It’s over, it’s finally over. The CFL regular season has ended. Calgary secures the first seed in the West while Toronto and Montreal audition for next season. There’s not much to say this week, a lot of meeningless games played with backup players. Thanks for tuning in with us this season, we’ll be back next season but it’ll be a different format.

Week 21 Bye: 

Toronto (4-13)-24

Ottawa (10-7)-9

Kicking off the closing week of the CFL season was a battle of Ontario from the Nation’s capital. The Toronto Argonauts took on the Ottawa RedBlacks from TD Place Stadium. This game zero implications on it with the Argos being left out of the playoff’s weeks ago and the RedBlacks winning the division in Week 20.

Ottawa would sit Trevor Harris in the finale with Dominique Davis getting the start under center. Their main goal was to get out of this game unscathed and healthy heading into the bye week before the East Final.

The Argos, on the other hand, would continue to audition players to potentially clear up a few positions heading into the offseason. James Franklin would start at quarterback again, looking like he could be the leader of the team in Week 19 but coming up a bit less impressive in Week 20.

This game wasn’t expected to showcase much action with so little on the line and was essentially a preseason game with starters from Ottawa on the bench and the revolving door of players the Argos were trying out.

Ottawa got on the board first with an impressive 8-play drive from their own 34-yard line to the Toronto 3. The drive stalled ending in a 10-yard Lewis Ward field goal and the 3-0 lead. The rest of the first half was quiet with just three more scores.

The Argos added two field goals while Dominique Davis took his team down the field on an 11-play drive from his own 35-yard line to the Toronto 23. Davis found Julian Feoli-Gudino for the 23-yard TD and after the converted 2-point conversion Ottawa took a 12-6 lead into the half.

SJ Green added to his season yardage total in the first half reaching the 1000-yard mark in a season for the sixth time in his career. As both teams came back out for the second half they made changes at QB. McLeod Bethel-Thompson would come in for Toronto with Danny Collins taking over for Ottawa.

Bethel-Thompson took the team down the field to start the second half. After a 34-yard run by Branden Burks and a 32-yard catch by Llevi Noel, Dustin Brown kicked a 13-yard field goal trimming the lead down to 12-9.

A safety and a 32-yard Lewis Ward field goal gave Ottawa a 17-9 lead in the third quarter. Collins would throw one short to Seth Coate who made an amazing catch coming back to the ball on the ground, but it would be ruled incomplete. Replays showed that the juggling catch never touched the ground, but the play was never challenged nor reviewed resulting in an Ottawa punt.

On Bethel-Thompson’s first throw after taking possession he threw one into the arms of Rico Murray giving the RedBlacks the ball back.

Three plays later Collins threw one to Dominique Rhymes on 2nd and 5. Rhymes made an amazing juggling catch tipping the ball up over the defender’s head and making the catch past the first down marker and taking it down to the 1-yard line.

Mossis Madu took it the extra yard for the score and the 24-9 lead. The rest of the game just kind of fizzled to a finish as both teams exchanged drives and tripped over each other. Literally.

Two penalties were called for “accidental pass-interference” – one on each team because a receiver tripped over the DB’s legs. The penalty is just ten yards but makes absolutely no sense when the defender has done nothing wrong on the play.

Ottawa closed out the 24-9 win as they now head into the bye week before hosting the Eastern Final in two weeks. There isn’t much to analyze in this game as previously mentioned this game strongly resembled a preseason matchup.

The one positive for Ottawa was the level of depth this game showed. They played most of their backups throughout the lineup and were able to put together a commanding win as they seemed to dominate through most of the game.

Player of the Game: Jon Gott. Gott had the celebration of the year after a RedBlack TD he ran up to a fan, grabbed a can of beer and poured it through his facemask, over his face and beard! Ok for real: Dominique Davis. Davis went 16/23 for 220 yards and 1TD in his first start and just in one half as he filled in for Trevor Harris.

 

Winnipeg (10-7)-24

Edmonton (8-9)-33

The first game of Saturday’s tripleheader continued with the theme of Week 21, teams were opting to sit starters as to not risk any injuries going into the playoffs so the games for lack of a better word are meaningless.

Streveler got the start in this one as the Bombers would sit most of their starters due to already having a playoff spot locked up. He’d waste no time driving downfield as he’d push into Eskimos’ territory and set up a field goal for receiver Robert Lankford, who was kicking in place of Justin Medlock who also got sat. He’d convert his first career field goal attempt and become the first player to record a field goal and a touchdown in the same season since 2000.

