can be found below:

Offensive Player of the Week
Andrew Harris, RB, British Columbia Lions

Defensive Player of the Week
Almondo Sewell, DT, Edmonton Eskimos

Special Teams Player of the Week
Jock Sanders, KR, Calgary Stampeders

Canadian Player of the Week
Andrew Harris, RB, British Columbia Lions

CFL.ca review of the Players of the Week

Video review of the Players of the Week

Top Ten Plays of Week Number 3

Ultimate Replay for Week Number 3

Power Rankings For Week Number 3

Twelve Men on the Field Archive of the Players of the Week Listings for the 2014 season

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lions reveal weaknesses for defending Grey Cup champs

The BC Lions collected their first win of the CFL season on Saturday evening in Regina, delivering a solid pounding of the Grey Cup champion Riders, making quick work to quiet down the usually boisterous faithful at Mosaic Stadium

With a pair of losses to kick off the 2014 season, the rumblings in Vancouver had already started to echo across the province as fans of the Lions started to fret that perhaps Wally Buono had gotten it all wrong in the off season, signs of a year of struggle already starting to offer up more clouds than a November morning on the West Coast.

Just in the Nick of time arrived a breakout performance for 2014 from Andrew Harris, as the Lions running back took to full gallop early in the game, breaking tackles along the way to a 58 yard touchdown. The first highlight reel run of the evening that delivered 222 total yards for a nights work.

With Harris providing the pace, the Lions took the game to the Riders, winning battles on the line and at times finding gaps in coverage and open field to ramble down,  all of which helped to propel them on to number one with a 26-13 victory.

For Kevin Glenn, week number three was clearly a much more rewarding experience than the start of the season, Glenn completed 16 of his 27 passing attempts for a total of 170 yards, with one TD toss to add to his collection.

One of the main contributing factors for the Leos was a turn around in the turn over game, with BC playing a near flawless game of ball control, a much different scenario than that which played out in the first two games.

For Saskatchewan, some of the same problems that popped up in week two arrived once again, an inability to make the key adjustments required in a timely manner provided the Lions with the momentum on the day.

The Riders offence let opportunities slip by at pivotal points of the game, statistically Darian Durant had  one of those nights that best be filed away, making just 15 completions of 34 pass attempts for 191 yards.

Time an time again Saskatchewan would lose any momentum that they found through turnovers,  while discipline issues would haunt them as the final moments ticked off the clock, with a roughing penalty in the course of a Paul McCallum field goal attempt providing a new set of downs for the Lions.

Kevin Glenn made good opportunity of the Riders temper issues, connecting with Courtney Taylor on a 20 yard passing play to push the Lions lead to 13 points.

The Riders continued to self-destruct in the final moments as a Durant pass destined for Rob Bagg was picked off by Josh Johnson, turning the game over one more time to the Lions who made sure that was the final bit of drama for the night.

A glimpse of some of the background to the Saturday night Lions victory can be found below:


Regina Leader Post-- Darian Durant's thoughts on the loss to B. C.
Vancouver Province-- Harris carries Lions over the hump
Vancouver Sun-- Harris a dynamo in B. C.'s 26-13 win over Roughriders
TSN.com-- Lions top Riders for first win of season 

Stamps take charge over Argonauts

Bo Levi Mitchell has provided his head coach with a pretty helpful bit of evidence that the right starting quarterback was handed the ball at the end of training camp.

Mitchell won the QB showdown with the Argos Ricky Ray on Saturday, with an impressive performance that propelled the Stamps to a convincing 34 to 15 victory over the Double Blue.

Among the highlights for the Stamps starter a gadget play (see video here)  that saw the Stamps use a direct snap to Jock Sanders, he in turn tossed the ball to Mitchell who hurled it down the field to Anthony Parker, a play that caught everyone but the Stamps by surprise, setting in motion the rest of a successful night for Calgary.

For those that may want to try the flea-flicker during their rec league football game, here's the nuts and bolts of the play.

Even more impressive for the Stamps, they dominated the Argonauts without the services of a string of first line players, the absence of John Cornish, Maurice Price and Nik Lewis but the thing of a line up sheet change more than anything else.

