Saturday, June 27, 2015

Alouettes provide update on quarterbacks; Sam returns

 The Montreal Alouettes released a statement Friday afternoon updating te status of quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton and Dan LeFevour.  The club also confirmed the return of international defensive lineman Michael Sam.

"The Montreal Alouettes have been informed that international defensive end Michael Sam has arrived in Montreal and is expected to attend team meetings on Sunday and to resume practice on Monday at 11:20 a.m.," the statement said.

Sam left the Alouettes during training camp after signing a two-year contract with the team before the start of the season. While citing personal reasons for his departure, there was no indication of whether or not he'd be returning to the CFL. 
The Als placed Sam on their suspended list to retain his rights in case he returns.
The Montreal quarterbacks are another story following injuries that seemed like they occured within plays from one another if it were not for the halftime break in yestrerday's loss to Ottawa.

"It's also expected that quarterback Dan LeFevour will undergo shoulder surgery and he could miss the remainder of the season. He dislocated his left shoulder in the third quarter of Thursday night's game against the Ottawa REDBLACKS."

The good news for the Alouettes is that Crompton's injury seems to not be as serious as many initially suspected.  The team confirmed that he had sustained a shoulder injury but stated his status was "day-to-day".

Esks QB Reilly injured in loss to Argonauts

 After a Friday night that saw the Montreal Alouettes lose their #1 and #2 options under centre, two more injuries have sidelined CFL quarterbacks.

The Eskimos may have lost more than their season-opener on Saturday as they await news on Reilly.
Reilly was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of the Esks' 26-11 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in Fort McMurray, his leg taped up after suffering an apparent leg injury. The extent of the injury is unknown while the team has not yet released a statement.
Now in his third season as the Esks' starting quarterback, Reilly threw for 170 yards on 16-of-28 passing with a touchdown vs. Toronto. He was replaced by backup quarterback Matt Nichols. 
The Eskimos get a week off before playing their home opener against the Ottawa REDBLACKS in Week 3 on July 9.

Durant out for the season with ruptured Achilles

The Saskatchewan Roughriders confirmed late Saturday night that quarterback Darian Durant will miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured Achilles. 

Durant was carted off the field after falling awkwardly on the Roughriders final drive of the first half.  At halftime, Roughriders head coach Cory Chamblin confirmed that he would not return and would be replaced by quarterback Kevin Glenn.

Durant was seen with his leg in a boot and on crutches on the sideline in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Chamblin said that "we will have an answer Monday morning" on the star pivot but the club later confirmed his fate in a statement shortly thereafter.

Bombers' backs run wild in 30-26 win over Riders

 The Winnipeg Blue Bombers duel threat tailbacks teamed up for 241 combined yards and 3 touchdowns in a 30-26 season opening win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday evening at Mosaic Stadium.

Paris Cotton ripped off 108 yards on the ground and added 59 yards and a major through the air.  His fellow running back Cameron Marshall added 2 majors of his own, one on the ground and one in the air.

It was the first Winnipeg win in Saskatchewan in 3,948 days after going 0-11 in Regina since 2004. 

A long off-season for the Riders after exiting the playoffs in the first round was even longer for Darian Durant who spent the second half of the year on the injured list with a dislocated elbow suffered against these very same Bombers.What was a loss for the Riders was made even more troublesome given what happened to starting quarterback Darian Durant.  The Riders leader sustained an injury just before halftime and was carted off the field.

It was announced shortly after the game that he was out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.
Durant was 13 of 18 for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns before he left. Veteran backup Kevin Glenn entered for the remainder of the game.
Early reports indicated that he suffered an Achilles injury but nothing was confirmed immediately.
Durant joins a list of quarterbacks that have gone down in Week 1. The Toronto Argonauts started the season without Ricky Ray and the Alouettes lost Jonathan Crompton and Dan LeFevour. The Edmonton Eskimos look like they will be without Mike Reilly for some time after he too was carted off the field early in the day vs. the Argos.
After each offence felt each other out for most of the first half, the Bombers struck first when Willy led an impressive six-play drive where he completed passes to Nick Moore, Clarence Denmark and Justin Veltung before hitting  Cotton on a screen pass for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
An early 7-0 lead was only briefly enjoyed however as the Riders countered with a score of their own as the second quarter began.
After RB Anthony Allen took a direct snap and rumbled for a 22-yard gain, slotback Taj Smith hauled in a Durant pass on crosser and out-ran the Bombers defence for a 36-yard touchdown to tie things up.
Smith is looking for somewhat of a bounce-back season after a stellar 2013 where he generated 1,007 yards and 7 touchdowns. An injury-plagued 2014 saw him only put up 397 and a trio of majors.
In what was a defensive battle early on quickly became an offensive showcase in the second frame.
First, the Bombers leaned on their two tailbacks to restore the lead as a 20-yard scamper by Cotton helped set up a 10-yard and 2-yard runs by Marshall who used the latter to put Winnipeg back up 14-7.
Like their previous lead, it was short-lived. The ensuing drive saw Durant step into a deep ball which fell right into the arms of sophomore receiver Ryan Smith who was in behind coverage. It was 52-yards later and Smith was in the endzone untouched.
Durant’s injury occurred on the Riders final drive of the half, one that had already lost veteran linebacker Shea Emry and started without receiver Weston Dressler who was a late inactive.
Enter the league’s most reliable insurance policy in Glenn who decided to match the dominant rushing attack of the Bombers. On the second play from scrimmage in the half, Glenn handed the ball off to Jerome Messam and the hulking veteran trucked down field 53 yards for a touchdown.
Durant Down and Out for the Season

Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant is carted off the field after sustaining an injury.  He did not return and was seen on crutches as the second half started.  After the game it was confirmed that he will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured Achilles ...
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Saskatchewan’s next drive saw Messam and Allen team up for 51 yards but it went for not as Chris Milo pulled a 35-yard field goal attempt wide right.
Cue the Bombers backfield who teamed up to tie the ball game once more. First, Cotton juked his way to a 31-yard scamper and then Marshall took a handoff 11-yards for a major. His 2-point conversion on the next play tied the game up at 23 near the end of third quarter.
A Milo field goal gave the Riders a 26-23 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.

|The Bombers, however, just kept bouncing back.
Willy calmly led a critical fourth-quarter drive, connecting with Denmark and Darvin Adams for first downs before throwing a strike to Moore who dove to snag the 18-yard touchdown to lift Winnipeg to a 30-26 lead.
The big question mark for the Riders will be the quarterback situation which looks like it will rest in the hands of Glenn who prepares for the Toronto Argonauts.
The Bombers will head home to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Investors Group Field.

Newcomers, Harris lead Argos over Esks in Fort McMurray

Trevor Harris was on point while the newcomers came up big, powering the Toronto Argonauts to a 26-11 season-opening win over the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday evening in Fort McMurray.

The Eskimos lost not only the game but potentially their starting quarterback, meanwhile, as Mike Reilly left the game late in the fourth quarter after suffering an apparent knee injury. The extend of the injury is unknown.With starting quarterback Ricky Ray on the shelf and an infusion of new talent on both sides of the ball, the Argos rose to the challenge in their ‘home opener’ away from home, scoring a pair of second-half touchdowns to separate themselves from the Eskimos and start the season off on the right foot.
Harris, the heir apparent to Ray making just his second career start, threw for 347 yards on 24-of-27 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions to stymie the CFL’s top-ranked pass defence in 2014. Recent addition Brandon Whitaker caught one of those touchdown passes as did rookie receivers Vidal Hazelton and Tori Gurley, while Dave Stala took on kicking and punting duties after Swayze Waters left the game due to injury.
Reilly threw for 170 yards on 16-of-28 passing with one touchdown in the loss before leaving the game, while Kenny Stafford caught his first touchdown in Green and Gold -- but in the end the Edmonton offence just couldn’t do enough against an aggressive, new-look Argo defence.
After a first-half stalemate, a fast-moving Eskimos’ drive ended abruptly on a Reilly fumble recovered by Brandon Isaac, back in an Argo uniform after a two-year absence. The Argos opened things up after that with the deep ball, and making the big play was a big rookie receiver in Kevin Elliott.
Elliott stretched all the way out to haul in a highlight-reel grab from Harris for a 53-yard gain, and on the next play Harris connected with rookie receiver Hazelton for a 1-yard touchdown pass, giving the Argos a 16-10 third-quarter lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Harris came up big again, threading the needle to Chad Owens in the seam for a 34-yard gain down to the Edmonton 18 on Owens’ fifth catch of the game. Harris then went straight to another rookie receiver in Gurley on the corner route, who hauled in the pass over Patrick Watkins for a 17-yard touchdown reception.
The Argos converted on the two-point try and Harris’ third touchdown pass of the game made it 25-11 early in the fourth quarter.
Looking to battle back quickly, the Eskimos got their offence moving again after a 26-yard reception by Stafford, his fourth catch of the game. But with nine minutes remaining, a third-down gamble came up short as Jordan Lynch was stopped a yard shy of the first down marker.
Edmonton had one last chance, down two possessions and getting the ball back with just over six minutes remaining. A fumbled punt and Argo recovery led to receiver-turned-kicker Stala's first career field goal try, but the veteran pulled the kick wide left. A single point on the miss made it 26-11 Argos.
Ricky who? Trevor Harris had himself a day in his second career start, throwing for 347 yards on 24-of-27 passing with three touchdowns.
The Eskimos looked again to rally with just under four minutes remaining, starting with a completion to Adarius Bowman for a first down out of the gate. With the gain on the play also came a key loss, however, as Reilly was injured on the play after the tackle by Cleyon Laing. Laing was hit with a roughing the passer penalty, moving Edmonton up the field with Matt Nichols entering the game.
Nichols failed to continue the drive from there, while the Argo defence held the Green and Gold offence virtually scoreless in the entire second half (one single was all the Eskimos could muster) to hold on for the 26-11 victory.
The northern-most regular season game in CFL history was an Argos home game and it started out slowly. After both teams moved the ball out of the gate but couldn't finish drives with touchdowns, a muffed punt return by Owens set up the game's first major, a 26-yard touchdown grab by Stafford, the second of his career and his first as an Eskimo.
Down 7-3, the Argos responded quickly on the first quarter's final play. Harris found Whitaker on a wheel route down the sideline and the former Alouettes running back sprinted in open field for a 57-yard touchdown, making it 10-7 Toronto.
While the Eskimos tied it heading into the half, the Argo newcomers made all the difference after that as Gurley and Hazelton scored their first career touchdowns to give Toronto a league it would not relinquish.
Meanwhile, Harris took full advantage of only his second career start. Harris completed 15 of his first 16 passes for 245 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all against the CFL’s leading secondary in 2014 -- one that allowed an average of 206.7 passing yards per game in and 54.7 per cent completion percentage, both tops in the league.
In his first game as an Argo after being released by Montreal following pre-season, Whitaker rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries and chipped in 57 yards and a touchdown on one reception, totalling 174 yards in his Double Blue debut. Owens was the game's leading receiver, meanwhile, with 99 yards on seven catches.
Bowman, last year the CFL's leading receiver, finished with six catches for 61 yards while Chad Simpson had 33 yards on the ground.
The Argos hit the road next Sunday to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders looking to build on an excellent start, while the Eskimos get a week off to reflect before playing their home opener vs. the Ottawa REDBLACKS on July 9.