The Eskimos’ offense wouldn’t take long to find their stride either, marching down the field relatively easy before Mike Reilly would connect with his favorite target Duke Williams who would make a nice catch for the game’s first TD.

That momentum was short-lived, however, as Streveler would connect with Corey Washington on an 80-yard TD the very next play and give the Bombers the lead once again.

After a couple of undisciplined penalties by the Bombers, the Eskimos’ would find themselves deep into Bombers territory and would rely on the ground game from there, as CJ Gable would punch it into the end zone and give the Esks’ the lead again in a back-and-forth half.

The Eskimos’ would add on another field goal before halftime and take a 23-10 lead into the half.
After an uneventful third quarter, the Eskimo’s would spark some life into the game as CJ Gable would split through the Bombers defense from 27-yards out and scamper into the end zone.

Streveler would come back into the game after previously being benched for third-string QB Bryan Bennett, Streveler would find rookie WR Rashaun Simonise deep downfield, however, Aaron Grymes would shoelace tackle him on the 1-yard line preventing Simonise from getting his first career TD. That opened the door for RB Johnny Augustine who himself, would score his first CFL TD from the 1-yard line.

The Bombers offense would keep rolling with Streveler at the helm as he’d find some space and run 29-yards for a TD bringing the Bombers within one score.

That’s as close as they’d get through as they’d throw incomplete on third down the next drive and a Sean Whyte field goal would seal the deal for the Eskimos’ as they’d go on to win 33-24.

A season of disappointment is finally over for the Eskimos’, the Grey Cup hosts of 2018 won’t even play in the 2018 playoffs after a hot start. They head into the offseason with a lot of questions as their top 3 WR’s and QB Mike Reilly are all free agents heading into the offseason. The dynamic of the Eskimos’ could change drastically. I also believe there will be some coaching changes, maybe not the head coach himself, but I believe some of the coordinators need to be gone. This team has too much talent to play the way they’ve played.

Winnipeg will get the joy of heading into RiderNation for the Western Semi-Final, where I’m going to personally predict them to lose. It’s going to be tough sledding against a Riders defense that’s playing extremely well, coupled with the crowd noise.

Player of the Game: CJ Gable. 18 carries for 112 yards and 2 TDs.

Montreal (4-13)-30

Hamilton (8-9)-28

The second game of a Saturday tripleheader saw the Montreal Alouettes take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from the Hammer. Much like the two games prior, this one was set to be much like a preseason game with Hamilton clinching a playoff spot weeks earlier and the Als season being over in the same fashion.

Much like Ottawa, the Ti-Cats sat many starters including their quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Hamilton put Dane Evans under center in his first career CFL start while Montreal continued to roll with Johnny Manziel. Hamilton looked to stay healthy while Montreal was auditioning players for next year.

The Als opened the game on their first drive after forcing a Ti-Cat two-and-out. Manziel took the offense on a seven-play drive from his own 47-yard line to the end zone. Manziel capped off the drive with a 30-yard TD pass to Eugene Lewis for the 7-0 lead.

After Liram Hajrullahu kicked a 22-yard field goal to get Hamilton on the board his defense would force a quick Montreal drive getting the ball back. However, the ensuing Cats drive would be just as quick. After two plays Evans would be sacked resulting in a fumble recovered by Montreal at the 53-yard line.

The Als would send Antonio Pipkin in at QB on the following drive and the team marched down the field and into the end zone on a 1-yard QB sneak by Pipkin and the 14-3 lead. Hamilton would answer back on their next drive.

Evans took the offense down the field from his own 38-yard line and into the end zone. Evans found Bralon Addison who made a beautiful leaping catch for the 20-yard TD and the 14-10 score. Montreal took those points right back on their next drive though.

It only took one play but Pipkin hit Eugene Lewis for a 75-yard TD bomb. Lewis made a great catch over the defender and took it the rest of the way to extend the lead to 20-11 after a missed two-point conversion attempt, a score the Als took into halftime.

Hamilton would cut the lead down to just two on their first drive of the second half. Evans completed a pass to Mike Jones over the middle for 46 yards. Five plays later Sean Thomas-Erlington ran it in from two yards out for the TD and 20-18 score.

Later in the quarter, Pipkin took the Als down the field for a 43-yard Boris Bede field goal pushing the lead back out to 23-18. On the ensuing kickoff, Terrell Sinkfield would be stripped of the ball by Brandon Calver and Ty Cranston recovered for Montreal at the Hamilton 19-yard line.