And while the Stamps offence moved the ball with authority, equally impressive was the shut down nature of the defensive squad which made Saturday night a most miserable experience for Ricky Ray.

The Argo offence could find no rhythm and no forward motion all night,  despite some solid numbers from Ray, who on the night completed 28 of 36 passes for 292 yards, though the majority of those yards were outside of the redzone.  It proved to be a night of frustration for the Argos as drives would stall leaving the Toronto output to the foot of Swayze Waters on the night, he accounted for all fifteen of the Argo points on the evening.

Defensively, the Argos struggled to hold the Stamps in check, Mitchell finding open receivers to the tune of 16 completions on 24 attempts for 4 touchdowns, the rushing game was distributed to four ball handles collectively taking the Stamps over the century mark with the run.

Calgary's play on both sides of the ball and on special teams highlighted the ability of coach Hufnagel to put the proper focus on the early season miscues that dogged some of the Stamps play, though in their first two games, the Stamps hold a 2-0 record, the key to their success a stingy defensive squad that has only surrendered 23 points on the year thus far.

With their second win of the year, the Stamps continue to nip at the heels of the front runners out of the gate with the Bombers and Esks holding 3-0 records, with their early season showdown set for Thursday night in Winnipeg.

The Stamps return to McMahon Stadium, playing host to the Tiger Cats, while the Argos will be in Ottawa Friday night for the debut of the RedBlacks new home in the nations capital.

Reviews of the Stamps victory can be found below:

Calgary Sun-- Calgary Stampeders get it done with big win over Toronto Argonauts
Calgary Herald-- Stamps sail to victory over Argos without Cornish, other stars
Toronto Sun-- Argos no match for Stampeders in CFL action
Toronto Star-- Argos routed by Stampeders 34-15
Canada.com-- Mitchell leads Calgary Stampeders past Toronto Argonauts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bowman makes quick work of RedBlacks defensive unit

Friday night in Edmonton was the Adarius Bowman show, the Edmonton Eskimos receiver put on a pass catching clinic for the 31 thousand plus at Commonwealth Stadium, grabbing three touchdowns on his own to spur the Eskimos to a 27 to 11 victory over the Ottawa RedBlacks.

For the first time this year, the RedBlacks looked very much like an expansion team, as defensive breakdowns and a sputtering offensive unit provided the worst combination for head coach Rick Campbell, making his return to the house that his father built.

The RedBlacks held tough for three quarters, but the final frame of the game was all Eskimos who lit up the scoreboard after taking an 11-8 lead into the quarter.

Bowman was the main cause of the RedBlacks frustrations on the night, as the Eskimo slotback ripped apart the RedBlacks defensive backfield, offering up a sample of the kind of impact he can bring to the Eskimo lineup when the ball is tossed his way.

The first half of the game wasn't much to speak of, both teams struggled to make much headway in yardage, with frequent two and outs the rule for much of the first thirty minutes.  The third quarter started out much the same as the previous two, before the Mike Reilly and the Eskimo offensive unit finally found their range, once they started putting the points  on the board however they were in control of the game and on their way to the eventual 27-11 victory.

Ottawa showed more of the promise of the previous week as Chevon Walker galloped for a 65 Touchdown run, the only major on the night for the RedBlacks.

Unfortunately much of the Ottawa game on the night featured frustration as passes went off target, were dropped or resulted in little in the way of gain.

Another issue on the night was that of pass protection, which at times was almost non-existent, leaving Henry Burris either laying on the ground or scrambling for survival, two aspects of the game that don't work well if you're trying to claw your way back into the picture.

Keeping drives alive proved to be another stress point for Ottawa, a situation that led to their defensive unit returning to the field time and time again, a situation that the Eskimos finally began to exploit in the fourth quarter.

Campbell most likely understands that these things will happen through the season, the key for the Ottawa coaching staff will be to recognize the problem areas early on and make their adjustments in a timely manner.

With a couple of road games under their belts now, the RedBlacks make their home debut this week on Friday Night football when the Toronto Argonauts help the home side open up TD Field.

The Eskimos have their own bit of destiny ahead this week as well, as they take their undefeated record into Winnipeg for a Thursday night showdown with the Bombers who also sport a 3-0 record.

