Week 7 showcased a few lopsided wins with a lack of Johnny Football while the two teams from Alberta continued to show that they are the best in the league with Mike Reilly and the Esks improving to 4-2 and Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps 6-0.

Week 7 Bye: 

 

Edmonton (3-2) -44

Montreal (1-4) -23

The 3-2 Eskimos went on the road against the 1-4 Alouettes in Week 7, usually, this would be kind of a sleeper matchup as the Eskimos are far and away a much better team than the Al’s, but this game had some appeal to it after the Johnny Manziel trade. Unfortunately, Johnny football didn’t play in this game and we’ll have to wait at least one more week to see him play. Former Oregon Duck Vernon Adams Jr would get the start in this one for Montreal.

The Eskimos would win the toss on a beautiful day in Montreal and elect to receive the ball. Unfortunately, the Eskimos wouldn’t manage to put up any points on the first drive of the game and would be forced to punt the ball over to the Alouettes who would start their first drive on their own 32-yard line.

Thanks to a 41-yard pass interference from Maurice McKnight that put the Alouettes on the doorstep. Vernon Adams Jr would punch it in from the 1-yard line and give Montreal a 7-0 lead.

The Alouettes would get penalized for pass interference themselves on the very next play, this time for 51-yards and put the Eskimos in good field position right away. They were only able to muster a field goal out of the drive though and make it 7-3 Montreal and that’s how our first quarter would end.

Montreal would be in field goal range to begin the second quarter and would connect on a 37-yard field goal to put themselves up 10-3.

It wouldn’t take very long for the Eskimos to respond as on their next drive Mike Reilly would spot Duke Williams in the end zone on a 20-yard pass to give the CFL’s leading receiver another TD on the season.

We’d be tied at 10’s after that beautiful catch. Montreal would get the ball back before Vernon Adams Jr would throw it right into Aaron Grymes hands giving the Eskimos amazing field position as he’d bring it back to Montreal’s 25-yard line.

After the turnover, Mike Reilly would throw a short pass to CJ Gable who would make an amazing one-handed catch and quickly find the end zone to put the Eskimos up 17-10.

The Eskimos would add a field goal after a quick two and out by Montreal, which would lead to the Montreal fans chanting for Johnny Manziel.

After a field goal by Montreal to bring them a bit closer, Mike Reilly would connect with Duke Williams again on a 61-yard TD to put the Eskimos up 27-13 going into the half.

Montreal would start the half with the ball and after a 55-yard pass to Tyrell Sutton that put Montreal in scoring position, they’d go on to miss the field goal and hand the ball back over to the Eskimos. It would pin the Eskimos in deep though and Edmonton would sacrifice a safety after a two and out.

The next Montreal position would once again lead to a missed field goal after Bebe would nail the upright on what was a rough day for the Montreal kicker.

Edmonton would get the ball back and this time would put more points on the board as Mike Reilly would find Johnny Manziel’s former teammate at Texas A&M Derel Walker for a 36-yard touchdown that would put the Eskimos up by 19.

The Eskimos wouldn’t stop there as they started the fourth quarter with the ball and would drive down the field all the way to the Montreal 1-yard line where Mike Reilly would sneak into the end zone to put the Eskimos up 41-15.

It wasn’t all bad for Montreal though as they would get the ball back and drive down the field where Calgary, Alberta native Ryder Stone would score his first ever CFL touchdown as he would punch it in from the 5-yard line.

The Eskimos would add a field goal late to put them up 44-23 and that’s how the game would finish.

Montreal didn’t look good in this game at all as they struggled to move the ball against an Edmonton defence that looked much better in this one. It’s hard to evaluate the Alouettes going forward as I’d fully expect Johnny Manziel to start next week and while one can assume he’s going to do great. He hasn’t taken a professional regular season snap in almost three years. Montreal is now 1-5 but if Johnny Manziel can get them back on track, they can still make a playoff run in a very weak Eastern division.

Edmonton seems to be finally finding their game and look like a team that can be in the Grey Cup that’s in their backyard this year. Defence needs to continue playing great as the offence is on a roll, I believe the Eskimos offence is the best in the league when they’re clicking, especially with the former MOP playing like he did in this one.

Player of the Game: Mike Reilly. 24/32 for 415 yards, 4 TDs and 1 rushing TD.

