Every CFL week includes enough highlights for fans to talk about until football returns a week later, and a few lowlights that keep fans shaking their heads. The LWOS CFL team takes a look with CFL Week 18 Three and Out at the highlights and lowlights of the week that was in the CFL.
CFL Week 18 Three and Out
Game of the Week: Ottawa Redblacks vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
After losing to the Ottawa Redblacks in the first leg of their late-season home-and-home, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were set for a tough game in Ottawa. With both teams virtually guaranteed to make the playoffs, this game was a major factor in seeding the top two East Division teams for the crucial first week bye in the playoffs. Hamilton second-stringer Jeremiah Masoli was at the helm, the last-minute Ottawa win the previous week was still fresh in everyone’s mind.
The game got off to a roaring start for the Redblacks. Three first-half touchdowns, augmented by a pair of field goals, put Ottawa up 27-13 at the break. Henry Burris was hitting everything, while Masoli had trouble stringing together plays to get a strong drive going.
However, Hamilton was still in the game, and in the second half the tide began to turn. The Ticats kept Ottawa off the scoreboard in the third quarter, and scored 21 second-half points to Ottawa’s 6. The score ended knotted at 33-33.
The teams traded field goals in the first overtime series, and Hamilton was held to three point in the second series. But the Ticats defensive player of the game John Chick, with two sacks on the night already, swam through the Ottawa o-line and smacked the ball out of Burris’ hand and the Cats fell on the resulting fumble to end the game 36-33.
The overtime win left Ottawa only one point ahead of Hamilton in the standings. With starter Zach Collaros apparently back for Hamilton’s last two home games, and with Ottawa finishing the season on a home-and-home with the surging Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the stage appears set for a very close finish for the top spot in the East.
Player of the Week: Emmanuel Arceneaux
The B.C. Lions snapped the Edmonton Eskimos three-game winning streak last Saturday night. They defeated the Eskimos 32-25 at B.C. Place. The critical win pushed the Lions one step closer to securing third place in the West Division. Currently, B.C. is holding a four-point lead over the Eskimos going into the last two weeks of regular season play.
Emmanuel Arceneaux put up stellar numbers for the B.C. Lions this week, catching the ball eight times for 132 yards. The slotback added two touchdowns, including a four-yard pass from quarterback Jonathon Jennings to take an early 9-3 lead in the game. Arceneaux’s second touchdown was a 70-yard reception, taking a commanding 18-5 lead with just over two minutes left in the second quarter.
Arceneaux is enjoying a strong season in 2016, with 1,318 receiving yards over 91 receptions, and 10 touchdowns so far. He has certainly put himself into the running for MOP.
– Drew Yates (@Dyates92)
Unnecessary Participation: Playoff Format
With only two weeks left in the regular 2016 CFL season much still has to be decided. One thing for certain is that the Edmonton Eskimos face the possibility to cross over to the East Division for playoffs, as they currently sit six points ahead of the third-placed East team, the Montreal Alouettes.
It’s become an all-too familiar situation, a West team crossing over to the East with a possibility of two West teams battling for the Grey Cup. Every year, the same debate: is it fair? Should there be a cross-over? Yes, Edmonton has a long way to get to the Cup. They have to face the Ottawa Redblacks and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Both are not easy opponents. But it’s still a possibility.
As it stands entering Week 19, Edmonton sits above the top team, Ottawa, by one point. So currently, the fourth-place team in the West has more points than the first-place team in the East. Do the Eskimos deserve a shot at the Grey Cup being in fourth place? Well, statistically according to CFL regulations, yes they do. But shouldn’t it be at the very end East versus West? It’s what it’s played for all season, yet at the end of the playoffs it suddenly becomes up for grabs regardless of division.
On the other side of the coin, shouldn’t the two very best teams, regardless of division face off for the Grey Cup, because of most games won? The rules aren’t changing anytime soon. But it’s food for thought. Should it be the top two teams regardless of division (ie split the two best teams into separate sides of the bracket before playoffs)? Or should it be best of the East versus the best of the West no matter what?