By the time the gun sounds to close out Thursday night, one team will no longer be among the undefeated, the Esks will need to make sure that theirs is a four quarter game on Thursday should they wish to be considered for that title.

Reviews of Friday's Ottawa/Edmonton game can be found below:


Edmonton Journal-- Bowman's  trio of touchdowns sparks Eskimos' win over RedBlacks
Edmonton Sun-- Hold off on the parade ... for now?
Ottawa Citizen-- RedBlacks come up short again against Eskimos
Ottawa Sun-- RedBlacks drop second game
Canada.com-- Strong fourth quarter over RedBlacks boosts Edmonton's record to 3-0




A new attitude in Blue

Three games does not a season make, but there's something different about the 2014 edition of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Banished it appears are the troubles of the last few seasons, where wins were few and comeback performances but the thing of rumour.

The 2014 Bombers led by head coach Mike O'Shea have one important intangible in them, there doesn't appear to be any quit in this years edition of the Blue.

Friday night the Bombers took for the first road trip of the season, heading off into Molson Stadium and a rendez-vous with the Montreal Alouettes, a good measuring stick for O'Shea to see how his squad was going to shape up outside the friendly confines of Investors Group field.

And while he no doubt has a bit of material to work with in the video review of the week to come, O'Shea must have been impressed with the nature of his teams will to win, or is that Willy to win?

Drew Willy once again provided Bomber fans with a glimpse that perhaps their long desired quest for a starting quarterback has finally come to an end, as the Bomber QB orchestrated a last minute drive down the field, offering once again the theme that No lead is ever really safe in the CFL.

For the Alouettes the game was another reminder of the work in progress that their team has become in this post Calvillo year, as Montreal let opportunities slip by to put some distance between themselves and the Bombers, settling for field goals when touchdowns were in reach.

A situation that allowed the Bombers to hang on through the fourth quarter to eventually launch their late game heroics to steal the two points out of McGill, with a thrilling 34-33 last minute shocker.

Not quite the parting gift that the Alouettes perhaps wanted to provide for their former coach Marc Trestman, who had been feted and saluted during much of the game.

There were some positive steps for Montreal, defensively the Alouettes put pressure on Willy, taking him to ground four times on the night, while Troy Smith offered up a glimpse of what coach Tom Higgins hopes to see as the season moves forward.

Some of his passes were crisp and effective, some not so much, two key turnovers on the night by Smith told the story of the evening, one a fumble, the other an interception both set the Bombers up with fourteen points, costly miscues that provided Winnipeg with its momentum towards their fourth quarter comeback.

For the CFL historians, Friday night was the night that Chad Johnson recorded his first CFL touchdown, a statistic that Montreal fans are no doubt hopeful of having repeated through until November.

However, the story of the night was the undefeated status of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who at 3-0 find themselves the talk of the league and for a change it has more to do with their winning ways, than the spiral of frustration that the last few years provided for.

For Bomber fans, who perhaps entered 2014 with a bit of trepidation, the season is off to a smashing start, winning can at times become infectious, in Winnipeg they're hoping that the virus takes hold.

Some items of review on Friday's game can be found below:


Montreal Gazette-- Als couldn't put the Bombers away when it counted
Winnipeg Free Press-- Amazing 3-0 start for Blue
Winnipeg Sun-- Three cheers for Blue Bombers
Canada.com-- Last-minute Feoli-Gudina TD catch lifts unbeaten Bombers over Alouettes


Friday, July 11, 2014

CFL 2014: Week Three

The Montreal Alouettes will be looking to keep up their momentum from last week, as they kick off week number three with a home date with the undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Yes that's correct, Winnipeg which struggled through 2013 has found a winning vibe under head coach Mike  O'Shea and with a taste of winning over two weeks, the desire to keep the roll moving forward on Friday should be all the motivation that O'Shea needs pre game.


Week Three also offers up an opportunity for the Eskimos to continue on with their undefeated season so far, as they host the Ottawa RedBlacks at Commonwealth Stadium on Friday night.  The Esks have sped off from the starting line through two weeks of play with entertaining victories, an impressive comeback from last week adding to the excitement of an unexpected start for many of the Eskimo faithful.

