The fourth week of the 2012 Canadian Football League season featured a miraculous comeback win, a suspension, a major upset, and several other storylines that are of great interest. Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Hamilton were all victorious, and as a result my record was 2-2 for the week. My overall record now sits at 7-9.
Here’s a summary of the four contests:
Toronto 25 Winnipeg 22
Despite their first lead of the season, the Blue Bombers couldn’t quite hang on for the victory as Argo QB Ricky Ray found Jason Barnes for a 37 yard TD with two minutes to go to give the Argonauts the win.
With the loss, Winnipeg is now 0-4 on the season and is the only team in the CFL who have yet to find their way into the win column. Toronto played a sloppy game, turning the ball over a few times and also taking unnecessary penalties at inopportune times. Although they did enough to win, head coach Scott Milanovich can’t be happy. As for the Bombers, there were a few bright spots. Running back Chad Simpson looks like he could be the real deal if he can stay on the field. He had 91 yards rushing and was the beneficiary of solid blocking up front by the offensive line. Also, Winnipeg’s defence held Ricky Ray and Cory Boyd in check for most of the night, especially in the second half where the entire Argo attack was off balance. Finally, Justin Palardy was 5 for 5 in the field goal department in the loss.
Calgary 41 Saskatchewan 38 (OT)
This was arguably the most entertaining game so far this season. The Riders looked true to form for the first three plus quarters, building a 35-18 lead with as little as five minutes to go. But as it turned out, the first Saskatchewan turnover of the season was the turning point as Darian Durant threw a costly interception late in the fourth to spark the Stamps comeback. Calgary tied the game on a last minute field goal, but just barely as the ball caromed off the upright but still went through the goal posts. From there, the Stamps held the Riders to a field goal on the first possession and then promptly went down to score the winning touchdown (The CFL’s overtime rules are similar to College Football). Saskatchewan exhibited tremendous play calling and execution for most of the game and probably deserved a better fate. But Calgary got some momentum late in the game at home and pulled out the win. Stamps coach John Hufnagel knows his team still has some discipline issues and he’ll be working towards cleaning that up. And finally, kudos to quarterback Kevin Glenn who played a starring role in the comeback victory.
Edmonton 27 B.C. 14
I admit I was way off on my prediction for this game, but who else could have seen this coming? The Eskimos walked into B.C. Place and beat the defending champs with relative ease. Their defence was the story once again, as they kept Travis Lulay uncomfortable in the pocket all night long and also picked him off twice. One of those interceptions occurred late in the game. With the Lions trailing 19-14 with just under six minutes to play, they had the ball at the five-yard line and were looking to take the lead. But cornerback Joe Burnett picked off Lulay and ran it all the way back for the game clinching touchdown. It was Burnett’s second INT of the game. If Edmonton can continue to force timely turnovers and play well defensively, they’ll win enough games to make the playoffs. Still, they might want to get that offence fixed. Lions defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell was thrown out of the game and suspended for intentionally injuring an Eskimo player. Another loss this week and alarm bells will be going off in B.C.
Hamilton 39 Montreal 24
The Tiger-Cats won their second straight on home turf and look like they could be a team to be reckoned with as the season goes along. Henry Burris was good on 27 out of 30 throws for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns, earning him offensive player of the week honours. Receiver Andy Fantuz was his go to guy, catching 8 balls for 135 yards and a score. The highlight of the game featured Chris Williams, who returned a missed field goal into Montreal territory and then decided to back pedal inside the 20 yard-line and was tackled at the 1 yard-line while prematurely celebrating with a teammate. You can bet George Cortez will talk to him about that hot dog play. For Montreal, Anthony Calvillo continues to get hit and is grimacing after every one. The priority for the Als has to be to keep him upright. Otherwise, his body might not last.
Stay tuned for my week 5 preview.