Welcome to the latest edition of Three Downs, the Last Word on Sports roundup of what’s to come in CFL Week 7. This week, we’ll look at the Game of the Week, the Player to Watch, and as the Countdown to Kickoff topic: the Montreal Alouettes’ weekly headgear fashion show.
Contributions from Thomas Gunther, Casey Dulson, and Nicholas DiGiovanni.
Three Downs: CFL Week 7
Game to Watch: Edmonton at Ottawa
All eyes will be on the nation’s capital this week, where we have a fantastic showdown between the Ottawa Redblacks and Edmonton Eskimos. Both teams are coming off loses in Week 6 and struggling to keep on top of their respective divisions.
The Redblacks enter the game as the best passing team in the CFL in the league with trio of receivers, Chris Williams (who is second overall in receiving), Brad Sinopoli and Greg Ellingson. The three currently have 1,603 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns among them. The Eskimos will counter with their deadly trio of receivers, Adarius Bowman who’s third in CFL receiving, Derel Walker, who leads the CFL in receiving, and Cory Watson. The three have a total of 1,436 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. On the defense, the Redblacks have the edge with 13 sacks and a first-place tie in the CFL with 13 turnovers. The Eskimos are dead last in both sacks and turnovers with only eight sacks and seven turnovers after six weeks.
As always, the game will come down to the play of the two quarterbacks, Mike Reilly and Henry Burris. Reilly has been the best quarterback in the CFL this year, leading the CFL in passing (1,926 yards and 11 touchdowns), while the ageless Henry Burris will look to rebound from a bad start last week. He only has 469 passing yards along with two touchdowns in two games this season. With the two best passing offences in the CFL going head to head, expect fireworks in the end zone.
– Casey Dulson
Player to Watch: Andrew Harris
The CFL’s most hyped free agent signing has performed far below expectations through five weeks. His highest rushing total was 80 yards in Week 1 and a goose egg for scores on the season. All that changed, however, with Andrew Harris’s impressive performance in the surprise Blue Bombers win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
With Matt Nichols taking over for the struggling Drew Willy against the defending Grey Cup champions, most didn’t expect the Bombers to even be competitive. But when the Bombers needed a spark, Harris put together his most dominant performance of the year with 127 rushing yards, a touchdown, and a healthy 5.8 per carry average. At one point Harris racked up over 45 yards on just three carries to propel the team to a score right after a lengthy weather delay.
Harris’ big game couldn’t have come at a better time for the battered Winnipeg team. With the recent news that Darvin Adams and Weston Dressler could miss significant time to injury, Harris must shoulder the offence going forward. If the dynamic Canadian can pick up first downs against a stout Hamilton Tiger-Cats defence, it will extend drives and allow the Bombers to remain balanced. Harris’s noted receiving skills will also come in handy, as Nichols will be hard pressed for targets with Adams, Dressler, and Ryan Smith out for the game.
Will Harris work his magic and run wild two games in a row? Or will the weight of carrying a punch-less offense crush Harris along with the Bombers hopes of victory?
– Thomas Gunther
Countdown to Kickoff: Helmets in Montreal
The Montreal Alouettes have always been a team that is anything but ordinary. From their signings-for-popularity (see Ochocinco, Chad) to Jim Popp’s never-ending tenure as head coach despite many losing records, many CFL fans scratch their heads watching this team.
This season, the Alouettes brass threw a new curve ball at fans: changing helmets almost on a weekly basis. After wearing the classic silver helmets in pre-season, the Alouettes surprised fans with sleek new white helmets. The only problem was that the white helmets were an eyesore when paired with white uniforms.
The team kept them with their dark home jerseys in Week 2, but after a loss in that game, the team switched uniforms completely, going with their signature uniforms and a new helmet in Week 4. After another loss, they reverted back to their classic silver helmets, which they wore in the past two games, a loss and then a win.
But why? What is the point of all this? Are they trying to set a record for most helmet changes in a season?
The Alouettes problem right now with their fan base is that they do not have an identity. By constantly switching buckets, they are not giving fans the opportunity to remember a true uniform, an identity.
They need to stick to one helmet for the rest of the season. Will it be the eyesore whites or the classic silver?
– Nicholas DiGiovanni