With Ricky Ray having found much success against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, he will look to keep his Argos in winning ways as they play host to the Calgary Stampeders. Either, the Argos clearly addressed their week one struggles, or the Riders of week one were just an illusion for their fans.  We imagine the correct answer is somewhere in the middle.

And BC perhaps faces the largest hurdle of the weekend ahead. Not only have they struggled to find wins in their opening weeks of play, with two losses to show for their efforts but now they have to go into Regina and take on those same Saskatchewan Roughriders, a squad that will be very angry over last weeks loss to the Argos and looking to send a strong message of calm to RiderNation.

Below, we'll provide the scoreboard for the week, as well as any items of note from the first week of the brand new season.


July 11-- Winnipeg  34 at Montreal 33   ( 20,348 )  
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )


Video Highlights--  Winnipeg / Montreal
Game Recap-- The Legend Grows: Willy clutch, Bombers shock Als
Stats Pack-- Winnipeg / Montreal

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- A new attitude in Blue

Montreal Gazette-- Als couldn't put the Bombers away when it counted
Winnipeg Free Press-- Amazing 3-0 start for Blue
Winnipeg Sun-- Three cheers for Blue Bombers
Canada.com-- Last-minute Feoli-Gudina TD catch lifts unbeaten Bombers over Alouettes

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July 11-- Ottawa 11 at Edmonton 27 ( 31,521 ) 
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )


Video Highlights-- Ottawa / Edmonton
Game Recap-- Hat-Trick: Bowman scores trio of TD's in Esks win
Stats Pack-- Ottawa / Edmonton

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- Bowman makes quick work of RedBlacks defensive unit

Edmonton Journal-- Bowman's  trio of touchdowns sparks Eskimos' win over RedBlacks
Edmonton Sun-- Hold off on the parade ... for now?
Ottawa Citizen-- RedBlacks come up short again against Eskimos
Ottawa Sun-- RedBlacks drop second game
Canada.com-- Strong fourth quarter over RedBlacks boosts Edmonton's record to 3-0


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July 12-- Calgary 34 at Toronto 15 ( 16,102 ) TSN
CFL.ca Game Preview--  ( video )


Video Highlights-- Calgary / Toronto
Game Recap-- Mitchell's four scores lead Stamps over Rays, Argos
Stats Pack-- Calgary / Toronto

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- 

Calgary Sun-- Calgary Stampeders get it done with big win over Toronto Argonauts
Calgary Herald-- Stamps sail to victory over Argos without Cornish, other stars
Toronto Sun-- Argos no match for Stampeders in CFL action
Toronto Star-- Argos routed by Stampeders 34-15
Canada.com-- Mitchell leads Calgary Stampeders past Toronto Argonauts

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July 12-- BC 26 at Saskatchewan 13 ( N/A 
CFL.ca Game Preview-- ( video )

Video Highlights-- British Columbia / Saskatchewan
Game Recap-- Redemption in Riderville: Harris leads Lions to first win
Stats Pack-- British Columbia / Saskatchewan

Game Reviews:

12 Men-- 

Regina Leader Post-- Darian Durant's thoughts on the loss to B. C.
Vancouver Province-- Harris carries Lions over the hump
Vancouver Sun-- Harris a dynamo in B. C.'s 26-13 win over Roughriders
TSN.com-- Lions top Riders for first win of season 

CFL Players of the Week: Week Two




Bounce Back weeks for Montreal and Toronto helped players from those two teams secure a place in the Gibson's Player of the Week Awards for week two.

Ricky Ray and  his Argonaut offence were back on track in week two play and Ray's efforts in their convincing victory over the defending Grey Cup Champ Roughriders earned the Toronto QB Offensive player of the week honours.

The Alouettes found their groove in week two play and no better example as to how they refocused on the week could be found than with the Defensive Player of the Week John Bowman.  Five tackles and four sacks helped to make him stand out for the selection committee for week two.

The Special Teams player of the week selection, wen to Winnipeg Kick Returner Demond Washington, he brought the Investors Group crowd to their feet with an explosive 96 yard for a touchdown agains the Ottawa Red Blacks.

The Argos were double dippers on Week two selection day, as Andre Durie collected the accolades as Canadian Player of the Week,  proving to be a handy target for Ricky Ray agains the Riders.

