Our CFL season catch-up has reached week 16 and we are seeing significant movement for teams on the playoff run-in.
Every game will only seem more meaningful as we enter the last weeks of the season. Particularly for those jockeying for playoff position. Not to mention for those playing for jobs or coaching roles!
CFL SEASON WEEK 16 GAMES
Week 16 saw a full slate of games. There was movement in the West Division standings and another team claimed a playoff spot.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33 at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13
The match-up of the Division leaders that kicked off the weekend had big implications. For Hamilton to come away with such an emphatic win means more people will be taking the first club to reach 11 wins this season that much more seriously.
This was Winnipeg’s first home defeat of the season and could not have come at a worse time as they tried to hold on to the West Division lead.
After the first quarter finished at 7-7, the Ti-Cats broke it open with 17 second quarter points to lead 24-10 at the half.
Dane Evans continues to impress at QB for Hamilton. He finished this one going 25 of 32 for 359 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 pick.
Also starring for Hamilton were Brandon Banks and Bralon Addison – the Wide receiver combo hauled in 12 catches for 203 yards and 2 TD’s between them.
Also of note in this game, Ti-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence notched 17 tackles (a CFL record), and Winnipeg RB Andrew Harris surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the third straight season and fifth time in his career.
Edmonton Eskimos 21 at Ottawa REDBLACKS 16
Edmonton fans will have been viewing this as a chance to get back on track and protect their playoff spot. You have to think they would have wanted something a little more convincing against an Ottawa team that has been very poor of late.
The Esks are 7-7 now and have ended a 4 game losing streak, but this was pretty close.
The first quarter saw every drive end in a punt until Lewis Ward knocked over a Field Goal for Ottawa with 1:27 left of the opener.
Edmonton scored a single and two Field Goals in the second to lead 7-3 at the half.
The Esks came out firing to start the second half, with a 10-play, 66-yard drive that saw them run the ball to extend their lead.
Running back C.J. Gable gained 45 yards on five carries to set up a one-yard rushing touchdown from QB Logan Kilgore, to put Edmonton up 14-3.
Ottawa showed some fight in the fourth. A 52 yard Field Goal from Lewis Ward and a TD sneak from QB Dominique Davis got it back to 14-14.
Edmonton’s winner was a disputed TD catch from Tevaun Smith. They later gave up a a safety to see it out at 21-16 and tighten their grip on a potential playoff spot.
Saskatchewan Roughriders 41 at Toronto Argonauts 16
The Riders came to town looking to lay down a marker in the West after Winnipeg’s defeat. They did that in pretty emphatic style.
The Riders totaled 425 yards of offense and had the ball for almost 10 minutes longer than Toronto.
Cody Fajardo continues to be just what the doctor ordered for the Rider O. In this one the QB went 23 of 27 for 278 yards with 3 touchdowns. He also had 11 carries for 80 yards and a TD.
Contrast that with James Franklin who had been brought into start for the Argos and went 21 of 30 for 208 yards with one TD and two picks. Although he only managed 14 yards on the ground he did run in a score too.
After a 3-3 first quarter Saskatchewan pulled away with 24 unanswered points to lead 27-3 going into the 4th.
Argos fans got something to cheer in the last period as veteran SJ Green laid out for a touchdown catch at the back of the end-zone.
Fajardo then hit Manny Arceneaux for a 55 yard TD and a pick led to another TD and a 41-10 lead. Franklin’s TD run for the Argos then capped the scoring late in the game.
Charleston Hughes got 2 more sacks in this one – and currently leads the league with 15 QB take-downs.
Montreal Alouettes 23 at BC Lions 25
Week 16 ended with this close exciting game that will be remembered for a controversial coaching decision that helped decide the outcome.
Missing suspended talisman QB Vernon Adams Jr it looked like Monteral would pull off a win. All they needed was a short Field Goal late on to go ahead.
Head Coach Khari Jones may have been worried about leaving time for Mike Reilly to lead a comeback as he ordered a QB sneak.
Antonio Pipkin looked to dive over from a yard out for a 7 point lead in the 4th. Instead the Lions’ D held firm for the win.
None of this was apparent at halftime. At that point a battle of the kickers saw BC ahead 9-3.
In the third, a huge blown coverage saw stand-in QB Matthew Shiltz hit Eugene Lewis who went 97 yards untouched for the Als to take a 9-7 lead.
Another drive, ended by A Pipkin plunge saw the Als up 17-9. At that point Mike Reilly and the Leos O got going.
They marched from their own 15 for a 6 pointer and trailed 17-15. John White scampered in from 5 yards out at the start of the 4th and BC were back on top at 22-17.
A 48 yard Sergio Castillo put the Lions up 25-17. The Als pulled it back to 25-23 on a TD drive of their own.
Then the wild final sequence came into play. Castillo missed a 50 yard attempt for 3 points. Montreal got all the way down to the goal line and could have taken the lead with a chip shot Field Goal.
Dramatic finishes a la last week seem to be de rigueur for the Als now!
Instead they went for the TD and came up short. The consequence of which was that Montreal must wait at least another week to confirm a playoff spot and Lions are, just, still in the hunt for a post-season place.
Following week 16 of the CFL season the inter-Divisional standings now see the West Division 22-14 ahead on the year.
The current playoff outlook has Hamilton,Winnipeg Calgary & Saskatchewan definitely in and Toronto, Ottawa and BC missing out. As it stands Edmonton will be the crossover team.
If the playoffs started today then Calgary and Hamilton would host the West and East Finals respectively. The Western Semi-final would see Winnipeg travel to Saskatchewan and the Eastern Semi-final would see Edmonton travel to Montreal.
Week 17 of the CFL season kicks off with Hamilton continuing their Western odyssey away to Edmonton. Both teams will be keen to lay down a marker. Hamilton to tighten their grip on the East Division. Edmonton to eliminate BC from the playoffs and confirm their own spot.
Calgary will come off a bye to travel to Montreal. Again both teams will be keen to make a point. Calgary to hold on to the lead in the West & Montreal to claim a playoff spot.
Winnipeg then travel to Saskatchewan. This is always a big game but this one is for the regular season series. Not to mention battling it out potentially for top spot in the West with Calgary.
Finally Toronto travel to BC. At this point Toronto are playing for pride. If Edmonton lose to Hamilton then the win becomes all the more crucial for BC to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Banner Image: the Ti-Cats celebrate. image from cfl.ca