Our CFL season catch up has reached week 7 and a real division between the teams is starting to show.
BC, Toronto and Ottawa are a combined 3-16 and you feel are already out of any later season story-lines. You never know, teams have made miraculous recoveries before but you do sense the stars will have to align for their fans not to be thinking about next year already.
It is an extremely rare thing to see a perfect season in pro football. After the East leading Ti-Cats took down the West leading Bombers the 2019 CFL season won’t be adding to that list. Seven weeks in and no perfect teams remain.
At the other end of the spectrum the Argos are stuck at 0-6 and their fans will want to see them break that duck. Imperfect perfection may be difficult to achieve but it is not an ‘exclusive club’ any fan would want their team to join.
CFL Season WEEK 7 GAMES
This week saw another full slate of games. Once again we were treated to some intriguing action. The Thursday night double header saw a close game and a blowout.
The remaining games saw the eagerly anticipated Hamilton, Winnipeg clash that some described as a Grey Cup preview going into the weekend. The action was completed with the BC, Saskatchewan rematch in their home and home series.
Calgary Stampeders 17 at Ottawa REDBLACKS 16
Things always seem to be close in games between these two teams. The franchises have met 12 times since the REDBLACKS started play in 2014. In that time six of those games have been decided in the final three minutes and two ended in ties.
They have played each other twice in the Grey Cup and have a win each to show for it. Their Week 1 meeting in Calgary was almost to be expected, as Ottawa upended the defending Grey Cup champions 32-28.
Even since that game their teams have undergone major changes. Not least being led by different quarterbacks. Yet the traditional close contest prevailed. The Stamps won on a late Rene Paredes field goal and Ottawa are on their first 4 game losing streak since their inaugural season.
The game hinged on an inexplicable coaching call. With Ottawa ahead by four with just over a minute to go in the game they opted to take a safety. This allowed Calgary to be within 2 and ultimately get the win on a three pointer.
Ottawa HC Rick Campbell knows more about football than most of us ever will, but that one was a head scratcher.
Lewis Ward remains a bright spot for Ottawa as he is on an incredible streak. He hit all three attempts including a 53 yarder. Ward now has hit a ridiculous 64 consecutive regular season Field Goals and gone 21-of-21 from 40-plus yards during that run!
Toronto Argonauts 0 at Edmonton Eskimos 26
Another week another defeat for Toronto. This one must particularly have stung as it is their first shutout defeat since 2009. It was the first time Edmonton have shut any body out in five years too.
This 26-0 Edmonton victory came in front of the biggest crowd of the season with 30,368 witnesses on hand at The Brick Field.
The Esks had lost two of their past three games and not scored in either defeat. Here though they had 426 yards of net offence and dominated the play clock with 38 minutes and 15 seconds of possession compared to Toronto’s 21:45.
The score could have been more except Edmonton wasted some chances. One instance of this was when second-year running back Shaq Cooper lost a fumble at the Toronto one-yard line to end the first series.
However, standing in for the injured C J Gable he recovered from this and finished with 28 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown as well 5 catches for 48 yards.
Toronto took McLeod Bethel-Thompson out of the game after a terrible first half. He had gone 5-of-13 for 83 yards and one interception while fumbling once. His replacement Dakota Prukop had never previously attempted a pass in a CFL game. 8 of 13 for 68 yards and 2 interceptions offered no discernible improvement.
The Argos now have defeats by 26, 27, 25 and 50 point margins in the books this CFL season. They have scored 75 points all season. In fact over a quarter of those points (28%) came in one game too. You sense something has to give in this organisation – and soon.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 15 at Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23
This eagerly anticipated clash between Divisions leaders saw Hamilton come away as winners but at a major cost.
Hamilton fans may have enjoyed the win but they will be busy recalculating their teams chances now in the wake of the departure of one of their star payers.
A strong defensive performance and great special teams saw Hamilton take the win and register their fourth consecutive home win.
23,512 fans were on hand at Tim Hortons Field on Friday night and saw the Blue Bombers put in an uncharacteristically careless performance.
The Bombers turned the ball over seven times. They had three interceptions, three fumbles and a turnover on downs to end the game. It’s an old adage in football that if you win the turnover battle you win the game and it held true here.
Matt Nichols had entered the game on a streak of 19 straight completions, but his first pass attempt was dropped.
His next attempt was intercepted and returned to the one-yard line, helping give Hamilton a 14-0 just seven minutes into the game. That really st the tone. Although Masoli was later injured the Ti-Cats held firm.
Saskatchewan Roughriders 45 at BC Lions 18
Round 2 of this home and home clash saw the Riders dominate in BC. In fact according to the CFL football operations account on Twitter, “The Saskatchewan Roughriders have scored a cycle” in this game.
I hadn’t heard of this before but apparently ‘the cycle’ is a team scoring a touchdown, a field goal, a rouge, a one point convert, a two point conversion and a safety all in the same game.
The Riders were powered by off-season acquisition RB William Powell who carried the ball 21 times for 146 yards and scored 3 touchdowns.
Last week we talked about better QB protection being a necessity in BC. The Riders’ D forcing numerous two-and-outs and recording four sacks while holding the Lions to just 110 combined rushing and passing yards doens’t do much to change that perception!
One bright spot for BC was return man Ryan Lankford who had a 118 yard touchdown return on a missed field goal and an 89-yard kickoff return touchdown.
B.C. has now lost the season series with two West Division opponents, both Edmonton and Saskatchewan. The Lions will be happy to take a breather next week and doubtless happy to see the back of Saskatchewan for now.
Following week 7 of the CFL season the West Division has extended its inter-divisional record over the East to a 9-6 lead.
As noted above there is real separation now between the teams at the bottom and those moving away from them.
Winnipeg remain atop the West with a 5-1 record, whilst Hamilton top the East also at 5-1. However, Montreal the only team not playing this week, may feel their standing has increased in the East where Ottawa and Toronto are a combined 2-10, and Hamilton must recover from Masoli’s injury.
Week 8 of the CFL season should see plenty of intriguing action. Winnipeg will expect to return to winning ways against Toronto and Saskatchewan will look to go above .500 against Hamilton.
Montreal and Ottawa could be a pivotal game in the East and the first Battle of Alberta game will see Edmonton and Calgary face off for the first time this season.
Banner image from cfl.ca