The four top selections for Week One can be found below:

Offensive Player of the Week
Ricky Ray, QB, Toronto Argonauts

Defensive Player of the Week
John Bowman, DE, Montreal Alouettes

Special Teams Player of the Week
Demond Washington, KR, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Canadian Player of the Week
Andre Durie, SB, Toronto Argonauts

CFL.ca review of the Players of the Week

Video review of the Players of the Week

Top Ten Plays of Week Number 2

Ultimate Replay for Week Number 2

Power Rankings For Week Number 2

Twelve Men on the Field Archive of the Players of the Week Listings for the 2014 season

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Argos bring Riders back down to earth in convincing fashion

Defending champs sometimes need a reminder that victories are never assured and on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, the Argos delivered a text book review of just that principle; as Ricky Ray picked apart the Rider defence on the way to a most convincing 48-15 victory.

A margin that large was probably not thought likely as the two teams headed into play for week two, the Riders having demolished the Tiger Cats in the monsoon rains of their home opener at Mosaic Field.

Toronto had suffered their own troubles in week one in Winnipeg, as Mike O'Shea found his first victory as a CFL coach provided at the expense of his former employer.

Such was the nature of the week one loss that few gave the Argos much hope of bouncing back against what was thought to be one of the CFL's most dominating squads.

However, by the time the final gun sounded on Saturday, it would be the Argos who appeared to be in a Grey Cup form, the Riders more resembling a team that had forgotten all they had learned in training camp.

For the most part it was a Ricky Ray clinic, with the Argo pivot throwing for 407 yards and three touchdowns on the day, totally confusing the Riders defensive unit which never seemed to get untracked from the opening moments of the day.

The first half belonged to the Argos who took a 17-1 lead into the locker room at half time, leaving Saskatchewan to try and determine what had gone wrong in just one week.

The Argos had built a comfortable 25-8 lead into the third quarter before Darian Durant provided some inclination that maybe the Riders might launch a comeback,  a Durant to Allen passing play pulled the Riders to within ten points by the start of the fourth quarter.

But the Argos defence quickly took to shutting down any further thoughts of a Saskatchewan insurrection on the day, smothering the Rider attack for the remainder of the game.

Ray would capitalize on his defensive units work, by taking the Riders down the field in just six plays late in the fourth, the finishing touch on the drive a TD pass to Mike Bradwell, pushing the Argo lead to 34-15 with time running down.

Shortly after that the Argos once again chewed up yardage against the Riders defensive team, another impressive drive that culminated in a Curtis Steele ramble into the end zone, a 41- 15 lead surely destined to be the final score.

But, with the Riders seeking points in a fast and furious fashion, Darian Durant would provide Toronto with one more scoring opportunity on the day, a long toss into the Argo defensive backfield would be returned by Antwaun Molden who took Durant's pass some 108 yards for the final scoring play for the Double Blue.

The win was a welcome bit of news for a Toronto squad that was still smarting from their week one road loss, for the Riders, the rather one sided defeat provides for a bit of work for a coaching staff that at least will no longer have to concern themselves with the prospect of over-confidence for the remainder of the season.

Some reviews of Saturday's game can be found below.


Toronto Sun-- Argos win big over Saskatchewan Roughriders
Toronto Star-- Argonauts crush Roughriders in home opener
Regina Leader Post-- Riders looked complacent and unprepared in face of Argos
Canada.com-- Veteran Ricky Ray leads Argos to surprisingly one-sided win over Roughriders 
CBC-- Ricky Ray, Argonauts torch Roughriders in home opener




Eskimos hold off last second TiCat charge to secure home opener win

It was as wild a finish as the CFL can provide, built on a game of much sloppy ball handling, far too many turnovers and a controversial hit that sent the visiting quarterback to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.

The game while offering up much in entertainment, would clearly be the thing to make any coach (those that still have hair) reach for the Grecian formula...

Sloppiness was indeed the word on the day, as both the Cats and the Eskimos managed to find ways to lose the ball and provide each other ample opportunity to capitalize on each others mistakes.

