Week 13. My favorite week in the CFL, Labour Day Rematch week and it didn’t disappoint. Huge wins from Edmonton and Hamilton as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive. Saskatchewan looks to be the second-best team in the league currently and is BC going to be the team on the West on the outside looking in despite playing decent football?

 

 

Week 13 Bye: 

 

Ottawa (6-4)   -14

BC (3-6)  -26

 

Kicking off the week of Labour Day Weekend rematches was the one game that wasn’t a rematch. The BC Lions took on the Ottawa RedBlacks from BC Place. The Lions had the bye week during Week 12 and were looking to take on the RedBlacks who suffered a loss to the Alouettes a week prior.

The Lions lost a close game to Saskatchewan in Week 11 before the bye and have been an up and down team all year. With Travis Lulay taking over at quarterback they have seemed to gain some traction but still sit in the last place in the West at 3-6.

The Ottawa RedBlacks lost a disappointing game to Montreal in Week 12, not taking credit away from the Al’s or Antonio Pipkin. The RedBlacks couldn’t find any consistency in the game from a week ago, much like the entirety of their season.

Ottawa was sitting in first place in the East at 6-4 heading into this matchup, but the Ti-Cats weren’t far behind at 5-5 leaving the RedBlacks needing to get a victory against a solid Lions team.

Coming into the game we had two teams on opposite sides of the rushing chart. Williams Powell sat in second place for Ottawa with 764 yards and Jeremiah Johnson in eighth place with 365. Both team’s passing attacks sat right around the middle of the pack.

It was a bad opening drive for the Lions as they had their starting center and quarterback suffer injuries in two consecutive plays. First Cody Husband went down with what looked like a serious knee injury after teammate Jeremiah Johnson was tackled into the back of his leg. It was later revealed to be a broken fibula.

One play later Travis Lulay was poked in the eye and despite not missing a play looked like his vision was affected by some swelling. Not too affected, however.

The RedBlacks would punt the ball on their first drive but it would be blocked by Mitch Barnett and recovered by BC at the Ottawa 33-yard line. Two plays later Lulay would hit Ricky Collins for the 33-yard touchdown for the 7-0 lead.

On Ottawa’s next drive, Trevor Harris would be hit as he threw the ball resulting in an interception by Winston Rose giving BC the ball at their own 54-yard line. The drive, however, would end in a turnover of their own.

The Lions opted to go for it on a 3rd and 5 with Cody Fajardo trying to run for the first down. He would be stopped short giving the ball back to Ottawa.

The Lions d-line wreaked havoc on Ottawa and Trevor Harris through the entire first half. Harris felt pressure and never seemed comfortable and it showed late with him rushing a throw into the hands of the defender.

Anthony Thompson would come up with the interception giving BC the ball at the Ottawa 30-yard line. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Lulay would take a massive hit from two RedBlack defenders with it looking like the crown of the helmet of JR Tavai contacted Lulay’s chin.

Lulay was in a considerable amount of pain and would be replaced with Jonathan Jennings to end the half and consequently the game. The Lions would settle for a field goal on the drive, a 20-yarder by Ty Long for the 10-1 lead.

Opening the second half both teams would start their back up QBs with Dominique Davis coming in for Ottawa to start the third quarter. Harris didn’t seem injured in any way, meaning the slow first half could have been what lead to the change.

On the third play of the drive, Davis would fire one over the middle, overthrowing his receiver only to have it picked off by Bo Lokombo setting BC up in the red zone.

Jennings would find Bryan Burnham, who worked his way back to the football in the back of the end zone for the 4-yard TD and after a failed 2-point attempt the 16-1 lead.

Trevor Harris would return to the game for Ottawa after Davis threw for just 12 yards and 1 interception through two drives. Harris and the RedBlack offense finally found some rhythm going on their longest drive to that point.

Lead by William Powell who ran the ball five times for 23 yards and had one catch for seven, the drive would end in a 2-yard touchdown pass to Brad Sinopoli cutting the score down to 16-8.

Lewis Ward would add two field goals in the fourth quarter, one from 44 yards out and one from 31. Ty Long would kick one of his own from 37 yards away to make it a 19-14 game with five minutes left.

