Sunday, July 5, 2009

CFL Recap Week One: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The first week of a new CFL season is in the books… doesn’t it feel good to be watching football again?

Speaking about feeling good, I went 3-1 with my predictions this week.

My only wrong pick? Hamilton over Toronto. I don’t feel bad about picking the lowly Tiger Cats to beat the Argonauts, because Hamilton not only improved over the off-season, but they also handled the Argos quite well last season.

Overall it was an intriguing opening week in the CFL.

Their was an exciting Grey Cup rematch, a Toronto Argonauts playing dead, and a bitter western rivalry decided in the last seconds of the game. What better way to further examine week one then by looking at “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” of week one in the CFL:

The Good

Saskatchewan’s Defense: In the Roughriders 28-24 victory over the BC Lions, the Riders D took center stage. Gary Etecheverry’s defense generated a lot of pressure on Buck Pierece, registering nine sacks. They were just as stellar in the secondary as they recorded three interceptions. They did give up 24 points, but seven of these were off an interception and on the rest BC was given great field position following Rider turnovers.

Montreal’s Offense: How do you silence the defending Grey Cup champs. Go into their house and put up 17 unanswered points to start the game. Montreal looked sharp and determined to win in their 40-27 victory over the Calgary Stampeders. Anthony Calvillo was stellar, throwing for 255 yards and one touchdown. Led by Avon Cobourne with 107 yards, the Als’ were able to run on the Stampeders defense.

Titus Ryan: The bright spot in Calgary’s lose to the Montreal Alouettes? Titus Ryan. Ryan had a kick return touchdown, sparking the Calgary Stampeders. The rookie receiver also caught three passes for 44 yards.

Bart Andrus: Give credit to Bart Andrus, he looks to have begun righting the sinking ship that has been the Toronto Argonauts. The Argos beat the Tiger Cats 30-17. Toronto looked well prepared for this contest. Kerry Joseph looked solid, throwing three touchdown passes, and Andrus used the running game effectively as Jamal Robertson rushed for 134 yards.

Andrew Nowacki: Nowacki was the best receiver for the Eskimos in their 19-17 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He had seven catches for 79 yards and one touchdown. On a night when the Eskimos struggle to generate a lot of offense, Nowacki was a reliable option.

Opening Day: Kudos to the schedule makers, who had the season start on Canada Day with a double header. You could just sense the atmosphere not matter where you were.

The Bad
Reffing in the Saskatchewan-BC Game: Witnessing the Riders- Lions game first hand, I was very disappointed with the reffing in the game. Now I am a Riders fan, but even I believe that there were some questionable calls on both sides. Calls that shouldn’t have been made and calls that should have been made and weren’t. It was definetly an off night for the referees.

Hamilton’s First Half Defense: It was disappointing that Hamilton allowed 30 points at home, it was that Hamilton’s defense allowed 30 points in the first half! If Hamilton wouldn’t have gotten off to such a bad start, they would have had a chance against Argonauts.

Calgary’s Playmakers: Calgary’s prime time players failed to produce in their loss to the Alouettes. Henry Burris completed just above 50 percent of his passes, Joffrey Reynolds only had 19 yards rushing and Mike Labinjo was invisible with one tackle.

Stefan Lefors: Though it was cool to see a left handed quarterback throw the ball, Lefors didn’t produce for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and only threw for 174 yards. Back to the drawing board in the Peg.

Missed Opportunities: BC, Winnipeg and Calgary all had chances to tie or win their games near the end of regulation. BC’s Ryan Grice-Mullen got behind the Riders db’s and dropped a sure touchdown pass that would have won the game for the Lions in the dying seconds of the game.

Calgary had marched the ball into Montreal’s end of the field in the fourth quarter, when Chip Cox picked up a fumble and took it back for a touchdown, sealing the victory for the Als.

Winnipeg lined up for a field goal that would tie the game against the Edmonton Eskimos. Alexis Serna missed a field goal that would have tied the game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

The Ugly
Turnovers: It was a bad week for turnovers. Almost every starting quarterback threw at least one interception and there were a number of punt blocks. This was especially true in the BC-Saskatchewan contest, where there were a combined 15 turnovers in the game.

Injuries: Not only were there a number of players sitting out due to injuries, but a number of players fell to injury. Riders offensive lineman Belton Johnson fell to an injury, Lions running back Ian Smart was carted off the field, Jesse Lumsden re aggravated his shoulder injury against the Blue Bombers and even Toronto’s kicker was injured in their game against the Tiger Cats.

The Edmonton-Winnipeg Game: The Thursday night tilt simply stank! Both teams struggled to a 0-0 tie at half time and never really generated a lot off offense in a defensive struggle.
Power Rankings: Week One

Check back every week to see who sits where in the power rankings

1) Montreal Alouettes 1-0 (LW:0)
The Als looked impressive in their victory over the defending Grey Cup champions. Montreal looks to be contenders once again early on.

2) Toronto Argonauts 1-0 (LW:0)
Sure their victory came against Hamilton, but Toronto looks to have improved under head coach Bart Andrus. Kerry Joseph is making less mistakes and the team has found a running game.

3) Saskatchewan Roughrider 1-0 (LW:0)
If it wouldn’t have been for their turnovers, the Riders may have beaten the Lions by a lot more. Saskatchewan’s defense led the way for them on Friday.

4) Calgary Stampeders 0-1 (LW:0)
Calgary didn’t win their game against a tough Montreal team, but they hung in there. Calgary is still going to be a tough team to beat this year.

5) Edmonton Eskimos 1-0 (LW:0)
Edmonton won against the Blue Bombers, but didn’t look very impressive. The team was solid on defense but didn’t score a point in the first half.

6) Winnipeg Blue Bombers 0-1 (LW:0)
Winnipeg’s defense looked solid in their loss to the Eskimos. Unfortunately Stefan Lefors and the offfense couldn’t get things going.

7) BC Lions 0-1 (LW:0)
BC was able to generate a lot of turnovers to keep themselves in the game against the Riders. But BC’s offense struggled all game to move the ball.

8) Hamilton Tiger Cats 0-1 (LW:0)
Poor Hamilton. After a good off-season, the Tiger Cats disappointed their fans at home by losing to the rival Argonauts. They once again find themselves at the bottom of the power rankings.

Check back two times a week for preview and recaps from the CFL. Also, check back every couple of weeks for a look at who is winning the race for the MOP award.


  1. Being an American I rarely get to watch games but thanks to the good folks at MSG plus I got to watch the Riders-Lions game and boy were there a lot of turnovers on both sides. But the Riders D was very impressive and Stevie Baggs and Weston Dressler really showed up to play. Great recap.

  2. Thanks Giants. I was at the game and it was a very exciting affair. There were so many turnovers and sacks, and the Lions almost won the game in the dying moments!