Paredes boots Stamps to last second win over Ticats

 Bo Levi Mitchell led a late fourth quarter drive and Rene Paredes hit a game-winning field goal with zeros on the clock to give the Calgary Stampeders a 24-23 win in a thriller over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night at McMahon.

As is the tradition in the last decade, the two previous Grey Cup representatives squared off in Week 1.  Friday was a rematch of one of the closest Grey Cup game's in recent memory, one that was almost taken by the 'Cats were it not for a called back punt return touchdown with 35 seconds left on the clock.

This too had a flare for the dramatics with Hamilton controlling the scoreboard for most of the contest only to have Mitchell connect with receiver Jeff Fuller for a massive 28-yard catch to set up the Paredes winner.

Fuller was a handful all night for the Tiger-Cats secondary as the Texas A&M product generated 148 yards on 9 receptions.

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Johnny Sears Jr. recorded two interceptions and a sack in his Ticats debut -- one of which he took to the house -- but it was not enough for Hamilton. The game marked the first time in Bo Levi Mitchell's career that he has thrown three interceptions in a single contest.
Fuller reeled in a 49 yard grab with the tip of his fingers to put the Stamps into scoring territory earlier in the quarter. After Jon Cornish was stuffed on second down, Ted Laurent and the Ticats defensive line would deny Drew Tate on third and goal for a huge goal line stand with five minutes left in the game. Calgary's defence would pin the Ticats deep in their zone and avoided any damage from their inability to score before
It didn't take long for history to be made in the game. Cornish got to work early and passed Willie Burton for fifth all-time in Stamps rushing yards on the team's opening drive.
It was just a few plays later that Sears Jr. intercepted Mitchell and returned the pick 75 yards to give the Ticats an early 7-0 lead.
Fuller was an early favourite target for Mitchell but it was Eric Rogers who hauled in a 30-yard pass to tie the game at 7-7 midway through the first.
In the final minute for the opening frame, Brandon Banks was back to tormenting special teams, returning a punt 67 yards to put the Ticats up 15-7, a lead they would carry over into the second quarter.
The Ticats would be forced to give up a safety after an errant snap attempt on a punt bounced all the way to the endzone, where kicker Justin Medlock opted to give up the two points by kicking it out of bounds to avoid further damage.

Hamilton would give up another point to shorten its lead to 15-10 after a booming 58-yard punt from Rob Maver landed in the Ticats endzone with no return.
A short Hamilton punt put the Stampeders on the 49-yard line to start their drive but could not drive any further as they were stuffed on a third and inches quarterback sneak attempt.
Zach Collaros started the game 10 for 10 on pass attempts until his first incompletion late in the second quarter.
A big hit from Buddy Jackson on Andy Fantuz on a scoring play resulted in Fantuz being helped off the field. He would return to start the second half. Medlock’s field goal extended the Ticats’ lead to 18-10, one they carried into halftime.
Bakari Grant had a 55-yard gain called back in the early third quarter after he was flagged for offensive interference. A big return from Tim Brown put the Stamps in great field position for their first drive on the second half but Craig Butler intercepted Mitchell in the end zone. It was Mitchell’s second pick of the game and another wasted opportunity for Calgary.
Collaros continued to drive the Ticats downfield, highlighted by a 40-yard juggling grab by Terrell Sinkfield.
However, Keon Raymond intercepted Collaros and returned the pick 95 yards to cut the lead to 18-16. Cornish then rumbled through for the two point conversion and tied the game at 18.
Medlock closed out the third quarter with a field goal to put the Ticats back on top 21-18.
Ray Holley, filling in at running back for the Ticats after Grigsby was ruled out earlier in the week, finished the game with 24 yards on eight attempts.
Both teams are on the road next week as Hamilton travels to Winnipeg while Calgary faces Montreal.

The next time last year's Grey Cup participants will meet is in Week 15 in Hamilton.