Penalties played a role as well in the outcome, with Edmonton in particular tempting fate by accumulating some 102 yards in penalties, with the referees reaching for their flags eleven times by games end.

For much of the early going it appeared that Kent Austin's Tiger Cats were going to bring the Eskimos down to earth after their season opening victory over the BC Lions, however things it would seem will not come easy for the Cats this year.

Indications that the night might turn against Hamilton came when Zach Collaros was forced from the game at the mid point of the second quarter, after taking a nasty hit from the Eskimos Odell Willis.

One which did not receive a flag from the officials, but made for a flash of anger from head coach Kent Austin and provided for much discussion for the remainder of the night on the legality of the shot.

The theme of inconsistency on referee calls would make for much of that conversation while fans weighed in on the theme through twitter and watched to see if Jeremiah Masoli could rally the Cats offence to the finish line on the night.

And while Masoli had his moments he also provided for two key interceptions that allowed Edmonton to begin their comeback, a rolling wave of points that allowed the Eskimos to mount one of the CFL's famous comebacks, with Hamilton watching a 10 point lead vanish as Edmonton made their push.

The improbable Edmonton comeback, provided the Esks placekicker Grant Shaw with an opportunity for redemption late in the game, following some high profile misses in the fourth quarter. When the points were needed the most however, Shaw found his range in the final two minutes putting two consecutive three pointers up to push the Esks into the lead.

The Eskimos took the game to the final minutes holding to their 28-24 lead, leaving the Tiger Cats to launch a last minute drive down the field, with Dan Lefevour at the helm and giving indications that he was going to bring the victory home for the Cats.

However, despite moving the ball impressively and setting up shop on the Edmonton five yard line, Lefevour and the Cats could not make make the Eskimo defence bend, with Edmonton stopping the Cats on the goal line on the final play of the game.

The 28-24 Eskimo lead would turn into the final score on the night and while the Cats probably deserved a victory on perseverance alone, they were denied owing to the Esks holding their defensive line in the dying seconds of the game.

Both teams face some major issues to deal with following week two action, with a string of injuries from the night looking to make things even more complicated for both head coaches as they try to patch up their players and their lineup to fill in the gaps.

Instead of two teams leaving Commonwealth with 1 and 1 records after two weeks of play, the Cats now remain winless and the Eskimos find themselves holders of a title they haven't heard much of late, that of undefeated on the year so far.

Some reviews of the to the wire finish can be found below.


Edmonton Sun-- Eskimos salvage sloppy home-opener by pulling out late win against Tiger-Cats
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos defence turns game around in fourth quarter against Tiger-Cats
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats blow 10 point fourth quarter lead, lose 28-24 to Esks

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Fines and Misdemeanors: The CFL's Enforcement Branch



A running archive on suspensions, fines and other notes from the league office on the theme of punishment for team offences in the 2014 season.

Week Two

Notes from the CFL Head Office

July 7-- Ottawa-Jerrell Gavins, maximum fine for dangerous hit.
July 7-- Edmonton-- Odell Willis, fined for delivering a high hit.

Week One

Notes from the CFL Head Office

July 3 -- Montreal-- Kyries Hebert, maximum fine for illegal and dangerous hit.
July 3-- Hamilton-- Craig Butler, fined for using his helmet to deliver a blow to opponent's helmet.
July 3-- Calgary-- Corey Mace, fined for delivering a punch.
July 3-- Saskatchewan-- Rob Bagg, fined for delivering a punch


Repeat Offenders:

None to report at this time


Team Totals:

Total Fines and/or Suspensions -- 6

Montreal -- 1
Ottawa -- 1
Toronto -- 0
Hamilton -- 1
Winnipeg -- 0
Saskatchewan -- 1
Edmonton -- 1
Calgary -- 1
British Columbia -- 0

More Meow, than a roar for Lions over two weeks...

The good news for BC Lions fans, the start of the CFL season, rarely resembles the finishing order (in most cases anyways), the bad news, the start for 2014 isn't going according to plan and answers are proving hard to find.

What looked like a solid approach heading into the 2014 CFL season is turning into a bit of a short term (he hopes) nightmare for head coach Mike Benevides.

