The CFL season is well and truly in full swing. It barely seems a moment since week 1 burst upon us and already it is time to review the 5th week of the 2019 season.
The Week began with Edmonton laying down a marker against a struggling BC team. It ended with Hamilton breaking a hoodoo against Calgary. There was plenty of action to look back on in between too.
WEEK 4 GAMES
This week saw a full slate of games and some great action. The last game of the weekend was the closest but there was plenty going on in the others.
It was a week once again for big, explosive plays and some fabulous special teams action.
Edmonton Eskimos 33 at BC Lions 6
The Eskimos had a chance to win their CFL season series with the BC Lions and the took it with ease. They are 2-0 against the Lions with a 72-19 points differential.
Following their second meeting of the season, these two teams appear to be moving in very different directions. The Esks improved to a 3-1 record while the Lions dropped to 1-4, languishing at the basement of the West Division.
A key to Edmonton’s success so far has been Trevor Harris‘ consistency. Over 4 games he has 8 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
This game was no exception as he finished 22 of 28 for 276 yards with 2 TD’s. The very model of consistent efficiency.
The game itself was dominated by D in the first half as the Esks went into the break with a 16-3 advantage.
A key play came in the third quarter as Natey Adjei took a short pass from Harris down the sideline for a 77-yard touchdown.
For the second week in succession the Lions must again face a rested team coming off a bye week next week. Their match-up with Saskatchewan is already looking like a must win match-up.
Toronto Argonauts 21 at Winnipeg Blue Bombers 48
Diametrically opposed records of 0-3 and 3-0 going in suggested Toronto had little chance heading into this one. In fact, since 1976 it has only happened once when the 0-3 Roughriders overcame the 3-0 Alouettes in the 2011 season.
There was to be no upset to add to those slender records here either. Winnipeg have been the team to beat and now standing at 4-0 they remain so.
Special teams have been a thorn in the side of the Argos, so giving up 2 big returns including a touchdown won’t have soothed any ills there.
Perhaps Toronto coaches would like to have taken back their option to defer the opening kickoff? Especially when Lucky Whitehead returned it 104 yards for a touchdown!
The Bombers have been a big play team so far this season. So it was no surprise to see Charles Nelson add an 81 yard punt return to set up a short yardage touchdown.
Ultra-reliable Blue Bombers’ running back Andrew Harris gained 116 yards on 14 carries. This took his CFL career tally over 8,000 yards.
One positive note for Toronto was seeing the kind of return they were hoping for from marquee off-season signing Derel Walker. He hauled in 9 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Walker’s numbers included 31 and 44 yard touchdowns. Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson passed for a career-high 388 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. His other being a 55-yard strike to receiver Armanti Edwards.
Those deep strikes gave Toronto fans something to cheer about. Now if they could just sort out their special teams and rediscover their running game!
Montreal Alouettes 36 at Ottawa REDBLACKS 19
Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns as the Montreal Alouettes defeated the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Adams also ran for a pair of TDs to lead Montreal (2-2), while completing 23-of-30 passes.
Dominique Davis was 23-of-37 passing for 268 yards for the Redblacks (2-2) and scored on a four-yard run with less than five minutes to play. But there was to be no dramatic late comeback.
Adams, now 5-2 as a starter and the Alouettes standing at 2-2 may have surprised a few people. From apparent pre-season disarray they now look competitive in the East.
Als running back William Stanback followed a 200 yard game with another strong performance garnering 100 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Lewis Ward made both of his field goal attempts for Ottawa. Meaning he continued to extend his pro football record for consecutive regular season field goals.
Including a 50-yarder in this game he has now hit on 61 consecutive field goals in the CFL regular season.
Calgary Stampeders 23 at Hamilton Tiger Cats 30
This was a huge win for Hamilton. They overcame some recent history to lay down a marker this season.
With the win, Hamilton (4-1) snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Stampeders (2-2) that included the 2014 Grey Cup.
This was also their first home victory over the Stamps since a 24-17 decision in the September of the 2009 season. Not to mention the first win quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has recorded against the Stamps.
This was another game where special teams proved the difference. Hamilton scored a pair of special teams touchdowns in the opening half.
Banks was the star of the game finishing with three touchdowns. He had nine catches for 86 yards, a two-point convert and the two receiving scores to go alongside his return touchdown.
Stand in Stamps quarterback Nick Arbuckle got his second straight start and continued to look the part. He hit on 24 of 40 passes for 368 yards.
Wide Receiver Reggie Begelton also had a big game for Calgary. He had eight catches for 119 yards to go along with a six-yard rushing touchdown and 92 kickoff return yards.
Following week 5 the West holds a slender 5-4 lead in the inter-division standings.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers remain the current class of the CFL at 4-0. At the other end of the spectrum only one winless team remains, the 0-4 Argonauts.
It may be early to think about this, but as it stands there would be no crossover team in the playoffs. A long season awaits however so let’s see how that plays out.
Week 6 offers a full slate of action once more, with just Hamilton sitting it out on a bye.
The Stamps will look to get back on track at home to the winless Argos. Whilst Ottawa face the daunting prospect of a trip to red hot Winnipeg.
In the other games, Edmonton travel to a fast improving Montreal while BC and Saskatchewan will be looking to ignite their season against each other.
Banner image: Speedy B had himself a day. Image from cfl.ca