It’s post-Labour Day and the CFL power rankings continue to be a logjam, concession items are getting wilder, whether protocols are under scrutiny, PED suspensions are popping up, and the NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg was a bust. Let’s look at August and Labour Day’s CFL studs and duds.
Labour Day Rivalries
The CFL’s decision to put the spotlight on their three Labour Day rivalries and put three teams on a bye week paid off. From last-second heroics in Regina to brawls in Hamilton, each game was awesome. All three saw plenty of emotion plus packed crowds, and the same should be expected in Week 13.
After a slower start, Willie Jefferson has found his groove and is filling up the stats sheet. In the past month, Jefferson recorded eight tackles, five sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and a punt. More importantly for Winnipeg, Jefferson’s consistently wreaking havoc in opponents’ backfields, most recently against Saskatchewan, his former club.
With 13 tackles and six sacks in his last four games, Dylan Wynn has officially broken out as one of the studs in the CFL. Wynn sits second in the league in sacks with nine, seven more than he had in 2018. Coming to Hamilton from Toronto, Wynn’s been the most underrated 2019 free agency signing. Oh, and he has the best sack celebration in the CFL.
The fourth Maritimes regular-season CFL game wasn’t as high scoring as the 2011 Calgary-Hamilton shootout, but the entertainment level was phenomenal after Khari Jones and Vernon Adams Jr. paid homage to the 2011 game with a successful double reverse. This year’s game came down to the last play, where Als’ defender Greg Reid Jr. broke up what would’ve been a game-winning touchdown by Armanti Edwards.
Overtime at McMahon
Adams Jr.’s Alouettes played in the season’s wildest game the week prior, defeating the Calgary Stampeders 40-34 in double overtime. Montreal was down 11 with under a minute remaining, yet found a way to earn two points. The Als’ dramatic comeback ended with Adams Jr. shoving himself into the end zone on third-and-goal from the one.
August saw some absurd grabs on both sides of the ball, each deserving a shoutout under the CFL studs. In Week 9 there was Marcus Sayles’ interception and Bryan Burnham’s ballet-like grab. Then in Week 10, Greg Ellingson reeled in an incredible touchdown. Week 11 saw Jaelon Acklin’s tip drill, Richard Leonard’s one-handed pick, and Marcus Rios’ nifty pick-six.
The Walby Burger
With the recent trend of ridiculous concession items at sports venues, including the B.C. Lions’ own outrageous burger, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers decided to join in on the fun. The Bombers revealed the $45 Walby Burger, which features six hamburger patties, six chicken tenders, six hotdogs, six pieces of bacon, cheese, pickles, lettuce, fries, onions, tomatoes and a secret special sauce. Despite the calories, Bombers’ fans didn’t shy away.
When Duron Carter is showboating in the end zone and stirring the pot with his chirping, both Carter and the CFL are better. In August, Carter had one more receiving yard (57) than passing (56). His season’s been just at successful as his team’s, both falling nowhere near their supreme expectations. Averaging 32.9 yards a game, Carter’s become a forgotten commodity, both as a player and as a personality.
Remember when Dom Davis went 30 of 39 for 354 yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling 44-41 victory over Saskatchewan? Davis has been abysmal since, throwing two touchdowns and ten interceptions in six starts. After Davis started with six completions — three to his team and three to his opponent — in Regina last week, it appears Ottawa’s quarterback job is up for grabs with Jon Jennings now starting. Who could’ve guessed?
In Week 9, the Montreal Alouettes felt the thunder of the CFL’s new weather protocol. With the Als down 17-10 to Saskatchewan with 17 minutes remaining, the league called the game final after an hour lightning delay. The CFL introduced their complicating rule this season, and it could have major implications to the Als’ playoff position come November.
James Wilder Jr.
After 2017, Wilder Jr. was viewed as a running back who could reach 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing yards in one season. Rather than flourishing into a CFL star, Wilder Jr. is currently battling to stay in the lineup of a non-playoff team. Wilder Jr.’s played once since Week 6, rushing for 16 yards on seven carries on Labour Day.
The CFL suspended star running back Andrew Harris two games for testing positive for Metandienone, an anabolic steroid. In a press conference, Harris deemed it a case of product contamination. CFL fans and players poked fun at the news as well as Jeff Hecht’s prior take on using banned substances. Hecht and Harris are still cool, in case you were wondering.
NFL Takeover at IG Field
Reading Winnipeg Fress Press reporter Mike McIntyre’s opinion piece covers the entire mess of the event, one which the Winnipeg Blue Bombers simply rented out their stadium for. Technically the Green Bay Packers-Oakland Raiders pre-season game in Winnipeg wasn’t a CFL dud, but some misinformed critics still believe Winnipeg’s to blame.
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