Jeremiah Johnson went off for a 33-yard gain before scoring with under two minutes left in the game. Johnson would seal the victory with a 6-yard TD run and a 26-14 score and victory with the RedBlacks not having enough time for a comeback.

The BC Lions were able to pull out a tough hard-fought win with their backup quarterback. Travis Lulay threw for over 100 yards and looked like he was really starting to gain rhythm and momentum before taking the hit from Tavai.

Jennings came in and played a solid game in his first action in 10 weeks. He finished 10/12 for 68 yards and 1 TD. The run game for the Lions was a nice compliment to a defensive heavy game. Jeremiah Johnson rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown and was especially effective late putting the game away.

Jennings got a tonne of help from Ricky Collins who had 105 yards on 10 catches and 1TD. However, the defense won this game for the Lions. They generated a tonne of pressure on Harris and totaled 6 sacks and 3 interceptions.

For a team that has struggled through a good portion of the year, this win moves them closer to Winnipeg in the West and keeps their playoff hopes alive.

The Ottawa RedBlacks had very little to take from this game positively. The offense could not move the ball except for one drive. Trevor Harris didn’t stand a chance in this game being hit on almost every play. He was sacked 6 times and threw for 216 yards and 2 interceptions.

The one positive for Ottawa’s offense was William Powell. Powell ran for 82 yards and added 24 through the air and was the only offense for the team all game long. The defense for the RedBlacks played a great game as well, generating pressure on both Lions QB’s with 2 sacks and a forced fumble.

But the defense and Powell’s contributions weren’t enough to overcome the short-comings of Harris and the passing game. This is the second week in a row where Harris has struggled in a RedBlack loss. The inconsistency continues to be a massive issue for this team week in and week out and now they find themselves only one game up on the Ti-Cats.

Player of the Game: Odell Willis. Willis totaled 4 tackles and 3 sacks while making Harris’ life a nightmare in this game. The defense for BC was the pillar in this victory and it was all lead by Willis who now has 8 sacks on the year.

 

 

Hamilton (5-5)   – 36

Toronto (3-7)  – 25

The first game of the Saturday triple-header, as well as the first Labour Day rematch game of the weekend as Hamilton, would visit BMO Field and play the Argos.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats came into the Labour Day Rematch with the opportunity to tie Ottawa for first place in the East with a win and a Redblacks loss while the Toronto Argonauts are slipping and losing ground in the East with their recent two-game losing streak.

The Tabbies would be the first ones to score in the Labour Day rematch when Jeremiah Masoli connected with wideout Luke Tasker four times in a row for 77-yards, culminating in a 17-yard TD pass with just over 9 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Argonauts would put some offensive drives together, led by James Wilder Jr on the ground that would only amount for two field goals from Zackary Medeiros and the Argonauts would finish the first quarter down 7-6.

The Ticats started bringing things together in the second quarter as Masoli would find Brandon Banks in the end zone after a 26-yard catch, the Ticats would go up 15-6 with 11 minutes left in the first half.

Toronto would not go silently into the night though as Bethel-Thompson would find Armanti Edwards two times in one drive, once for a 31-yard pitch and then connecting with each other on a 10-yard touchdown toss to pull the Argos within a field goal.

Neither offense would be able to convert their opportunities into points and we’d go into the half with the Ticats leading 15-13.

Toronto would start the third quarter aggressively as they’d attempt to go for it on a third-and-short from their own 45-yard line, however, James Franklin would bobble the snap and would be stuffed by the Ticats. Toronto however, would hold the Ticats to a field goal on that drive, nonetheless, the Tabbies would go up by five.

Follow an Argos punt, the Ticats would take a stranglehold on the game from a Masoli-Banks connection for 78-yards, pushing the Ticats lead to 25-13. On the play, Banks would surpass 1,000 yards receiving for the second time in his career.

It wouldn’t take long for the Argos to respond, however, as a very efficient eight-play drive through the air and on the ground led to a James Franklin QB sneak from a yard out to bring Toronto within a TD.

That’s as close as the Argos would get in this one though as Hamilton wouldn’t let this game slip. Masoli would find Alex Green for a 34-yard TD and put this game out of reach for the Argos.

The Argos would get another garbage time TD from Bethel-Thompson but it wouldn’t be enough as the Ticats would hold on and win 36-25.

