CFL

CFL SEASON CATCH UP: WEEK 6

Can we really be six weeks into the CFL season already? Yes we can! Six weeks is a big enough sample size for us to really know where the teams stand in relation to each other too.

WEEK 6 GAMES

This week saw another full slate of games. Once again we were treated to some fantastic action.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continue to be the class of the league. Ottawa fans will just want to banish this one to memory as soon as possible.

Calgary has long been associated with a strong D, and it was this that came to the fore again this week. Meanwhile the Argos are still seeking their first W of 2019.

Montreal and Saskatchewan both snapped losing streaks to their respective opponents and we are seeing the divisional standings begin to settle.

Toronto Argonauts 16 at Calgary Stampeders 26

The Stamps D was to the fore in leading Calgary to victory. Image from cfl.ca

Things started promisingly for Toronto but by the end they remained winless. They are stuck at 0-5 whilst the Stamps improved to 3-2.

23,000+ fans were ‘treated’ to an error prone game from two teams desperate for the win. The game had 7 total interceptions, fumbles, a mass of penalties and a Stamps D that made the difference.

For that D, Cory Greenwood led the way with one interception, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and five tackles. Meanwhile, DB Brandon Smith set things going early by picking off McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

On the other side of the ball Juwan Brescacin was the star hauling in two touchdown catches.

Special teams have been an issue all season for Toronto. This was no exceptions as a pivotal momentum shift in favour of Calgary was accentuated when Fraser Sopik blocked a punt attempt by the Argos.

Ottawa REDBLACKS 1 at Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31

Winnipeg continue to be the most complete team in the league. Image from cfl.ca

The Blue Bombers continue to impress as the only unbeaten team in the league.

Their 5-0 start is the best opening to a season since 1960 for Winnipeg. In fact it is the third-best start to a season in franchise history. The 1960 team opened 10-0 and the 1939 squad went 8-0.

This team will no doubt wish to emulate the 1939 squad who went on to lift the Grey Cup.

The Bombers dominated against Ottawa in front of 25,350 fans at a rocking IG Field. In the Midst of it all was QB Matt Nichols who finished 25 of 29 for 295 yards and two touchdown passes. Not to mention setting a franchise record by completing 19 consecutive passes to surpass the record of 16 set in 1981 by Dieter Brock.

Andrew Harris put up a combined 131 yards (63 rushing, 68 receiving) and pulled in his third receiving TD, matching his total from a year ago.

But it was the D that actually got things going with a pick six. Winston Rose inspired the Bombers with a 71-yard interception return for a touchdown to open the scoring.

In fact, the REDBLACKS managed just 175 yards net offence, including 102 yards through the air. Ottawa starter Jonathon Jennings was just six of 15 for 45 yards before being taken out of the game.

Worth noting here is the Canadian Football League record for consecutive completions is 23, set by Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli in a game against Edmonton in 2016. Ironically, Nichols will carry his streak of 19 into next week’s game in Hamilton.

Edmonton Eskimos 10 at Montreal Alouettes 20

Montreal are on their first 3 game winning streak since 2016. Image from cfl.ca

This was a huge win for Montreal. Only last week, the Ti-Cats snapped a 15 game losing streak to Calgary to emphasise their legitimacy.

Now the Als have done something similar. Their win snapped an 11 game losing streak to Edmonton. More than that, it highlighted their 3 game win streak as no fluke and elevated them to contender in the East Division.

Last time Montreal won three in a row was during the last few games of the 2016 season. As with this run, Vernon Adams Jr was behind centre then too.

Adams was at the heart of much that went well for the Als. He threw for 191 yards and a touchdown to receiver Jake Wieneke. As well as racking up 44 rushing yards on seven carries and hauling in a 21-yard touchdown catch from Eugene Lewis on a trick play.

Esks QB Trevor Harris completed 29 of 43 passes for 271 yards but was intercepted twice in the loss.

BC Lions 25 at Saskatchewan Roughriders 38

Saskatchewan won the first of a vital home and home series against BC. Image from Kelowna Capital News

Yet another streak snapped. The Lions had won 7 straight against Saskatchewan going into this one, but it was the Riders who came out on top at home.

If the Lions want to turn things around they are going to have to protect the QB better. Their off-season investment in Mike Reilly is not paying the dividends they had hoped so far.

This is because he isn’t getting the protection he needs. In this game, Charleston Hughes added to his 100+ sack career stats, (now 122), in style. Hughes sacked the B.C. quarterback three times and stripped him of the ball twice. He also had 10 tackles. Reilly has been sacked a CFL-high 21 times this season.

The highlight play of the game was a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from Marcus Thigpen that gave the Riders a one-point lead at half-time.

Riders QB Cody Fajardo bounced back from a poor outing last time out to finish with 17 completions on 23 pass attempts for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 53 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

Despite being constantly under pressure, Mike Reilly completed 14 consecutive passes at one point in the game. Reilly finished 31 of 40 for 346 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the loss.

THE STANDINGS

Following week 6 we can see real separation between the 5-0 Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the rest of the West Division. At 3-2 both Calgary and Edmonton are currently their closest rivals.

Many predicted success for Hamilton this season so to see them leading the East at 4-1 may not be that surprising. However few were picking Montreal to do well so they and their fans must be reveling in their 3-2 start.

After going 2-1 this week the inter-divisional standings now stand at 7-5 in favour of the West Division.

Looking ahead

Week 7 offers another intriguing slate of games. Ottawa and Calgary always seem to run each other close and REDBLACKS fans will be desperate to see their team bounce back at home.

Toronto will head into Edmonton seeking their first win. They still haven’t managed to get all three phases going at once and the Esks will be prohibitive favourites for this one.

The banner match-up will be the 5-0 Blue Bombers going into Hamilton to take on a bye-week rested 4-1 Hamilton team. This one could really tell us something about both teams’ championship chances this season.

BC will look to avenge their defeat to Saskatchewan in the reverse match of their home and home series. This will be the first time in 3 weeks the Lions are not facing a bye-week rested team.

Banner image: The Alouettes celebrate a little trickery. Image from tsn.ca

Article written by:

Chris Lawton joined the NFLGirlUK.com team in 2017 and has been writing about the CFL ever since. He originally started following the NFL with the 'first wave' of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980's. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL from the inception of Ninety-Nine Yards. You can find him on twitter as @CFLfanUK

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