CFL

CFL SEASON CATCH UP: WEEK 8

Our CFL season catch up has reached week 8 and we are fast approaching double figures for the season. How time flies!

Week 8 began with Toronto hosting the West-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BMO Field. The Argos were back from a three-week road trip across Western Canada.

On the same night Saskatchewan hosted the East-leading Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The third game of the week saw the Montreal Alouettes host the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Montreal, coming off a bye were looking to extend a three-game win streak. Ottawa were hoping to snap a four-game losing streak while evening its season series with the Alouettes.

The final match-up of week 8 saw the first of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ games this season as Edmonton traveled to take on the Calgary Stampeders.

CFL SEASON WEEK 8 GAMES

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

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 27 at Toronto Argonauts 28

The comeback was as unlikely as it was welcome for Argos fans after seeing their team fall 20-0 behind early on. Image from tsn.ca

Going into this one, Toronto were looking to avoid an 0-7 start. A record they last achieved as far back as 1981. The upset victory meant they did not have to live with those comparisons.

Winnipeg were expected to bounce back in this one, and at 20-0 up seemed in control. Their usual combination of safe play from Matt Nichols, running the O thorough Andrew Harris and having the D and Special teams do their thing was proving successful.

Somehow the Argos clawed their way back and tied the game in the third quarter. Even then, Winnipeg pulled away again. A 7 yard touchdown pass and a strip sack left Argos fans feeling like a familiar result was on the way.

Instead, Toronto scored a vital single and were able to drive down the field for the winning score in the last 2 minutes.

Standout performances for Toronto came from a variety of sources. Under pressure QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson went 37 of 49 for 343 yards and 3 TD’s. Veteran receiver SJ Green had 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown, and return specialist Chris Rainey had 10 kick returns totaling 229 yards.

A shout-out should go to 6’6″ 305lb OL Jamal Campbell, who had a one yard TD reception. There are few plays more fun than when the big men get to score.

Hamilton tiger-Cats 19 at Saskatchewan Roughriders 24

Saskatchewan won a see-saw contest to move to 4-3 and nearer to contention in the West. Image from cfl.ca

Following the injury to Ti-Cats starter Jeremiah Masoli only last week, this one was always going to be intriguing. Saskatchewan’s win meant both Division leaders lost in the opening games of the weekend.

Despite being picked off early in the contest, stand-in QB Dane Evans was a competent game manager on the whole for Hamilton. He completed 65% of his passes for 196 yards and a touchdowns as well as adding 4 carries for 35 yards.

His opposite number, Cody Fajardo, had a great game for the green and white. With the recent trade of Zach Collaros to Toronto, Fajardo finds himself as the undisputed main man now in Saskatchewan.

Apart from a set back against Calgary he has been pretty consistent under centre this year. This game was no exception, as Fajardo finished 25 of 31 for 313 yards and added 9 carries for 56 yards including scrambling for the winning score.

This win was the first by the Riders over a team with a winning record this season. Saskatchewan’s previous wins were over either the B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts, both of whom are 1-6. Saskatchewan has won four of five games since beginning the CFL season 0-2, including a Week 1 loss in Hamilton against the Ticats.

Ottawa REDBLACKS 30 at Montreal Alouettes 27

Ottawa player celebrate a crucial victory. Image from cfl.ca

This was a crucial win for Ottawa as they avoided a 5 game skid. By the same token it was just what Montreal didn’t want, bringing to an end as it did their 3 game winning streak.

This one should go in the books as the DeVonte Dedmon game as the receiver had a record setting day on special teams.

Dedmon set a franchise record with 377 combined return yards. Those numbers included two huge momentum shifting plays. Firstly an 111-yard kickoff return touchdown, and also a 95-yard punt return touchdown. The latter slightly defied belief as he looked to have been tackled or about to be brought down no end of times on the return.

If it hadn’t been for the special teams Ottawa would have been out of the game. Montreal’s defence had an interception and a fumble in the first quarter, and a pair of rushing touchdowns from Vernon Adams Jr. gave the Als an edge that was uprooted by the kickoff return TD.

As it was the teams went in just a field goal apart going into the 4th quarter and ended regulation tied.

Once again Ottawa had their special teams to thank. Accuracy personified, Lewis Ward kicked Field Goals of 46 and 30 yards in the 4th quarter before kicking the winner from the 14 yard line in overtime. In the process he extended his pro football record streak to an astonishing 67 consecutive field goals made.

Edmonton Eskimos 18 at Calgary Stampeders 24

Nick Arbuckle may not have had an explosive game but he led the Stamps to another win. Image from cfl.ca

The first of the three game Battle of Alberta series was taken by Calgary at their home stadium.

Calgary at 5-2 find themselves in familiar territory atop the West Division after this win. They are now 56-11 since the start of the 2012 season at home.

It is impressive that they are finding a way to win but all the more so because they are doing it without their 2018 MOP quarterback too.

The first half of the Week 8 finale was a stop-start affair as a flurry of flags were thrown. It was also a half that saw both defences on top – in fact Edmonton failed to score before the half and went in trailing 9-0.

Calgary kicker Rene Paredes, was appearing in his 150th game for the club and was responsible for all of their points up until the half. However Edmonton leveled things up after the break with a safety and an 83 yard scoring bomb from Trevor Harris to Ricky Collins.

Special teams have had a huge part to play in games this season and this was no exception. The Stamps retook the lead with a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown from Terry Williams. This is the 8th kickoff return touchdown we’ve seen from one team or another this season, already a new CFL record!

Both teams would later benefit from fumbles by their opponents on special teams but although Edmonton made it a three-point game with a field goal late in the 4th, Paredes hit on his fourth field goal of the game to seal the victory for Calgary.

THE STANDINGS

Following week 8 of the CFL season the inter-Divisional standings are now led by the West by a combined 10-7 margin.

Toronto fans are happy as they have their first win of the season and no team remains winless now.

Calgary sit atop the East at 5-2 with Winnipeg alongside them. Meanwhile over in the East Hamilton still lead at 5-2, and thanks to Ottawa beating Montreal they have a 2 game lead over their nearest rivals.

Looking Ahead

Week 9 of the CFL season should offer another round of fascinating competition for fans to enjoy.

Attention will turn to the contest between Calgary and Winnipeg that kicks off the weekend. The winner will have sole possession of first place in the West.

Saskatchewan at Montreal should be a fascinating encounter. Although the Als lost this last weekend both teams are on the rise and will want to keep it that way.

Ottawa face the daunting challenge of going into Edmonton and facing an Esks team desperate to bounce back. Neither team can afford to lose as neither will want to lose ground in their division.

Finally, after a bye week the BC Lions will be looking to rise up from their terrible 1-6 start away at Hamilton. The Ti-Cats will be without their starting QB, but their D-line will be excited to face what has so far been porous protection from the Lions.

Banner image: REDBLACKS franchise record setting return man DeVonte Dedmon. Image from 3Downnation.

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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