Toronto will get the Week 14 bye and they’ll need it as if they want any chance to compete in the playoffs this year they have to figure out their problems and close out the stretch with some good football.

The Ticats with a win pulled into a share of first place in the East with Ottawa, however, they will have their hands full next week as they’ll take on the leagues best team in the Calgary Stampeders. All is good in Hamilton though as they seemed to have solved their problems and look to be a lock in the Eastern division playoffs.

Player of the Game: Brandon Banks. 6 catches, 153 yards, and 2 TDs.

 

Saskatchewan (6-4)  -32

Winnipeg (5-6)  -27

The rematch from Labour Day weekend between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg took place Saturday afternoon in the Banjo Bowl. This classic annual is of the most anticipated back to back games to happen every year.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had been struggling as of late losing three games in a row. Losing to the Riders the week prior at New Mosaic Stadium the Bombers found themselves in a rough place at 5-6 behind the 6-4 Riders but could make up for it with a win in this one.

They have the most dynamic offensive weapon in the game in Andrew Harris, who was finding a bunch of success against the Saskatchewan defense in Week 12 before leaving the game in the second half. Matt Nichols would need Harris’ production to pull out a win in the Banjo Bowl.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been the hottest team in the league over the last three weeks. They had won three in a row and have shown a great balance between the offense and defense and special teams.

The defense has been dominant for the Riders coming into this game with a rhythmic offense. The only issue has been the offense taking their time to find that rhythm. Chris Jones would be expecting a bit of a quicker start in the Banjo Bowl rematch.

Winnipeg opened the game with an efficient drive but was shut down on the Saskatchewan 21-yard line. They would have to settle for a 28-yard Justin Medlock field goal and the 3-0 lead.

The Riders’ repetitive play-calling cost them a few drives later. They continued to run bubble screens on a few first downs and the Bombers made them pay for it. On the screen pass to Kyran Moore, Anthony Gaitor came up with the interception and returned it 55 yards for the pick-six and the 10-0 lead.

Saskatchewan would get a pick-six of their own on the following Bomber drive. Matt Nichols tried to dump the ball off to Andrew Harris in a pile of bodies around the line of scrimmage. Willie Jefferson came up with the pick and ran it back 95 yards for the TD and the 10-7 score.

After the Rider defense stopped the Bombers on their next drive, Winnipeg would pin Saskatchewan deep in their own territory resulting in a punt from their own end zone. A decent return from Nic Demski would give Winnipeg the ball at the Saskatchewan 28-yard line.

After a questionable illegal contact on a receiver penalty was called on the Riders the Bombers would add a 1-yard QB sneak by Chris Streveler for the TD and the 17-7 lead.

Saskatchewan would cut the Bomber lead down to just a touchdown on their ensuing drive. After Zach Collaros hit Jordan Williams-Lambert for a 24-yard gain, they would have to settle for a 17-yard Brett Lauther field goal and the 17-10 score.

The Green & White would try and build some momentum with another forced turnover. Nichols would have a pass bounce off the hands of a receiver and into the arms of Loucheiz Purifoy for the interception.

The pick would result in a 36-yard Lauther field goal and the 17-13 Winnipeg lead. The Bombers would turn the ball over again on their next drive. Nichols would throw the ball up to Drew Wolitarsky to the end zone.

Ed Gainey would come up with a big tip of the ball allowing Samuel Eguaveon to come up with the interception.

Mike O’Shea would challenge for pass interference and after review the command centre would determine there was PI giving Winnipeg the ball at the Saskatchewan 7-yard line.

For me, the call of PI was extremely questionable however the Riders would get it right back.

On the first play after the call, Nichols would try to throw the ball away but ended up flipping it to Eguaveon who returned the interception 103 yards for a pick-six and the 20-17 Rider lead.

The Riders took the lead into the half and came out moving the ball effectively on an 8-play drive but would have to settle for a 39-yard field goal making it 23-17.

The Bombers made a change at QB entering the second half putting in Streveler in on their first drive. Streveler would throw yet another interception on his second drive of the half. The ball was deflected into the air with it falling to Purifoy for the pick.

Saskatchewan would turn the interception into points with Brett Lauther kicking a 23-yarder to take the 26-17 lead.

