Saturday, July 11, 2009

CFL Recap Week Two: The East Strikes Back!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… the Western Division reigned supreme over the weaklings in the East Division. For four years in a row, teams from the West claimed the coveted Grey Cup over the East and teams from the West were so good they often crossed over to the East.

But this week, things were different, things swung in the favour of the East. The East struck back this week!

Teams from the East won three out of the four games against the West this week. What made these victories all the more impressive was the fact that two of these victories really weren’t expected.

Though no one was surprised when the Montreal Alouettes beat the Edmonton Eskimos, I’m sure no one was expecting them to score 50 points. In a 50-16 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos, the Montreal Alouettes achieved their second straight win over a Western Team. Montreal was a dominant team last year, but did struggle against the West.

Then there were the lowly Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger Cats, who no one really expected to win their respective games.

Winnipeg started off strong against the Calgary Stampeders. They outscored the Stamps 21-4 in the first half and maintained their solid play in the second half. The final score was 42-30 for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers handed the defending Grey Cup Champs their second consecutive loss.

Hamilton didn’t dominate BC in their 31-28 victory, but they got the big plays on both sides of the ball. Quinton Porter was very efficient on offense, and Geoff Tisdale got an interception return for a touchdown that sparked the Tiger Cats to victory.

The only blemish in the ‘Week of the East’ was Saskatchewan’s 46-36 victory over the Toronto Argonauts.

Other News and Notes From Week Two

Jamal Who?
Jamal Richardson did not play in Montreal’s victory against the Eskimos, but they didn’t miss him. Replacement S.J. Green caught five passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. Green dominated the middle of the field, much like Jamal Richardson did last season. In fact, Green reminded me a lot of Jamal Richardson with his solid play.

The Debut From Hell!
The Edmonton Eskimos were confident even without Jesse Lumsden going into their game against the Alouettes. The reason? Arkee Whitlock. Whitlock was said to be the answer at running back. After seeing his performance against the Alouettes, it might be time to find a new answer. Whitlock rushed 29 yards on 12 carries with a fumble. He also dropped two passes in the end zone. To Whitlock’s credit, he had no help from his offensive line.

Quarterback Controversy in Calgary?
Henry Burris threw three interceptions against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with no touchdowns. Back-up Barrick Nealy came into the ball game and threw two touchdown passes in nine throws. While it may be premature to suggest a quarterback controversy, Burris has been struggling early in the year.

The Revenge of Otis Floyd
Otis Floyd was one of the many players released from the BC Lions in the off-season because he was ‘too old’. Floyd got the best kind of revenge against his former team. Floyd got an interception that sealed the victory for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Former Lion Jamall Johnson also made a statement against his former team, making 11 tackles.

Thumbelina Shines for Saskatchewan
Darian Durant was questionable to start against the Toronto Argonauts after injuring his thumb in practice. Durant did get the start and besides a few throws, played excellent football. Durant threw three touchdown passes and took much better control of the football.


Power Rankings: Week Two
Check back every week to see who sits where in the power rankings

1) Montreal Alouettes 2-0 (LW:1)
Montreal continued their dominance by crushing the Edmonton Eskimos 50-16. Monreal is playing well in all phases of the game, and should be a tough draw for any team.

2) Saskatchewan Roughriders 2-0 (LW:3)
Saskatchewan leapfrogs the Toronto Argonauts after an impressive 46-36 victory in Toronto. The Riders cut down on their turnovers and had another solid effort from their defense. Two of Toronto’s touchdowns came late in the game.

3) Toronto Argonauts 1-1 (LW:2)
Toronto stared off hot against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but sizzled down as the game progressed. Still, with Bart Andrus calling the shots, the Argonauts looked like a much improved team.

4) Winnipeg Blue Bombers 1-1 (LW:6)
Winnipeg jumps up two spots to the number four in the power rankings. Winnipeg responded from a loss in week one by pounding the Calgary Stampeders.

5) Hamilton Tiger Cats 1-1 (LW:8)
Just when you thought Hamilton was bound for mediocrity, they come out with a huge W over the BC Lions. Hamilton got a big effort from Quinton Porter and their new running back DeAndra Cobb.

6) Edmonton Eskimos 1-1 (LW:5)
Edmonton was once again shaky on offense as they feel 50-16 to the Montreal Alouettes. Edmonton is struggling to find their identity and will get a chance against the struggling BC Lions.

7) Calgary Stampeders 0-2 (LW:4)
How far the mighty have fallen. Everyone expected Calgary to possibly repeat for a Grey Cup this season after they won it last year. Maybe they should focus on getting a win first.

8) BC Lions 0-2 (LW:7)
Everyone though BC would be in a rebuilding mode this year, but a loss to the Tiger Cats at home! BC has a lot of work to do early in the season.

Biggest Rise: Hamilton +3
Biggest Drop: Calgary -3

Check back twice 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.

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