Football Night In Canada: Week 6 Wrapup

Each team crossed the one-third mark at the final whistle of their games this week. Some teams (like BC, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto) are trying to turn their season around an either get a divisional or cross-over playoff berth. Meanwhile, the other teams (Montreal, Hamilton, Edmonton, and Saskatchewan) are looking to pull away and cement themselves as Grey Cup contenders.

Toronto 0 @ Montreal 25 – The Argos continue their free fall to the basement of the East Division. After almost literally handing the Blue Bombers the win last week, Toronto rolled over and played dead for the division leading Alouettes.

Scoring was slow and (not surprisingly) sparse in this game. The only point in the first quarter was a Damon Duval rouge on a punt that went 70 yards through the back of the endzone. He also opened the second quarter scoring with a rouge on a missed 25 yard field goal. The first major of the game also came in the second quarter. On a 3rd-and-1, Avon Cobourne took to the air over the Argos’ d-line for the 1 yard rushing major. With time dying in the half, backup QB Adrian McPherson found defensive tackle Eric Wilson for his first career touchdown on a 1 yard toss to make it 16-0 after two stanzas. After a scoreless third quarter, the Argos kicked off scoring in the fourth. Two minutes in, Justin Medlock conceded a safety. On the next drive, Cobourne got his second TD of the game with another 1 yard run to put a cap on the game.

When you break things down, it’s easy to understand how the Argos were shutout for the first time since 1992. They only got 125 total yards on offense and gave up 7 sacks to the Als defence. On a more historic note, Als’ receiver Ben Cahoon became the eighth player in CFL history to get over 12,000 career receiving yards.

Saskatchewan 20 @ BC 35 – Desperate for a miracle to salvage their season, the BC Lions were finally granted one as they got the win over Saskatchewan to move them out of the CFL basement.

The game started with the Riders getting out front on a 47 yard bomb from Darian Durant to Rob Bagg for the major. In the final minute of the first, a K Banks pick led to Buck Pierce finding Martell Mallett from 3 yards out to tie the game. In the second, Durant and Bagg hooked up again to regain the lead, this time on a 33 yard pass. BC came back with a couple of quick scores. After Saskatchewan conceded a safety, Sean Whyte booted a 44 yard field goal. In the dying seconds of the second, Gerran Walker muffed a punt return which was kicked around the field until O’Neil Wilson picked up the ball at the 14 yard line and rumbled home for the major to make it 19-14 at the half.

The second half started as all-Leos. Sean Whyte had a pair of third quarter field goals from 42 and 19 yards. He also kicked off fourth quarter scoring with a 33 yard kick. Down by 14, the Green Riders managed a last minute touchdown when Chris Szarka had a one yard charge for the major but the convert attempt was blocked by a line-vaulting Barron Miles. After a failed Saskatchewan onside kick and several penalties, the Mallett had a 13 yard run for his second major of the night.

It wasn’t an exceptionally pretty game for either team with Saskatchewan having 5 turnovers and BC committing 4. In addition to his two majors, Mallett had 99 yards rushing and 22 receiving.

Edmonton 21 @ Hamilton 28 – In the pouring rain of the Steel City, the Tabbies and Esks played an instant classic. With all signs pointing toward overtime, it was an effective two minute drill by the Ti-Cats that won them the game and kept them as the surprise contenders in the East.

However, it was Edmonton that got the run on points early. The Eskies got on the board first when Hamilton conceded a safety. They followed that with a five yard toss from Ricky Ray to Kamau Peterson and a 25 yard Noel Prefontaine field goal for a 12-0 lead. The Tiger-Cats then came alive. First, DeAndra’ Cobb scampered for a six yard touchdown. Then, Chris Thompson picked off Ray and lateralled to Geoff Tisdale who took it to the house for a two point lead. The Esks would get their lead back on two late Noel Prefontaine field goals from 10 and 38 yards. This gave the Eskimos a 18-14 lead at the half.

The second half would start with the Esks stretching their lead to a full score as Noel Prefontaine booted a 20 yard kick to make it a 7 point game. In the dying minutes of the third, the Ti-Cats evened the score when Quintin Porter found Chris Davis for 21 yards and the major. The score remained knotted at 21-21 for most of the final quarter. In the final two minutes, Hamilton charged for the win. DeAndra’ Cobb hustled for a 40 yard run that was originally ruled a touchdown but overturned on a replay challenge. Instead, Quintin Porter bowled home for the final yard and the major to give Hamilton a 28-21 win.

Both QBs had respectable days despite the inclement weather. Ray went 23/37 for 335 yds, 1 TD, and 2 Int in a losing effort. Meanwhile, Porter went 25/37 for 211 yds and 1 TD while picking up another 17 yds and 1 TD on the ground.

Winnipeg 10 @ Calgary 23 – Two teams near the bottom of their divisions and barely hanging on to a playoff spot met in the final game of Week 6. This time it was the defending Grey Cup champion that picked up the critical win in their effort to defend their title.

Calgary rocketed out of the gate with sixteen unanswered points. On their first two drives, Calgary got a couple of field goals from Sean DeAngelis from 48 and 20 yards. On Calgary’s third drive, Joffrey Reynolds bulled his way home for a 1 yard major to cap off a three play, 65 yard drive. The Stamps kept scoring into the second quarter with another DeAngelis field goal from 17 yards. The Bombers finally got on the board when Anthony Serna dialled long distance with a 54 yard field goal to cut the lead to 13. The defending champs got the last laugh in the first half. In the final minute, Henry Burris found Reynolds from 17 yards out for the major to put the exclamation point on a successful two minute drill. This gave the home side a commanding 23-3 lead after the first 30 minutes.

In the second half, the Bombers mounted the comeback. Fred Reid finished an 86 yard drive with an 8 yard run to give Winnipeg their first major of the game. They cut the lead down to ten points on an 18 yard Serna field goal. The Stamps weren’t going to lie down and get run over though. Burris made the long distance connection to Titus Ryan for a 36 yard major and a 30-13 lead heading into the final fifteen. But the visitors just kept coming. In the opening minute of the fourth, Fred Reid charged home his second rushing TD of the game to make it a 10 point game. After a Calgary rouge, Serna made his third field goal of the night to make it a one score game. However, that’s where the comeback would stall. The Bombers couldn’t finish the comeback dropped a closer than expected game after that first half.

The Bombers could have won this game but for one critical problem. They lost the turnover battle badly, giving up 3 more turnovers than the Stamps. You can out-gain a team by 34 yards of total offense but when you give up ball control, it’ll be hard to win a game.

Offensive Player of the Week: Henry Burris (CGY) – 22/38, 356 Yds, 2 TD, 1 Int, 13 Rush Yds
Defensive Player of the Week: Sean Lucas (SSK) – 10 Tkls, 1 Int

East Division Standings
1. Montreal 5-1
2. Hamilton 4-2
3. Winnipeg 2-4
4. Toronto 2-4

West Division Standings
1. Calgary 3-3
2. Edmonton 3-3
3. Saskatchewan 3-3
4. BC 2-4

Week 7 Schedule
Thursday: Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos
Friday: BC Lions at Toronto Argonauts
Saturday: Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Sunday: Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Saskatchewan Roughriders

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