Winnipeg would try and take some momentum back in the fourth quarter forcing a turnover of their own. Jeff Hecht would lay out a massive hit on Collaros forcing a fumble recovered by Adam Bighill at the Saskatchewan 45-yard line.

Six plays later Streveler threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Petermann, the first touchdown catch of his career and the 26-24 score.

Zach Collaros left the game for concussion testing after the huge hit from Hecht that forced the fumble. Brandon Bridge would come in at QB for the Riders for the rest of the game.

The Riders would have to punt from their own end zone after a two and out with Bridge, giving Winnipeg great field position from their own 52-yard line.

Streveler would hit Darvin Adams for a 40-yard pass before having to kick a 21-yard field goal and taking the late lead at 27-26.

Bridge and the Riders would drive down the field with Tre Mason running the ball four times for a total of 20 yards leading to a 15-yard Lauther field goal taking the lead back at 29-27.

The Rider defense would stop the Bombers on two straight drives the latter resulting in an interception by Mike Edem on a 3rd and 5 giving Saskatchewan the ball at the Winnipeg 45-yard line.

After two straight running plays, Brett Lauther would kick a 45-yard field goal upping the Rider lead to 32-27.

Much like throughout the entire game the Rider defense came up big after Streveler hit Corey Washington for 26 yards, they would stop the Bombers on three straight plays ending the game and sealing the win.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders continue to be the hottest team in the CFL right now with their fourth straight win. They move to a 7-4 record and remain just behind Calgary in second place in the West.

The defense continues to be everything for them. They came up with 14 of the 32 points both off pick-sixes and dominated the Bombers through most of the game.

The Rider D forced five turnovers, all interceptions and three sacks on both Bomber QB’s.

They held Winnipeg to just 65 yards rushing with Demski being the leading rusher at just 32 yards. They completely shut down Andrew Harris who only had 21 yards on the ground and made Matt Nichols look like deer in the headlights.

The only question is the offense which looked shaky at times and now has lost Collaros again, this time who knows for how long if the injury is deemed a concussion. It’s an obstacle they’ll have to work hard to overcome but this defense is out of this world right now and may just be enough for them to win in the short-term future.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers might be in trouble. With this loss they fall to 5-7 and look like their best chance at a playoff spot now would be via the cross-over. The offense looked lost in the first half, while they did move the ball efficiently at times the five turnovers are something no team can give up.

Which brings me to the biggest problem for Winnipeg. Matt Nichols. This is now four games in a row that the Bombers have lost and four where Nichols has looked completely out of the game. It looked like having his own fans boo him in multiple games has gotten to him as he forced passes and plays rather than live to die another down.

With Streveler coming in and looking like he may have found a bit of rhythm despite throwing two picks, he may be the guy that Winnipeg should turn to. He won them games early in the year and almost completed the comeback in this one. He makes plays and the offense looks energized with him under center.

The defense for Winnipeg was and continues to be a strong piece of the team. Despite Saskatchewan racking up 205 yards through the air and 124 on the ground the Bomber D had one sack and forced two turnovers, one being a pick-six and the other being a fumble that resulted in a TD for their offense. A QB change could be what this team needs to make a run late, behind Andrew Harris and a powerful defense.

Player of the Game: Willie Jefferson/Samuel Eguaveon/Loucheiz Purifoy: It’s too easy to pick the entire Rider defense and it’s too hard not to single out these three playmakers.

Jefferson’s one sack and 95-yard pick-six, Eguaveon’s one sack and potentially two interceptions minus the one called back and 103-yard pick six and Purifoy’s eight tackles and two interceptions were the cornerstone to the defense completely dismantling the Bombers.

 

 

Calgary (9-1)  – 42

Edmonton (6-5)  – 48

In my opinion, this is the best Labour Day rivalry in the CFL and the rematch didn’t disappoint whatsoever as for the two teams combined for 90 points in a pivotal Western division matchup. Calgary with a win can basically all but secure first place in the West already and Edmonton with a win can keep pace and give themselves a shot at winning the West.

