CFL action in the month of September featured a ton of pick-sixes, perfect Canadian kickers, a halftime show announcement, questionable coaching, a logo controversy, and a bad day for CFL games.
Battle of Alberta
In Week 13 the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos combined to score 90 points from 1,073 yards of offence. The Eskimos prevailed 48-42, escaping a near Juwan Brescacin Hail Mary walk-off touchdown. Romar Morris scored four touchdowns, three receivers went over 100 yards and Bo Levi Mitchell set a new career-high for passing yards with 491.
Bo Levi Mitchell
Speaking about Mitchell, the star quarterback threw for 1,068 yards in his last three games, tossing eight touchdowns. Mitchell set a career-high in passing yards (mentioned above), which was previously set in Week 11 this year (452 vs Winnipeg). Mitchell’s efforts have allowed the Stamps to clinch a playoff spot before October, and keep Calgary atop our power rankings week-in-week-out.
There were an abnormal amount of pick-sixes in the past four weeks. Defenders across the CFL recorded 10 interceptions for touchdowns, highlighted by the three pick-sixes in the Banjo Bowl. Saskatchewan’s Willie Jefferson’s absurd 97-yard return was the most memorable of the 10.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) September 8, 2018
Cabbing back to a football game
Blue Bombers receiver Kenbrell Thompkins took a nasty hit from Ed Gainey in the first quarter of the Banjo Bowl. Thompkins was stretchered off and taken to the nearest hospital. Typically getting rushed to the hospital indicates a serious injury and the end of the individual’s day. Although Thompkins did not go back on the field, he actually took a cab back to Investors Group Field and was on the sidelines in full uniform for the third quarter.
Redblacks’ rookie kicker Lewis Ward and the Roughriders’ Brett Lauther have continued their unbelievable seasons during the past four weeks. During the last four weeks, Ward went 10/10 (he’s made 37 straight) and Lauther went 12/12. Both Canadian kickers are converting over 90% of the field goals and are the likely nominees for Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Lauther’s 56-yard kick gave Saskatchewan a much-needed win over Toronto in Week 15.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) September 23, 2018
On Saturday the CFL announced that Alessia Cara will be headlining the halftime show at the 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton. Cara, 22, was born in Brampton, Ontario and is a growing star in the pop music genre. She’s known for songs such as Here, Wild Things, Scars To Your Beautiful, Stay, and 1-800-273-8255. Cara is a great get for the CFL.
The second-year Bombers fullback chopped off his luscious hair two weeks ago and transitioned to a Walter White-esque look. Multiple people in Rush’s family carry a gene that puts them at an increased risk of getting breast cancer. As a result, Rush grew his hair out for three years and is donating his now-cut hair to someone going through chemotherapy treatments. Rush’s story can be viewed here.
Shoutout to @Wpg_BlueBombers @cancersociety and everyone who supported me and made this happen! Hopefully we were able to make it a little easier for someone battling cancer! 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/LeXyxBu9nS
— John Rush 🏈🇨🇦 (@JohnRushAthlete) September 20, 2018
The Argos were 3-7 going into Week 13 and still had a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. After losing three straight in the past four weeks, the defending Grey Cup champions will likely miss the post-season. In a nine-team league that has 66% of the teams make the playoffs, the Argos’ 2018 season is even more depressing. McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been decent at quarterback, but Toronto’s issues exist throughout their whole roster.
Respecting the logo
Last week, controversy arose when the B.C. Lions Twitter account posted a video of several Lions dancing on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats logo on the field at Tim Hortons Field. Respecting/honouring your logo is important. That being said, stepping on a team’s logo in the locker room isn’t cool. Stepping on a team’s logo on their football field is not a big deal. The Ti-Cats didn’t win by 30 because of the Lions dancing on their logo. They won by 30 because they’re a better team than B.C., and were likely looking to avenge their loss at B.C. This story was way overblown. The Ti-Cats Twitter handled the situation well, though.
Thanks for stopping by, @BCLions. Safe trip home!
— Hamilton Tiger-Cats (@Ticats) September 29, 2018
Fall Sunday games
Sunday CFL games before September are fine. But once the CFL schedules games (aside from the playoffs) head-to-head with the NFL, they lose mass amounts of viewers. The Alouettes hosted Saskatchewan last Sunday, and host the Argonauts in Week 20 on a Sunday. Even I will watch NFL over a meaningless Alouettes game. Regular season fall Sunday games should not be a thing; I’d even suggest the CFL move the playoff games and the Grey Cup to Saturdays.
Darian Durant’s decision to retire before the 2018 season, and after collecting a $70,000 signing bonus, is in the past. The near-weekly news regarding Durant’s possible comeback is just silly. Durant’s playing ability spiraled downwards after he left Saskatchewan – I was even skeptical of the Bombers signing him at the time. At this point in the season, no teams could realistically use Durant.
June Jones punting
Jones infamous decision to punt from B.C.’s 37-yard line while up seven points with 59 seconds left cost his team a win. Lirim Hjarullhau likely makes that kick, and if not Chris Rainey unlikely turns a missed kick into points the other way. Instead, Jones seemed to punt for a rouge on purpose, the Lions came back to tie the game on the last play of regulation and then win in double overtime.
In the month of September, the Alouettes number one receiver caught five passes for 53 yards. You could debate that Cunningham is talented enough to be an elite CFL receiver, but 53 yards over three games says otherwise. Cunningham is Montreal’s go-to guy; he needs to put up better numbers.
Edmonton Eskimos non-offensive scoring
Week 17 is approaching, and so far every single Eskimos touchdown in 2018 has come from their offence. That being said, I don’t doubt that Mike Reilly can do it all, but a little help for the reigning Most Outstanding Player would likely be appreciated by him. Despite ranking second in interceptions and third in sacks, no Eskimos defender has found the end zone. Edmonton’s return game has been dreadful though, ranking last in both kick and punt return average.
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