Toronto (1-4) – 14

Winnipeg (3-3) – 40

The CFL’s highest-scoring would meet up with the league’s worst offence and second last defence in a Week 7 matchup that ended exactly how you’d expect. The Argonauts just can’t find their way with James Franklin under centre as he’s struggled this season going 92/141 (65.2%) for 967 yards with 2 TD’s and 6 INTs to begin the season.

Winnipeg would win the toss and elect to receive, after a huge 55-yard return by Tyneil Cooper that would put the Bombers in good field position, Justin Medlock would drain a 47-yard field goal to put Winnipeg up 3-0 early.

The Argonauts would get the ball but only able to muster one first down in their first possession of the game of the game, quickly having to punt the ball back to Winnipeg.

Winnipeg’s offence would get the ball back and just like they’ve done all season long, convert the drive into points as Matt Nichols would find Nic Demski in the end zone for a 42-yard TD.

Toronto would get the ball back and drive back to midfield before they’d put the ball on the turf and Winnipeg would recover. The Bombers would add on another field goal after the turnover and go up 13-0 to end the first quarter.

Toronto would start the second quarter with the ball and drive down field before James Wilder JR would punch it in the end zone from 3-yards out for his third touchdown of the season and put the Argos on the board.

After an Argonauts punt single to bring the game within five. Nic Demski would find the end zone for the second time this game, this time on the ground as he’d tiptoe down the sideline for a 28-yard TD that would put the Bombers up 20-8 late in the second.

Winnipeg would add on a field-goal after a James Franklin interception to go into the half up 23-8.

The second half started much of the same for James Franklin and the Argonauts as Franklin would once again turn the ball over on an interception.

It’d go from bad to worse for the Argonauts who after turning the ball over on downs on their second possession of the half, would once again turn the ball over in the air on their third possession. Three possessions, three turnovers to start the half for Toronto.

All those turnovers would only amount to three points for the Blue Bombers however as we’d enter the fourth quarter with the Bombers up 26-8.

The Bombers would quickly get the ball in the fourth quarter and drive downfield before Matt Nichols would connect with Drew Wolitarsky on an 8-yard pass to put the Bombers up 33-8.

The Argonauts would turn the ball over on a blocked punt that the Bombers would bring back to the house to put themselves up 40-8 and put this game completely out of reach.

James Franklin would find some solace in the end zone with 3 minutes to go as he’d run it in from the 1-yard line but all that did was make the game look “not quite as bad” as the Bombers would hold on to the ball and win this game 40-14.

The Argonauts have already announced that James Franklin won’t be starting in Week 8 as they have handed the starting job over to Bethel-Thompson. Franklin who was a highly touted quarterback coming out of Edmonton hasn’t been able to find his stride this season after Ricky Ray went down with an injury. The defending Grey Cup champions have now started the season 1-5 and must go back to the drawing board when it comes to protecting the football. You aren’t going to win many games in the CFL turning the ball over 7 times.

It’s hard to gauge how the Blue Bombers played in this game as the Argonauts played brutally bad. Winnipeg’s offence still looks great despite not having to do much in this game. The defence looked dominant this game forcing seven turnovers. The Blue Bombers will be heading into their bye week next week as a team who despite their record only being 4-3 looks like a team that can contend this year.

Player of the Game: Nic Demski. 5 catches for 82 yards and a TD, 3 rushes for 34 yards and a TD.

Ottawa (3-2) – 21

Hamilton (2-3) – 15

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats came into Week 7 after dropping two in a row to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They looked to get back on track after starting out the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. They were coming off a huge trade where they acquired veterans Jamaal Westerman and Chris Williams for Johnny Manziel. Unlike Manziel both players saw action for Hamilton.

Ottawa has been one of the harder teams to judge this year. They’ll look explosive against certain teams but have been easily handled against some of the better teams in the league. They’ve gotten some inconsistent play from quarterback Trevor Harris while the defence has seemed to hold its own. They looked to showcase that explosive offence in this game.

That didn’t necessarily happen with only one touchdown being scored through the entire game, and it didn’t come from the RedBlacks.

Lewis Ward opened the scoring after Trevor Harris hit Brad Sinopoli for a 17-yard gain, Lewis hit a 42 yarder for the 3-0 lead.

