Sunday, July 14, 2013

CFL Recap Week 3

Scores and Standings

Saskatchewan vs Toronto
The Saskatchewan Roughriders continued their blazing start to the 2013 season, defeating the Toronto Argonauts 39-28 for their third-straight win on Thursday night.
Darian Durant was exceptional, connecting on 14 of his 19 passes for 245 yards and 3 touchdown passes before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent lower-body injury.
Drew Willy stepped in as his replacement and finished the game.
Kory Sheets was also dominant, recording his third-straight 100-yard game on the ground, running for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries. It marked the first time a Roughrider running back had accomplished the feat since Wes Cates did so back in 2006.
Smith, meanwhile, hauled in 3 passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After the Argos offence had a rough outing against BC in Week 2, collecting only 249 total yards, the unit got off to a hot start in this one.
Led by a nifty reverse that saw Andre Durie finesse his way to the outside for a gain of 22 yards, the Argos chipped their way into Riders territory en-route to the game’s first points, a 44-yard field goal by kicker Noel Prefontaine.

The three-pointer marked the second time in three games that the Boatmen scored on their opening possession, with Jason Barnes’ Week 1 touchdown against the Tiger-Cats being the first.

But Toronto’s lead was short-lived, as the white-hot Roughriders offence came alive shortly thereafter.
Trailing by 4 as a result of a missed field goal by Prefontaine that stayed in the endzone, the Riders would begin to pave their way into Toronto territory.

First, Durant connected with receiver Rob Bagg for a gain of 11 yards and then found the receiver once more two plays later for a gain of 12.
After Kory Sheets powered up the middle for a 5-yard run, setting up a crucial second down, Durant found Weston Dressler for 12 more yards. On the play, Khalif Mitchell was called for a roughing the passer penalty, giving the Riders a free 15 extra yards.

Two plays later, Bagg hauled in his third pass of the drive and tiptoed into the corner of the endzone to give the Riders a 7-4 lead.

The score was Bagg’s first since Sept. 25 2010, as the Canadian has been battling knee injuries for the batter part of the last two seasons.

It was also a milestone moment for Durant, as the toss was his 100th CFL touchdown pass of his career.

With the 1st quarter winding down, the Argos offence went back to work, looking to restore their early lead.

Starting from his own 29 yard line, Ricky Ray carried the offence to the tune of 5 consecutive completions, the third of which saw Riders DB Weldon Brown commit a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Durie that brought the drive inside Saskatchewan’s redzone.

Two plays after the penalty, Durie grabbed his third pass of the possession and powered his way in for his first touchdown of the season, giving the Argos an 11-7 lead.

The offences would continue to exchange punches midway through the second quarter, but this time the Riders would land one square to the chin of the Argos defence.

While it was Durant who carried the offence on Saskatchewan’s first scoring drive, Sheets took over on their second, with the tailback charging forward for big gains of 10, 6 and 19 yards.

Durant would catch a break after Sheets’ 19-yarder, as Jamie Robinson picked off his pass that was intended for Taj Smith and returned it 80 yards untouched to the endzone.

However, Robinson was called for pass interference, giving the Riders a fresh set of downs on Toronto’s 14-yard line.

Despite the close call, Durant stuck to his guns and immediately found Jock Sanders for a 9-yard gain. On the play, Kiante Tripp was called for roughing the passer, moving the drive up to the Argos’ 2 yard line.
One play after, Sheets plowed through the line for a 2-yard score, giving the Riders a 14-11 lead.

With less than a minute to go in the half, the Riders needed just one play to extend their lead to 10, as Durant found Smith wide open for a 61-yard touchdown.

Before the half came to a close, the Argos cut Saskatchewan’s lead down to a touchdown, with Prefontaine splitting the uprights from 44 yards out.

During the first 30 minutes of action, Ray tied an Argos franchise record for most consecutive completions to start a game, connecting on his first 12 attempts before a pass intended for Jeff Johnson was deflected to turf by Rey Williams.

The veteran finished the half 18-22 for 183 yards and a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Durant was good on nine of his 13 first half passes for 141 yards and a pair of majors. Sheets, meanwhile, continued his torrid start, as he collected 49 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

The Riders offence continued its strong play in the second half, with Durant once again needing just one play to find Smith for a long-distance touchdown, this time hooking up for a 70-yard score to extend their lead to 29-14.

The score marked the second one-play touchdown drive of the game, following up Smith’s first major from back in the second quarter.

After the Riders extended their lead to 18 thanks to a 21-yard field goal by Chris Milo, the Argos' slumbering offence finally woke up.
Quiet for most of the game, it was Chad Kackert who would revive Toronto's chances, has he lined up as a wideout and beat Craig Butler downfield for a 48-yard touchdown, cutting the Riders' lead to just 11.
But Sheets and the Riders offence were too much to handle on this night, as the tailback cruised through the Argos front seven for what seemed to be an easy 37-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach with just 2:15 left in the fourth quarter.
With 23 seconds to go in the final frame, QB Zach Collaros made the most of his releif appearance, driving the Argos 102 yards downfield on 11 plays, which he capped off a two-yard TD run of his own to make the final score 39-28 for the Riders.
Next week, the Argos head to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers, while the Riders return home to host the Tiger-Cats.
Calgary vs Montreal
Kevin Glenn picked up right where he left off after leading Calgary to a Grey Cup appearance last November, passing for 268 yards on 22 of 28 passing as the Stamps defeated the Montreal Alouettes 22-14 Friday night at Percival Molson Stadium.

Rene Paredes pitched in with five field goals while Nike Lewis and Brad Sinopoli each added 81 yards receiving in the Calgary victory.
Glenn was taking over behind centre after starter Drew Tate went down with a strained forearm late in Week 2’s contest with Saskatchewan.

It was a year ago to the day that the veteran quarterback stepped in for Tate in Montreal, helping lead them to a second-place finish before Tate returned late in the year.

As for the Alouettes, the week leading into Friday’s contest was like no other with both players and coaches answering questions about a Week 2 performance where they produced just 161 yards of total offence and were forced to punt 24 times by a stingy Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence. Following the game, the usually calm Anthony Calvillo called the performance “disgusting”.
Promising a better output this week, Calvillo and the Alouettes offence silenced their critics as quickly as possible, engineering a brilliant 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive, finding WR Brandon London in the endzone for an acrobatic 19-yard touchdown and an early lead.

Already without Tate, the Stamps offence was also missing second-year receiver Maurice Price who sat out with an injury.

It took Glenn some time to get in rhythm but the veteran found his way as the Stamps marched into the second quarter, leading back-to-back drives ending in Rene Paredes field goals from 21 and 20 yards out.

With Montreal up 7-6, Glenn continued to show veteran poise, leading the Stampeders 70 yards down the field before putting the ball in the endzone to take a 13-7 advantage. Scrimmaging from the nine yard line, Glenn’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage but landed right into the hands of Lewis who fell back over the goal line for the major.

The Stamps defence then hunkered down, holding Calvillo to only 92 yards passing and didn’t allow the Als over their side of centre after Montreal’s opening drive.

The Stamps seemed poised to take a stranglehold on the game with an impressive possession early in the third quarter.

First, Glenn found non-import quarterback-turned-receiver Sinopoli down the sideline for a smart one-handed catch for 41 yards, before connecting with Lewis for an 18-yard gain to set Calgary up at the Montreal one yard line. However a goal line stand by the Als forced Calgary to kick a field goal and only up their lead to 16-7.

Calgary’s defence continued to confuse Calvillo and the Als, forcing another stop and countering with a 39-yard Paredes field goal to extend the score to 19-7.

Calvillo began to find his receivers midway through the final frame, spotting SB Arland Bruce lll twice in stride, one of which was a 33-yard gain. But scrimmaging from the Calgary 43 yard line, the Als elected to go for it on third-and-two and Calvillo rolled out looking for RB Brandon Whitaker only to have the pass knocked down by linebacker Deron Mayo to force the turnover on downs.

Calgary’s defence was unrelenting on the ensuing Als possession as Charleston Hughes knocked Calvillo’s arm, forcing the fumble and the ball was recovered by defensive lineman Demonte’ Bolden.

With the Als offence unable to solve the Stamps, it was the special teams that stepped up to get Montreal right back into the game. Second-year defensive back Ed Gainey, leaped in front of a Rob Maver punt, recovering his own block and returning it 38 yards for a touchdown while cutting the lead to 19-14 with just over three minutes remaining.

That was as close as Montreal would get however as the Stamps defence swarmed Calvillo on the final two drives and Paredes nailed a clutch 39-yard field goal with 47 seconds remaining to seal a 22-14 Stampeders victory.

Calvillo finished with a modest 205 yards and one touchdown on 22 of 36 passing. Bruce lll led the Als in receiving with 5 catches for 80 yards.

The two teams complete a home-and-home next Saturday when they meet at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

Winnipeg vs Hamilton
Henry Burris led with his arm and his feet, passing for 362 yards and rushing for 47 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 25-20 Saturday night.

Following a 30-20 loss last week, Hamilton quarterback Burris vowed to improve heading into Saturday, saying that “as an offence we have to get better”. A tough task without star receiver Andy Fantuz and Onrea Jones.
One playmaker that was back however, was running back Chevon Walker who was a scratch due to injury in the previous two weeks.

Burris made good on his promise early – on the fourth play from scrimmage in fact – finding SB Samuel Giguere down the field for a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.

Last week it was the Blue Bombers defensive line that was receiving all the praise for a win over Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes and they picked up where they left off, getting to Burris three times on ensuing Hamilton drives.

After the Ticats added two singles, running back Chad Simpson got Winnipeg on the board when he bounced a run outside and raced 75 yards for a touchdown. A bobbled snap on the extra point kept the Bombers with only six but cut the lead to three.

Simpson had a phenomenal first half, entering the locker room with 100 yards on five carries.

On their following possession, the Bombers had a chance to tie it up but Justin Palardy rang a 40-yard field goal attempt off the left goal post, keeping the 9-6 lead intact.

The two teams traded punts before CB Jovon Johnson flipped the field with one play, taking a Josh Bartel kick back 42 yards to give his club instant field position.

From there, quarterbacks Buck Pierce and Justin Goltz teamed up to lead a 7-play drive capped off by an 8-yard touchdown scamper by the latter on a QB option play.

The Gotlz major followed by a 24-yard Luca Congi field goal late in the half gave Winnipeg a 13-12 lead which they took into locker room after 30.

The defences hunkered down in the third quarter but it was the kickers doing all the work. Josh Bartel soared two booming punts into the endzone for single points before Congi added a 24-yard field goal to put the Tiger-Cats back in the lead 17-13.

Congi had an opportunity to expand the lead but sailed a 27-yard attempt wide right, gaining a single.

Burris, who had been stymied by an active Winnipeg defensive front finally found his footing, leading an impressive 11-play, 86-yard drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie fullback John Delahunt to take their biggest lead of the game at 25-13.

Burris also made a his mark on the CFL record books on the play, moving into a tie with Matt Dunigan for 4th place on the all-time Touchdown Passing list with 306.

The Bombers would counter however and they would turn to Simpson.

The Bombers tailback took a sweep handoff, negotiated through a few tackles and turned up field for a 15-yard touchdown to cut Hamilton`s lead to 25-20 with just under three minutes remaining in he contest. The score capped off a 9-play, 92-yard drive.

Burris would show poise on the ensuing posession and close out the game with a pair of first downs, including an 11-yard run to seal the win.

Next week, the Ticats travel to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders while the Bombers return home to host the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.

BC vs Edmonton
Two consecutive touchdown drives to open the second half was all the BC Lions needed on a rainy night in Edmonton, leaving Commonwealth with a 17-3 win over the Eskimos.

Saturday night’s game marked the first regular season meeting between the teacher, Travis Lulay, and his former understudy Mike Reilly.

The two met briefly in the pre-season, each seeing three quarters, with Reilly coming out on top of his former club with 202 yards in a 27-22 exhibition win.

Lulay got the better of his old backup in this one however, passing for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Reilly completed 13 of 21 passes but only generated 97 yards.

Lulay also led his team in rushing, tucking the ball and running 9 times for 82 yards - 12 yards more than starting running back Andrew Harris.
It was a rainy evening at Commonwealth Stadium with the Eskimos playing in their second straight downpour in six days after outlasting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last weekend in a soaked Guelph, Ontario for their first win of the season.

The poor weather made its mark on the game early when the Lions attempted to gamble on third-and-one. A snap between centre and backup QB Thomas DeMarco slipped out of the short-yardage pivot’s hands forcing a turnover on downs.

The bobbled exchange set the Esks up in BC territory and eventually led to a 31-yard Grant Shaw field goal and a 3-0 Edmonton advantage.

The Esks special teams unit would come up with a big play again as linebacker Rennie Curran – in his CFL debut – blocked a Hugh O’Neill punt to force their second turnover of the game.

It set up a field goal attempt from 42 yards out by Shaw but holder Kerry Joseph couldn’t handle the snap in the wet conditions and it too resulted in a turnover. The Esks were about to attempt the kick from 32 yards out but an objectionable conduct call on running back Calvin McCarty moved the ball back.

The Lions tried to get on the board after a 22-yard reception by Harris and a 12-yard Lulay scamper set up an O’Neill field goal attempt. Not unlike Joseph, DeMarco couldn’t grasp the snap and O’Neill picked up the loose ball and booted it into the endzone. Eskimos linebacker JC Sherritt fielded the ball and conceded the single.

The teams entered halftime with Edmonton holding a 3-1 lead.

It took over two quarters but the game finally got its first major score and it came credit of receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux. Lulay engineered a 9-play drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown toss to Arceneaux who showed great concentration while giving his team an 8-3 third quarter lead.

Coming off a score on their first possession of the second half, the Lions followed it up with another major on the next series.

Harris took a swing pass out of the backfield and powered his way 16-yards for a major. The 8-play, 75-yard drive extended the Leos lead to 15-3.

As the rain started to ease, Lulay began finding his receivers but he made respectable noise with his legs, rushing for 77 yards on 7 attempts through just three quarters of play.

As the game entered its final seven minutes, Lulay continued to engineer drives that didn't necessarily result in major scores but did flip the field, making matters more difficult for Reilly and the Eskimos offence who couldn't seem to gain traction in the second half.

BC earned two more points with just over four minutes to play when Shaw conceded a safety on a punt, putting the score at 17-3 Lions.

Reilly had a chance to make a dent into the lead and try to mount a comeback late but an interception thrown to DB Cord Parks with 1:58 on the clock sealed the win for the Lions.

The two teams complete a home-and-home under the roof of BC Place next Saturday night at 10pm ET.