The alarm bells began to chirp a bit during the final quarter of the Lions season debut last week, as the Edmonton Eskimos mounted a late game charge to hand British Columbia their first loss of the season. A late game collapse that caught many of the Lions loyal collection of fans by surprise.

The volume of those bells is now significantly louder following game number two.

The Lions, who were rattled by their opening loss appeared ready to reverse their fortunes as they headed into Montreal for week two.

The Als who provided for their own level of self destruction last week resembled anything but a squad ready to provide a challenge to a Lions squad that should have been angry and hungry.

Appearances as they say can be deceiving, instead, Montreal provided for much of the entertainment on the night spurred on by an impressive defensive and offensive punch for most of the night.

Chip Cox started the Montreal momentum, after taking a lateral from lineman Scott Paxson, who having recovered a tipped Kevin Glenn pass, had the good sense  to tossed the ball over to Cox who dashed for the first score of the night.

The defensive play an early game breaker and one which set the tone of the Als defensive domination for the game.

On offence, it was an impressive bounce back game for QB Troy Smith, the Als pivot, who like Cox is a former Ohio State Buckeye, had struggled a fair bit in Calgary last week, but appears to have set to studying in the week since, pacing the Alouettes to a convincing 24-9 victory over the now win less Lions.

Smith had a much better statistical review on the night, completing 17 of 29 passes for 187 yards, relying on the legs of Brandon Whitaker for yardage and scoring, with Whitaker taking the ball into the Lions end zone in the first quarter, the 14-0 lead a definite reversal of output from the week one effort.

Smith himself also contributed to the rushing totals, taking the ball for a ramble six times on the night, collecting 55 yards, serving to keep the Lions defensive unit off balance for much of the evening.

Things just kept rolling for the Als from there, Smith had a nice mixture of plays and made good use of much of his offensive corps on the way to victory.  The key to their game plan a strong defensive performance that just owned the Lions Offensive line, the latter a now cobbled together unit hoping for speedy recovery from its starters.

The O line is clearly one of the biggest concerns for the Lions coaching staff, they could not provide enough protection on the night to allow Kevin Glenn the time to wait out pass patterns or seek out secondary receivers.

For much of the night, Glenn was either on the run, on the ground or chasing down intercepted passes, the second week in a row where he has had his troubles, though not all of them of his own creation.

Still, the arrival of Glenn to the Lions camp was seen at the time as another master stroke from Lions GM Wally Buono. The experience and confidence that Glenn brings to the Lions was thought to be just the right mix for the team and his arrival a timely one as Travis Lulay went on extended medical leave owing to injury.

Two games in however things aren't going quite as expected.

Three questions are perhaps now at the top of the list for Lions fans, will Lulay return at full steam, can he remain healthy and in the shorter term, will Kevin Glenn find his groove as a Lions QB before the losses start to pile up.

The answer to all three would seem to be based on how the Lions renovate their Offensive line, a definite work in progress that has had to put together on short notice owing to injuries and departures.

Whichever QB takes to the field needs to know that he has the protection required to at least keep the ball moving down the field,  two and outs, rushed passes and the theme of interceptions through two weeks is a clear indication as to where the Lions key struggles are at the moment.

In two weeks of play the Lions starting quarterback has throw six interceptions, turnovers that have offered up opportunity and momentum to opposing teams at key points in each game.

Few teams can recover from the self inflicted wounds that the Lions have offered up in their first two weeks, items of concern that the Lions coaching staff will be working hard to reverse before a slide, turns into an avalanche.

For the Alouettes, week two as early as it is in a lengthy CFL season, could have been just what the team needed. The doubts of their week one shellacking by the Stamps could have festered had they not provided the push back that they did in week two.

And while there are no doubt still things that need to be worked on, coach Tom Higgins probably found his teams work ethic and attention to detail more than satisfactory in their home opener.

Montreal made the necessary adjustments to their game in the lead up to their week two game, that is a theme that Mike Benevides and the Lions will have to work on as they look to week three and the need to get things back on track before bad habits become major obstacles to the winning side of the standings tables.

Some of the reviews of the Lions and Als can be found below:


Montreal Gazette-- Defence stands tall as Alouettes win their home opener
Vancouver Sun -- Alouettes overwhelm Lions with 24-9 win
Vancouver Province -- Latest Lions loss highlights QB problems
24 Hours -- Alouettes first team in East with victory
CBC-- Alouettes tame Lions for 1st win of season

RedBlacks make for quite the introduction; Bombers for quite the finish!