Hamilton tried to answer on the next drive. Jeremiah Masoli would connect with Jalen Saunders on back to back 20+ yard passes before having to settle for a field goal. Liram Hajrullahu’s attempt from 15 yards out was blocked, however, by Jonathan Rose resulting in just a single for the Ti-Cats and the 3-1 score.

On Hamilton’s next drive Masoli would throw an interception to Kevin Brown giving Ottawa possession at their own 24-yard line. From there they would go on an 11-play drive resulting in another Lewis field goal this time from 26 yards away and the 6-1 lead.

Hamilton would then go on a 9-play drive but again it would result in just a field goal attempt. The kick, however, was again missed, going wide left and going through the end zone for the single and the 6-2 Ottawa lead.

Hajrullahu would connect on another attempt before the end of the half kicking a 49-yarder and cutting the lead down to 6-5 at halftime. He would then kick the second half kickoff out of bounds giving the RedBlacks the ball at their own 45-yard line.

After two plays Ward would kick a 47-yard field goal extending Ottawa’s lead to 9-5. Both teams continued to struggle offensively and limit themselves to just field goals as Ward would kick 37 and 35-yarders and Hajrullahu connecting from 17 yards out to make it 15-8 Ottawa.

Another three points from Ward would give Ottawa the 10-point 18-8 lead but Hamilton would then score the only touchdown of the game with Masoli driving down the field with passes to new Ti-Cat Chris Williams and Brandon Banks. He then found Jalen Saunders for the 29-yard touchdown pass trimming the lead down to just three points at 18-15 Ottawa.

The RedBlacks would then seal the deal with…..you guessed it! A field goal as Lewis Ward nailed the 43-yard attempt giving Ottawa the 21-15 lead and victory improving them to 4-2 on the year.

With both teams struggling to get much done offensively it was an evenly matched game with the time of possession going to Hamilton at 30:48 to Ottawa’s 29:12.

Ottawa, however, had a slightly better defence totalling 5 sacks on Jeremiah Masoli and forcing an interception. Trevor Harris had a decent night going 23/35 for 228 yards with 0TD’s and 0INTs. They got solid production out of William Powell with 47 yards on the ground and 61 through the air on just three catches.

While both teams struggled, Ottawa cannot continue these types of offensive woes if they want to compete with the better teams in the league. To be fair their only two losses have come to the Calgary Stampeders, but they have to be able to get into the end zone in a game like this and have been too inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball.

Hamilton has struggled for three weeks in a row after starting out as hot as anyone. Suffering two straight losses to Saskatchewan where Masoli seemed to be shut down, much of the same happened in this one.

They were able to put up some big numbers with Masoli throwing for 352 yards and the games only touchdown, but he did throw a pick, which he has done in every game this year so far, as well as faced a tonne of pressure with the 5 sacks from the RedBlack D. Both Jalen Saunders and Brandon Banks had over 100-yard games in the receiving department, but the team was only able to run ball for 35 yards. In a game where most of the scoring came on field goals, it was absolutely devastating to have Hairullahu miss two out of his four attempts.

The Tiger-Cats have every reason to be competing week in and week out but sit in second place behind Ottawa at 2-4 on the year only better than Toronto and Montreal who are both 1-5. For a team that just traded Johnny Manziel, they need to start winning and doing it fast.

Player of the Game: Lewis Ward. In a game where field goals were the only way to get on the board, Ward made all seven of his attempts his longest being from 47 yards out.

 

Calgary (5-0) -34

Saskatchewan (3-2) -22

The Calgary Stampeders have held onto their possession of being the best team in the league so far this year. They’ve jumped out to a 5-0 start through the first six weeks with the defence being the most dominant in the country. The offence hasn’t been as dynamic as it has in the past but with Bo Levi Mitchell at the helm, they have found ways to make the plays they’ve needed to. The Stamps would be without star running back Don Jackson in this one.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been a team mostly lead by the defence. Like Calgary they sport one of the most dominant there is holding the Tiger-Cats and Jeremiah Masoli to under 200 yards in the week prior. The offence has at times sputtered and Brandon Bridge looked to get his fourth consecutive start with Zach Collaros still being sidelined with his concussion.