Five plays later Pipkin took the ball into the end zone from a yard out for the 30-18 Montreal lead.

After a 36-yard run by John White and some penalties, Evans hit Mike Jones for a 26-yard TD bringing Hamilton to within five points at 30-25.

Montreal turned to Matt Shiltz on their next drive but both teams ended up trading drives until there were about five minutes left in the game. Hamilton then went on a long drive chewing up yards and clock.

After a 24-yard run by John White and a couple 20-yard passes from Evans to Bralon Addison the Ti-Cats would have to settle for a 20-yard Hajrullahu field goal bringing them to within two points. On Montreal’s next drive Shiltz had a pass sail over the receiver and into the arms of Courtney Stephen for the interception.

Evans then found Sean Thomas-Erlington on three straight passes for a total of 49 yards setting up a 49-yard field goal attempt for Hajrullahu with 19 seconds on the clock. Hajrullahu tried to win the game on the last play but pushed the kick wide left giving Montreal the 30-28 win.

For a game with most players coming off the bench, it was rather exciting especially late as Hamilton almost fought their way back into the game. It was an impressive showing for Dane Evans and a few Ti-Cat receivers.

Mike Jones and Bralon Addison both put up 100-yard games and both were able to get into the end zone. With the team losing Brandon Banks for the year having both these weapons step up could help calm some in wondering where their offense will come from in the playoffs.

Montreal was able to pull out their fourth win in the last game and were able to get some big games out of some offensive pieces they could build off next year. William Stanback and Eugene Lewis are starting to prove themselves as offensive weapons while Antonio Pipkin showed another great performance to help make his case as an option at QB next year.

Player of the Game: Dane Evans. The young QB made a few mistakes with a couple of interceptions but he almost willed his team to victory. In his first start, Evans went 22/37 for 315 yards and 2TD’s with the two picks. His team didn’t win but they very well should have with a successful field goal to end the game.

 

Calgary (12-5)– 26

BC (9-8)– 9

Calgary would head into BC for the last game of the CFL regular season and the third game of Saturday’s tripleheader in Wally Buono’s final regular season game as a head coach.
BC would start with the ball and create some momentum early as Travis Lulay would find Cory Watson for a 35-yard completion, the Lions would have to punt the ball over but Ty Long pinned the Stamps on their five-yard line. Mitchell would take over under center, playing for the first time in Calgary’s regular-season finale as he usually sits the game. Calgary would settle for two field goals early and take a 6-0 lead.

The Stampeders would score the first major of the game after a highlight-reel catch by Chris Matthews set them up at the BC 1-yard line. Don Jackson would run the ball in and give the Stampeders a 12-0 lead after the first quarter.

After an abysmal start to the second quarter that saw three straight punts, Calgary would once again find paydirt on a long drive filled with small gains. Mitchell would find Markeith Ambles for a 10-yard touchdown and give the Stampeders a 19-0 lead.

The Stampeders would add two more field goals in the final 40 seconds of the quarter and go up 25-0 at halftime, that’s when Buono would shift his focus to next week’s playoff game, taking out Lulay and other starters out of the game.

A very uneventful third quarter with no scoring until an errant long snap on a Calgary punt that leads to the ball bouncing into the end zone forcing the Stampeders to give up two points.

The safety sparked the Lions offense though as they came out with their best drive of the game following as Jonathan Jennings would connect with DeVier Posey for a 40-yard gain, that drive would be capped off by Cody Fajardo with a one-yard QB plunge.

Calgary would tag on a rouge to give themselves a 26-9 lead and that’s how this game would finish as Calgary would secure the win and the division title in the process.

BC would come out flat in Wally Buono’s final regular season game, kind of disappointing, but also understandable, it’s hard to wake up and play hard in a meaningless game. I understand the game was for seeding, but players are trying not to get hurt so they can play in the playoffs, regardless of opponent. BC will head into Hamilton for the Eastern Semi-Final which should be an interesting matchup. BC has been one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch and should be a force in the playoffs.

Calgary is the opposite of BC, while they are winning games, they’ve looked like a terrible team down the stretch and being in the very tough Western Division side, they’ll have tough sledding through the playoff, luckily, they only must play one game. The Western Final which will be held in Calgary this year as once again, the West goes through Calgary.

Player of the Game: Bo Levi Mitchell. 20/32, 278 yards, 1 TD.

CFL Week 21 Recap

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