The answer to your CFL trivia questions in the years to come will be Chevon Walker...

His will be the name of fame from the CFL debut of the team from the nation's capital,  with the RedBlacks and Walker not wasting any time introducing themselves to the TSN audience on Thursday night.

As Walker, now in his third year of CFL play (Thank you Hamilton)  scampered in for the first Touchdown for the reborn CFL franchise but four minutes into the first quarter.

That set the tone for the Ottawa debut, though by the time the final whistle would blow, the topic of discussion would be the comeback of the now undefeated Blue Bombers, something not heard in Winnipeg in  a long, long time.

For a bit there however, it appeared that the Ottawa squad was going to make for a rather historic start to their CFL return.

Following the opening ramble by Walker, Ottawa quickly followed that TD run with a display of the aerial game to come, with Henry Burris finding Dobson Collins near the Bombers ten yard line.

The two former TiCats ( by the way, thanks again Hamilton) combining for the RedBlacks second major on the night as Collins hoofed it into the end zone with eight minutes still remaining in the first quarter.

The Bombers finally found their bearings shortly after that second Ottawa score, with a solid drive engineered by Drew Willy, leading to the Bombers answer to one of the Ottawa TD's as Nic Grigsby ran the ball into the endzone from five yards out.

The opening half of football, had its share of promising trends and worrisome errors as players from both teams continued to shake some of the off season (in the case of the RedBlacks non season) cobwebs from their play.

We won't however count Bombers running back Nic Grigsby among that group. Grigsby, who arrived
in the Bombers camp as a free agent, appeared to be in mid season form, as the Bomber rookie galloped for three TD's and the bulk of the Bombers rushing yardage on the way to the Bombers 36 to 28 victory.

The Bombers turned the game their way in the final quarter, chipping away at the RedBlacks lead, game time experience for many of the Blue the deciding factor as they remained calm and focused to the task at hand.

In particular, it was a special teams effort that pushed Winnipeg towards the final stages of their comeback, a spectacular fourth quarter kick off return by Demond Washington rattled the RedBlacks, as Washington went 96 yards to put six on the board.

The conversion bringing the Bombers to within two and setting the stage for Mr. Grigsby who would prove to be the topic of the post game radio show.

Rick Campbell can find many things to like about his RedBlacks debut, for the first three quarters of play they looked anything that would resemble an expansion team (and credit the CFL for their forward thinking on that theme) the list of experienced players now wearing Red and Black played a solid game, providing a measure of confidence for those taking to the field for the first time.

For some the Ottawa experience is one more chance to step up their game and prove some previous teams wrong, for others its a continuing journey in the CFL and a chance to build something from the ground up.

There is still work to be done obviously, losing a game that most likely you should have won is a hard lesson, but a valuable teaching moment for Campbell and his staff.

The pieces are there however and despite a hard loss, the fans who have been waiting for a CFL return will like what they see in their team, more than competitive, they have shown that they can be dangerous, all they need is a bit of consistency to make some noise in their debut season.

Over on the home side of the field from Friday, the Winnipeg faithful are talking football again and talking about winning football, something that they haven't had opportunity to do much in recent years.

Mike O'Shea is proving to be just the right fit for this Bombers team, his balance of enthusiasm and CFL experience is making the Bombers much more than competitive, the comeback of Friday indicative of a team that doesn't get rattled, stays true to the message from the coach and finds a way to execute it at the right time.

Compared to how things looked for Winnipeg at the end of last season, 2014 is indeed a case of turning the page and looking to the future, after two games it's a fairly positive future that Bomber fans can be looking for.

Some reviews of Thursday's week two opener can be found below:


Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers roar back to beat RedBlacks for first winning streak in three years
Winnipeg Free Press-- Won hard and put away wet
Ottawa Sun-- RedBlacks put up points early before losing first game to Blue Bombers
Ottawa Citizen-- RedBlacks lose but win fans over
CBC-- Nic Grigsby, Blue Bombers spoil RedBlack's debut