It is time for our first CFL season catch up of 2019. Time to embrace the return of pro football.
It is that time of year again, when football comes back into our lives and brightens our weekends. Since the AAF abruptly ended in week 7, and another spring league bit the dust we are returning to a familiar friend.
The CFL has survived many adaptations and kept its place in the calendar for many a year. 2019 is officially the 62nd year of the league, although football in Canada has been around much longer than that.
Week 1 Games
Week 1 saw some fascinating games from the kickoff classic in Hamilton to a Sunday night West coast battle in BC.
Saskatchewan Roughriders 17 at Hamilton Tiger Cats 23
A 68 yard punt return touchdown return by Frankie Williams was the key play separating these two teams. Unfortunately for him, and the league that wasn’t the main talking point coming out of this one.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have placed quarterback Zach Collaros on the six-game injured list. This followed him taking a high hit from Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence.
Nobody wants to sees head injuries. Football has a problem here & it us up to the league to police it. Hamilton fans may disagree, but it was a late hit & Lawrence remained in the contest, recording six tackles, one sack and an interception after it.
That is no way to reduce the risk to players health, which the CFL is professing to do with increased penalties. Lawrence should have been ejected, we wait to see if he gets a ban.
Montreal Alouettes 25 at Edmonton Eskimos 32
You cannot make a much better debut for your new team than Trevor Harris, who in his first game as Eskimos quarterback, was 32 for 41 for 447 yards and made three TD passes in addition to running one in himself.
He was ably supported by Kenny Stafford who had 7 catches for 98 yards with 2 touchdowns & running back C J gable who rushed 20 times for 154 yards and caught three passes for 29 yards, one for a score.
The biggest surprise of this game though was how competitive the Als were. Following recent tumultuous events. It was a testament to both players and coaches that they had this game tied at 25 with two minutes left to play.
Ottawa REDBLACKS 32 at Calgary Stampeders 28
In the shock of the weekend the REDBLACKS overcame all the statistics stacked against them and came away with a win.
In a rematch of the 2018 Grey Cup, Ottawa this time came up trumps. This was a huge moment for the REDBLACKS as it is their first win in Calgary since returning to the league in 2014.
The defeat was orchestrated by newly installed starting quarterback Dominique Davis, who pulled out the win on the ground despite throwing 4 picks in the game.
A 5-yard touchdown rush from Davis with 1:15 remaining in the game gave Ottawa their first lead of the game at 32-28. A Jonathan Rose interception on the Stamps’ final possession with five seconds remaining sealed the deal.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 33 at BC Lions 23
Fans of the Blue Bombers will have been more than happy to see their team record their first opening week win since 2015.
Whilst Mike Reilly was the story going into this game, Winnipeg fans will also have been happy to see a healthy Matt Nichols leading their team after last years’ injury hit start to the season.
Whilst Reilly had over 300 yards passing, Nichols led a balanced attack and completed 21 of 33 passes for 184 yards with 3 touchdowns to Reilly’s solitary strike.
Starring for the Blue Bombers, was 2018 rushing champion Andrew Harris, who had 16 carries for 148 yards and 5 receptions for 27 yards.
Week 1 is far too early to make much of the standings. I must admit thought it is unusual to see a West Division not being led by Calgary from the get go.
After the first week the East and West Divisions are 2-1 against each other respectively. Given that the West has tended to be dominant it will be interesting to see how long such early signs of parity can last.
There are only 3 games next week, and the Toronto Argonauts finally get to join the fray. Their match up with Hamilton (a Ballard Cup game which most players won’t even be aware of) is the rivalry game of the week.
The BC Lions returning to Edmonton will no doubt be centered around the two men under centre. Mike Reilly left in free agency and Trevor Harris replaced him. Which set of fans will be happiest?
Saskatchewan will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss. However they must travel to an Ottawa team buoyed by their first ever win in Calgary.
Banner image from bluebombers.com
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