Edmonton wasted no time getting on the board in the LDR as Mike Reilly would connect with Bryant Mitchell who is replacing Derel Walker in the lineup for a 35-yard gain followed by a 42-yard pass to Duke Williams that would put the Eskimos on the doorstep. Mike Reilly would finish the drive off by plunging two-yards into the end zone to give the Eskimos an early 7-0 lead.

Calgary didn’t take long to respond however as they would score less than a minute later, Bo Levi Mitchell would find DaVaris Daniels in stride for a 77-yard touchdown as Daniels would go untouched into the end zone. Less than 5 minutes into the game and both teams have majors on the board.

After the Eskimos would go two-and-out and punt the ball, on the return Adam Konar would force the ball out of Terry Williams hands and Natey Adjei would recover it to give the Eskimos good field position. The Eskimos would capitalize off that good field position as Reilly would once again find Duke Williams for a 29-yard touchdown putting the Eskimos up 14-7.

Uncharacteristic play by the Stampeders as they’d once again turn the ball over, this time an interception by Forrest Hightower that the Eskimos would once again punish as Reilly would find Vidal Hazelton for another major and give the Eskimos a 21-7 lead.

Although Edmonton had scored three touchdowns in less than 10 minutes, Calgary wasn’t out of the game just yet. After intercepting Mike Reilly the Stampeders would drive down the field finding themselves on Edmonton’s three-yard line, that’s where Romar Morris would punch it in from bringing the Stampeders within a TD.

What an exciting first quarter, we’d go into the second as Sean Whyte would kick a 52-yard field goal to put the Eskimos up 10. Calgary on the next drive would attempt to go for it on third down from the Eskimos three-yard line but get stopped by the defense thus turning the ball over the fourth time in the half.

Edmonton would score once more before the end of the half as after a length drive Mike Reilly would find himself on the 1-yard line, which he would punch it in from for his 10th rushing TD of the season. The Eskimos would now be leading 31-14 with roughly a minute to go in the half.

Calgary would get some much-needed points before the half though as Mitchell would connect with Marken Michel for a 41-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 31-21 heading into halftime.

After an exciting first half that saw both teams combined for 52 points, the second half would be much more relaxed. Sean Whyte would open the scoring in the second half putting the Eskimos up by 13. Calgary would answer though on the very next play, Romar Morris would run straight up the middle for a 75-yard rushing TD which would cut the lead to 34-28.

The Eskimos once again, as they’ve done all night would answer as Mike Reilly would find himself on the 1-yard line again and just like he’s done all year would punch it in, this time for his third touchdown of the night and 11th of the season. The Eskimos would now lead 41-28.

After a short drive from Calgary, Edmonton would push their lead even further ahead as Kenny Stafford would bring in a Mike Reilly pass for a 6-yard TD and put the Eskimos up 48-28.

Calgary wouldn’t give up though. After some nice scrambling from Mitchell, he’d connect with Romar Morris in the end zone bringing the Stampeders within 13 points with 10 minutes left to play.

Calgary would once again find the end zone as Edmonton’s offense would start sputtering for the first time in the game. Romar Morris once again would catch a TD pass from Mitchell and pull the Stampeders within 6 points with just over two minutes remaining in the game.

That’s as close as they’d get, however, they did get one last chance at winning the game but Mitchell was unable to find anybody in the end zone as the clock hit 0’s and Edmonton would hang on fora  48-42 win in the Labour Day Rematch and give Calgary their second loss of the season.

The Eskimos got a much-needed win over Calgary, it doesn’t really affect the standings too much as I believe Calgary will handle their business the rest of the season and finish first in the West, however, it does prove to Edmonton that if they play correctly they can beat Calgary, something they haven’t really been able to do the last couple of years.

Calgary played an uncharacteristically bad game turning the ball over 7 times and even with that almost won the game, they are by far the best team in the league and will handle their business down the stretch and more than likely will be playing in this stadium months from now in the Grey Cup.

Player of the Game: I’m going to go off the board with this one, most people would probably select Mike Reilly as he did have six touchdowns in total on almost 400 yards passing, but I’m going to go with Romar Morris. 7 carries for 95 yards and 2 TD’s as well as 5 catches for 52 yards and 2 TD’s, not often do you see 4 TD’s come out of a player that isn’t a QB and even though his team lost he should be acknowledged for his performance.

CFL Week 13 Recap

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