Sunday, July 10, 2005

Special Deliveries rule in week three

How can Canada Post be missing out on this marketing opportunity, with special teams figuring heavily in CFL action this past weekend, there surely must be a place for Canada's Postal Service. Maybe a Special Teams player of the week award, or a year end award for Special Deliveries (Returns) might be a worthwhile adventure.

In Winnipeg special teams play resulted in the only touchdown of the game as the Calgary Stampeders topped the Blue Bombers 21-15. Nik Lewis knocked down a Jon Ryan punt taking it ten yards into the endzone, opening up the scoring at CanadInn stadium on Thursday night. Sandro DeAngelis accounted for all the remaining Stampeder points with four consecutive field goals giving him a perfect 7 for 7 record thus far in the season. Troy Westwood kicked three field goals and a single and Ryan connected for singles of his own to wrap up the Bomber scoring. For Calgary it was the first win of the new season and a sign that last years Stamps are definitely gone, of course in Winnipeg the fanbase may be wondering if the bumbling Stamps of last year somehow morphed into Blue and Gold, such is the state of Blue Bomber football early in the season.

The Special teams domination of the games continued on Friday night when TSN's Friday Night football became the Ezra Landry show, the diminutive kick return specialist in Red White and blue left the Eskies green with envy and anger at what got away from their camp. Landry who used to be an Eskimo before that evil genius Don Matthews lassoed him for his Als put on the display of the week, returning not one but two kicks for touchdowns. The first one a wide field goal attempt by Sean Fleming that was taken all the way back to the Edmonton endzone after a 125 yard return, a quick recharge during halftime and Landry was ready to roll again in the third quarter and Fleming accommodated him with a punt that Landry took back 74 yards for another touchdown. Landry's first return was a Montreal record and the fourth longest return in CFL history as he carves out a hunk of the record books for his own.

Not to be outdone, the Eskimos return specialist Tony Tompkins took his own punt return to the Montreal endzone after a 93 yard of his own, but the high stepping excitement was overshadowed as the Als eked out a 32-29 victory in the last play of the game.

We moved on to Vancouver as the BC Lions prepared to take on the Ottawa Renegades and Special teams factored into this match up as well. A rather enthusiastic Renegade squad held their own against the defending Grey Cup finalists but in the end could not match the power and drive of the Lions. Aaron Lockett took a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to add to the Lions scoring and making the third quarter a miserable experience for the Rens. In the end the Leos took control and dismissed the Renegades with a 37-29 victory, but the signs for the Renegades are all good. Kerry Joseph had another excellent outing and if his front line can ever give him just a few more seconds in the pocket on each play the Rens may not be on the short end of many more games.

Saturday night the Riders and Argos got together at Rogers Centre and special teams would not be as dominant in this one but did factor in at times, all be it in a negative facet. A breakdown on the Argos special teams led to them losing the ball on downs after taking a time out that they did not have. A blunder that led to a Saskatchewan touchdown, however with Damon Allen in control the Argos overcame the miscues and went on to defeat the Riders 27-26 in a muddled but thrilling affair.

Four games all of which somehow turned on special plays. It should make practices a lot more intense over the next few weeks. In the CFL every play can make a difference, none more so that those of the Special Teams.

No comments: