Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CFL Recap Week 5

Scores and Standings

Edmonton vs Montreal:
Brandon Whitaker ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and the Montreal defence held off a dramatic late surge by the Eskimos to defeat Edmonton 32-27.

Whitaker added another 40 yards in the air in his most convincing performance since returning from an injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season.

It wasn't all good news for the versatile tailback however, as he left with just over a minute left in the contest with an injury.

Kicking off Week 5 in the CFL were two teams who were visibly looking for consistency, especially on offence. The Als came out on fire a week before, putting up 24 first-quarter points in Calgary only to add only three in the second half. An opposite story for the Eskimos, who were slow out of the gate in BC but pulled to within 10 only when the game was all but out of reach.
Calvillo and the Als got on the board first when, given a short field, helped set up a 32-yard Sean Whyte field goal.

The Eskimos answered with a 19-yarder of their own off the foot of Grant Shaw on the ensuing possession – made possible by a 44-yard over-the-shoulder catch by veteran slotback Fred Stamps.

Tied at six, Calvillo and the Als offence put together their first touchdown drive since the first quarter of the aforementioned Calgary game. Beforehand however, it was Shea Emry coming up big for Montreal, jumping a Mike Reilly pass over the middle and setting the Als up deep in Edmonton territory. The veteran linebacker took a taunting penalty after the play and pushed Montreal back to the 18 yard line.

After taking a loss, Calvillo connected with SJ Green twice – first for a 24-yard gain to set up the Als at the two-yard line and then following a penalty, completed the drive by hitting no.19 in the back of the endzone on a wheel route for a 6-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead.

The Eskimos had been moving the ball in waves in the first quarter, having challenges in the intermediate passing game but finding success when stretching the field. That didn`t stop head coach Kavis Reed from making a brief change behind centre however, putting backup Jonathan Crompton in the game with 11:58 left in the first half.

Reilly was pulled after completing 4 of 9 passes for 84 yards in only one quarter of work. He would re-enter the game with just over four minutes left in the half but not before both teams traded field goals.

After an incompletion on his first pass, Crompton also fell victim to Emry’s impact after the linebacker picked off his second pass of the game to set up a 31-yarder for Whyte.

The Esks forced a turnover of their own when they made Noel Devine put the ball on the carpet on a punt return but could only muster an 18-yard field goal. Third stringer Kerry Joseph, along with Crompton shared that short possession before Reilly returned.

Meanwhile, the Alouettes offence began to find its traction as Calvillo led an 8-play, 61-yard march capped off by a handoff to Brandon Whitaker who darted through the middle of the Eskimo defence untouched for a 13-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

The Alouettes took a 20-6 lead into halftime.

Reilly remained at the helm as the second half began but it was one of his go-to receivers that got the Eskimos back in the game on special teams.

Cary Koch fielded a punt – in place of cornerback Joe Burnett who was a late scratch – turned up field and raced 81 yards for the touchdownand closed the gap to 20-13 in the process.

The Alouettes answered back with a 23-yard Whyte field goal but getting within range was all Whitaker. The man many call “two-way” carried the ball 4 times for 60 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard rush off tackle.

After Whyte added another field goal (from 24 yards out), the Eskimos seemed to catch fire, scoring two touchdowns in 59 seconds to take their first lead of the game.

First, Reilly engineered a 75-yard march, finished off by a 19-yard Calvin McCarty touchdown run which saw him sidestep a defender on his way to pay dirt.

The Esks forced an Als fumble two plays later and Edmonton wasted no time capitalizing.

Reilly through a strike down the sidelines to Koch who hauled in a 24-yard touchdown reception to give the Green and Gold a 27-26 lead.

The Esks got a stop and made Whyte to punt the ball, which he did with near-perfection, forcing the Esks to scrimmage from their own 2 yard line. After a two-and-out, Reed and the Eskimos elected to punt it out of the endzone but only got a kick that netted 24 yards. Whyte added an 18-yarder to re-take the lead for the Alouettes, 29-27.

Poised to put the game away, Whitaker was jarred on a hit with 1:29 left while heading for the goal line and headed to the locker room with an injury. Whyte added a chip-shot field goal to put the Als up by five and the Eskimos got the ball back with a minute remaining.

Reilly did everything he could to put the Esks in contention to win the game, engineering a brilliant 75-yard drive. With time running out, Reilly handed the ball off to running back John White on the game’s final play on the Montreal one yard line but he was stuffed, preserving the 32-27 win for the Alouettes.

Calgary vs Winnipeg
Bo Levi Mitchell did everything required of him and more in his first career CFL start, completing 29 of his 33 passes for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading the Stampeders to a 37-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.
With Kevin Glenn and Drew Tate sidelined with injuries, Mitchell made sure the Stamps offence didn't miss a beat, as they garnered a total of 489 yards, 175 of them coming from Jon Cornish, who was dominant in the win as well.
It was a night of firsts for Winnipeg too, as in addition to Mitchell, Justin Goltz was also making his inaugural CFL start.
Both pivots saw action in Week 4, with Mitchell helping the Stamps complete a dramatic 24-point comeback over the Alouettes, throwing two touchdowns in limited action, while Goltz held his own in a loss to the Argonauts, completing 13 of 15 passes for 170 yards.

Goltz was named starter due to an injury to Buck Pierce.

As expected with a pair of young pivots leading their respective teams, it took some time for both offences to find their rhythm.

But with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, Mitchell struck first.

Already leading 1-0 thanks to a punt single by Rob Maver, Mitchell embarked on his second possession of the game and wasted no time moving the Stamps into Winnipeg territory.

After Cornish earned two yards on a run up the middle, Mitchell went deep to rookie Tim Hawthorne for a massive 55-yard gain.

The grab brought the Stamps inside Winnipeg’s 30-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

And Mitchell wasn’t done there. Following another small gain by Cornish, the 23-year-old QB connected with Greg Carr in the corner of the endzone for a 27-yard score, increasing Calgary’s lead to 8 in the process.

To that point in the game, Mitchell was a perfect 7-7 for 118 yards a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Goltz wasted little time getting his Bombers back in the game.

And thanks to a pair of strong plays by Canadian receivers Jade Etienne and Rory Kohlert, he was able to do just that. First, Goltz hooked up with Kohlert for a massive 40-yard gain that saw the receiver break a tackle and romp down the sideline before being taken down by a facemask tackle by Calgary’s Chris Randle.

The penalty brought the Bombers to the Stamps’ 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Following a 6-yard run by Chad Simpson, Goltz found Etienne for a 5-yard score, bringing the Bombers within one of Calgary’s lead.

With the second quarter underway, the Bombers offence went back to work. Taking over with excellent field position as a result of a shanked 23-yard punt by Maver, Goltz, Simpson and the rest of Winnipeg’s offence were within striking distance of taking the lead.

It was then that Goltz sent the crowd at Investors Group Field into an absolute frenzy.

After Simpson and Terrence Edwards brought the drive to Calgary’s 7-yard line with gains of 15 and 11 respectively, Goltz threw to Etienne again, finding the receiver for his second touchdown of the game to give the Bombers a 14-8 lead.

Soon after, the Stamps would begin to claw their way back into the game, using the foot of Rene Paredes as their vehicle.

The Concordia product first split the uprights from 37 yards out to bring the Stamps within three of Winnipeg’s lead. The kick was also his 30th-straight successful field goal, tying Paul McCallum’s mark.

With less than two minutes to go in the half, Paredes would enter the record books, as he split the uprights from 19 yards out for his 31st-straight successful field goal attempt, tying the game in the process.

Then, with no time remaining on the clock, Paredes would extend his own record and give the Stamps a 17-14 lead, as he booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired.

While Paredes made waves at the tail-end of the first half, it was Cornish who stole the spotlight to start the second, as the tailback powered his way forward for gains of 14, 14, 9 and 8 before Mitchell connected with Canadian receiver Anthony Parker for his first career major.

The Bombers had a chance to cut into Calgary’s 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but a failed gamble on third down saw them walk away with nothing.

On the play, the Bombers were facing third-and-two from the Stampeders’ 36-yard line when Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke opted to go for it rather than attempt a field goal.

Goltz lined up in the shotgun and rolled out to his right, but was sacked for a one-yard loss by Keon Raymond.

The call proved to be a costly one for the Bombers, as the Stampeders managed to increase their lead on their ensuing possession, with Paredes splitting the uprights from 32 yards out.

Calgary, however, wasn’t satisfied with stopping there.

After Justin Palardy brought the Bombers back within 10 of the Stamps’ lead, Mitchell – appearing poised and in total control – hooked up with Marquay McDaniel for a 10-yard score.

The drive capped off a five-play, 37-yard drive that was made possible because of a 61-yard punt return by Raymond.
The Bombers would end their night with Simpson crossing the plane for a three-yard score. However, it was a classic case of too little, too late, as the Calgary held on for a 37-24 win.
In a losing effort, Goltz completed just 19 of his 35 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His main target was Regina native Kohlert, who hauled in 5 passes for 79 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Raymond put together a very Raymond-like performance, registering a pair of sacks and two tackles.
Next week, the Stamps will head into their bye, while the Bombers will hit the road and travel to BC to take on Travis Lulay and the Lions.
Saskatchewan vs Hamilton
Drew Willy threw three touchdown passes, while Kory Sheets reached 100 yards for the fifth straight game to pace the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 32-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night at a rainy Alumni Stadium in Guelph.
Replacing the injured Darian Durant to make just his third career start, Willy answered the bell in a big way with 269 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.
Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler each caught second-quarter touchdown passes, while Geroy Simon had his first touchdown in a Riders uniform as Saskatchewan continues its perfect start to the season.
Seven days removed from being shutout for the first time in seven years last weekend against the Riders, the Ticats offence came out of the gate buzzing in front of the home faithful.

First, dynamic rookie running back Lindsey Lamar dashed for an 18-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, before Henry Burris made a splash on his first completion of the game with a 51-yard catch-and-run by Bakari Grant.
The Ticats’ opening drive stalled deep in Rider territory, but Luca Congi’s 16-yard field goal gave Hamilton an important 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Following a quick two-and-out on the Riders’ first possession, the Ticats went back to work promptly. After converting a second down play with his legs, Burris found Onrea Jones, back from injury this week, for a 30-yard gain to the Saskatchewan 17-yard-line.

This time the Ticat offence made sure to finish, as Burris hit Lamar in the middle of the field, and the running back fought through defenders at the goal line for the touchdown to put Hamilton in front 10-0.

The Roughriders capped off the first quarter on a 17-yard field goal from Chris Milo after their longest drive stalled deep in Ticat territory, making it 10-3 through 15 minutes.

Early in the second quarter the Green and White added two more points, as an accurate punt by Ricky Schmitt followed by a two-and-out forced Hamilton to concede a safety.

On the ensuing drive the Riders added more and in a big way. First, Willy found Dressler for a 24-yard completion into scoring range, before finishing the drive off on the very next play with a 30-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown pass to Simon.

It was Simon’s first score wearing Green and White, and it gave the Riders their first lead of the game, 12-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, the shifty Lamar was hit hard and stayed on the turf, forced to leave the game under the care of the medical staff.

The Ticats offence, meanwhile, hemmed deep in its own end, looked to rebound from a couple of two-and-outs with a big drive of its own. C.J. Gable, the replacement for Lamar, started it off with a key catch on second down to extend the drive.

An illegal block on Hamilton slowed progress, but wasn’t enough to stall the drive as Burris built on a 30-yard completion to Greg Ellingson with a 39-yard strike to the rookie receiver to put the ‘Cats back in the end zone, putting Hamilton back out in front 17-12.

Not to be out-done, however, was the kid making just his third CFL start on the other sideline. Willy opened the drive with consecutive completions to Simon and Getzlaf before Sheets rumbled off runs of 20 and 17 yards for his greatest burst of the game.

Then Willy struck again, finding Getzlaf for an 18-yard catch-and-run, capping off a seven-play, 76-yard drive in just 2:52.

Just when you thought the 26-year-old was already having an outstanding first half, he added insult to injury for the Ticats after quickly getting the ball back in his hands.

On a second-and-long play, Willy found Simon for a 35-yard completion, before striking to Dressler for a 24-yard touchdown pass to add to the Riders’ lead. That stood to give the Roughriders a 26-17 lead at the half.
In the second half, the rainy conditions began to finally play a role as the offences slowed down and the turnovers began. Two Henry Burris fumbles led to Milo field goals, while a boot by Congi to start the third quarter cut the deficit for the Ticats to 32-20.
The Ticats would get a golden opportunity to make it a one-score game on their ensuing possession, marching all the way inside the Saskatchewan five-yard-line after Burris completed four of five passes on the drive. But a physical Rider front-seven rose to the occasion, stuffing Burris at the one-yard-line and forcing a turnover on downs.
Hamilton again threatened late, but fell short on a chance to cut into the deficit as the Riders buckled down and allowed just three points in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Sheets finished the game with 140 yards on 25 carries, asserting his dominance as the league's leading rusher and leaving him on pace for more than 2,500 yards over the span of an 18-game season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tearrius George deserves as much credit as anyone for the way he disrupted Burris, on the way to a three-sack performance.
Burris, meanwhile, enjoyed a bounce-back game in a losing effort for the Ticats, throwing for 395 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Roughriders head into their bye week with a league-best 5-0 record, while the Ticats are set to travel to Edmonton in a duel with the Eskimos next weekend at Commonwealth Stadium.
BC vs Toronto
If Ricky Ray needs an extra week or two to recover from his lower-body injury, the Toronto Argonauts appear able to wait.
Making his first CFL start, backup pivot Zach Collaros completed 21 of his 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Boatmen to a 38-12 win over the Lions at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

With both Ray and tailback Chad Kackert sidelined with injuries, the Argos were forced to insert backups Collaros and Curtis Steele into the lineup in their place.
Steele finished with 111 total yards on 17 touches for two touchdowns in his regular season debut.
While the two ended up keeping the Argos' offence afloat, they didn’t get off to the start they would have preferred.

Facing a stingy Lions defensive corps, the two would run into trouble on their first possession, by way of running into each other, as Collaros fumbled the ball as a result of Steele’s shoulder knocking it out of his hands.

The Lions would recover and set up on Toronto’s 42 yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Things went from bad to worse for the Boatmen as Travis Lulay proceeded to find receiver Nick Moore for a 36-yard gain which brought BC to Toronto’s 3-yard line.

However, the Argos defence bent but didn’t break. With their backs against the wall, they kept the Lions out of the endzone, forcing them to settle for a 10-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.

Undeterred by his earlier fumble, Collaros walked onto the field for his second possession of the game, looking to even the score.

Things looked promising for the 25-year-old thanks to a 15-yard facemask penalty by Dante Marsh on a 5-yard run by Steele.

After hitting John Chiles for a 7-yard gain two plays later on second down, the Argos seemed primed to tie the game with a 41-yard field goal.
However, Noel Prefontaine’s attempt sailed wide, keeping the Argos down by the 3 with 5:50 left in the opening frame.

But Collaros was given another shot to get the home team on the board, this time thanks to his defence.

Having already sacked Lulay twice on the night, the Argos continued to put pressure on the pivot, this time forcing him to move out of the pocket and rush his pass, which was ultimately intercepted by Marcus Ball and returned for a 9-yard gain.

Collaros then led his offence on a eight-play, 44-yard drive that was capped off with a 22-yard touchdown strike to Jason Barnes in the endzone.

On the play, Collaros evaded Adam Bighill and threw it into double coverage to Barnes who managed to over-power both JR Larose and Josh Bell for the grab.

The drive lasted 3:12 and stretched into the early parts of the second quarter.

The Lions would pull within one on their next possession thanks to McCallum’s second field goal of the night, this time connecting from 17 yards out.

Clinging to that one-point lead, Collaros returned for his next possession looking to keep momentum in Toronto’s favour.
After throwing an incompletion to Andre Durie on his first play, Collaros was perfect on his next five, connecting with Spencer Watt, Durie, Zander Robinson and Steele, before finding Robinson a second time for a one-yard touchdown pass.

The Western University product’s first career major gave the Double Blue a 14-6 lead into the half.

The third quarter saw the Argos continue to add to their lead, with Collaros once again leading the charge.

After McCallum connected on his third field goal of the game to pull the Lions within five of Toronto’s lead, Collaros put together another strong drive, one that again ended with a major score.

But it didn’t come without adversity, as Collaros found Durie for a 58-yard completion, only to see it get called back due to a holding call on tackle Wayne Smith.

Moments after the referee picked up his flag, however, Collaros hooked up with Watt for a 34-yard gain down the sideline, entering BC territory in the process.

Three plays later, Collaros found receiver John Chiles streaking mid-strike in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown, increasing Toronto’s lead to 12.

BC would respond on their next possession, with McCallum chipping in his fourth field goal of the game from 10 yards out.

However, the Argos would answer right back with a field goal of their own, as Prefontaine made up for his earlier miss with a 20-yard connection.

On the drive, Collaros was good on six of his seven passes for 59 yards, two of which found Chad Owens.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Lions ran into some more trouble offensively. Already on the run because an oncoming Argos blitz, Lulay was caught by Jalil Carter, who forced the ball from his hands and onto the turf, where it was recovered by Janzen Jackson who appeared to have a clear cut lane to the endzone, but fumbled the ball himself on the one yard line.
After a pileup ensued, Argos safety Matt Black came up with the loose ball, givng the Boatmen possession on BC's one-yard line.
Two plays later, the Argos would put the game out of reach, as Steele leaped over the pile for the score, giving the Argos a 30-12 lead with 2:24 left in the game.
With less than one minute to go in the game, Steele would rip up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, sealing a 38-12 win for the Argos in the process.
Next week, the Argos head into the bye for a week off, while the Lions return home for a Monday night matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.