It didn’t take for the Stamps long to jump ahead and they didn’t hold back either. After their opening drive went on a quick 2-and-out the Riders took the ball and on a 3rd and 1 they handed it off to Marcus Thigpen. Thigpen, however, fumbled the ball on the carry and it was recovered by Jameer Thurman.

On the next play, Mitchell threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Marken Michel for the 7-0 lead. After another four plays by the Riders, they had to punt the ball back to Calgary which after a no-yards penalty gave the Stamps great field position at the Saskatchewan 43-yard line.

After two plays couldn’t convert a first down Rene Paredes kicked 52-yard field goal for the 10-0 lead.

Saskatchewan’s next drive was another two-and-out and on the Josh Bartel punt, Terry Williams returned the kick 78 yards for the touchdown creating a 17-0 lead for Calgary before the end of the first quarter.

Things went from worse to much worse on the following Saskatchewan drive. Jerome Messam took a first down hand-off but stumbled and was stripped of the ball by Micah Johnson and recovered Ja’Gared Davis.

Four plays later Mitchell hit Eric Rogers for the 15-yard touchdown pass piling onto the massive lead and to a score of 24-0…..BEFORE the end of the first quarter. The Riders would get on the board in the second quarter when Brett Lauther kicked a 35-yard field goal making the score 24-3.

It didn’t end there for the Riders. Toby Antigha dropped back into coverage from the defensive line and came up with an interception on a pass and ran it 52 yards for the touchdown on the freakishly athletic play cutting the Calgary lead down to 24-10.

Brett Lauther would then kick the longest field goal of the year by any team in the CFL. He kicked a 56 yarder with 16 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 11 with a score of 24-13 at halftime.

Lauther would add another field goal this time from 48 yards out chipping away at the lead cutting it down to 24-16 in the third quarter. After each team swapped two-and-outs the Riders punted the ball, and on a shanked kick Williams picked up the ball and, on a hit, fumbled it. Ed Gainey came up with the recovery taking possession at the Calgary 40-yard line.

The drive would end in a 32-yard field goal and a 24-19 Calgary lead.

After Calgary drove down the field into the red zone Mitchell threw an interception to Crezdon Butler, however, Jovon Johnson was called for illegal contact on a receiver giving the Stamps the ball at the 15-yard line. Mitchell then threw the touchdown to DaVaris Daniels extending the lead to 31-19.

The Riders would again add another field goal, but it came from what was one of many questionable play-calling decisions made by the Riders and Offensive Coordinator Stephen McAdoo. On 2nd and 7 they decided to run the ball only picking up three yards.

The Stamps would go on to win 34-22 after both teams exchanged field goals.

The Stampeders played an amazing first quarter jumping out to a massive 24-0 lead early. The defence did their job all game maintaining a lead for Calgary from start to finish. Bo Levi Mitchell didn’t light it up but was extremely efficient going 18/24 for 187 yards and 3 TDs.

They took full advantage of the early Saskatchewan turnovers. When it looked like the Riders would take all the momentum in the third quarter Mitchell and co. did what they needed to and got points on the board to take some pressure off the defence. They didn’t have a great run game but did just enough and got a big run from Romar Morris with under four minutes to play to kill the clock.

For Saskatchewan, there seems to be some issue with the coaching staff. The defence continues to do their job week in and week out holding back even the best teams, but the offence is completely vanilla. The play-calling is as predictable as it gets with them seeming to run the ball on every first down and then throw it short of the first down marker on second downs. It seemed like they don’t trust Bridge with throwing the ball, the longest pass play was 17 yards. The amount of screen passes called shows lack of faith in the ability of the players they have on that side of the ball.

Brandon Bridge had a subpar night going 19/29 for 147 yards and 0 TDs. They finished with 100 yards on the ground, split amongst three different running backs. Charleston Hughes did record his 105th career sack moving him into 10th all-time.

This team is a championship calibre team if they have any sense of offensive ability. Something needs to change drastically on the offensive side of the ball and fast if they want to compete with anyone in the West. You can’t win against the Stamps when you make mistakes and kick field goals.

Player of the Game: Calgary Defense. They held the Riders to 247 yards of total offence and forced three turnovers, two fumbles and one on downs. They held the Riders to under 200 yards through the air and kept the lead alive while the offence couldn’t score in the entire second quarter.

 

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CFL Recap: Week 7

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