Tuesday, July 09, 2013

CFL Regular Season: Week 2 Review

Week two featured a few surprises and perhaps items of concern for a few CFL coaches, with losses for Montreal and Calgary suggesting that there is a bit of work to be done to get everyone on the same page in those two camps.

On the West Coast the Lions regained some roar for a new season and in Guelph, the Ticats learned that their temporary home is apparently located in a monsoon rain forest (at least for one game anyway).

The reviews of the week that was below.

Winnipeg at Montreal

You know things are going the wrong way in Montreal when Anthony Calvillo throws everyone from coach to player to himself under the bus. Following Montreal's 19 to 11 loss to the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Als QB unleashed to the media, some of the frustration that was becoming quite apparent on the field in the last few games.

Calvillo proclaiming that everyone needs to be better, the efforts against the Bombers a measuring stick that he wasn't pleased with, nor we imagine anyone else in the Als organization.

There clearly are some growing pains for the Als in the post Marc Trestman era, something that their fellow teams in the East may wish to take advantage of while the Als try and find their balance.

For the Bombers, the victory over the Als was a salute to their defence which as through Calvillo's frustrations, made his life quite miserable through the night. Interestingly enough it was back up QB Justin Goltz who scored the bulk of the Bombers offensive points, put in for starter Buck Pierce to handle short haul running plays, he engineered two TD's on the night, though to be fair to the starter the bulk of the offensive load was his to bear on the night.

You can review the CFL.ca recap of the game here.

Toronto at British Columbia

They're celebrating 60 years of football in British Columbia this year and while the start of the year of celebration got off to a rough start in Calgary in week one, the Lions home debut provided for a fair amount to enjoy in week two.

The Lions were quick out of the gate to get some points and mark their game plan by picking up their first TD of the game on the second possession, if not for a Khalif Mitchell tackle (cue the villain music here) the Lions may very well have been ahead by 14 points heading into the half. Instead, on the strength of the Mitchell tackle, the Lions settled for a field goal the second of the half.

The Lions defence kept Ricky Ray off balance for the majority of the first quarter, however he finally got in sync with his offence into the second, though the Argos would be limited to but three points by the half time mark.

The second thirty minutes saw a bit of the momentum shift to the double blue, though increased yardage didn't translate into much in the way of points, by three quarter time the score was 17-6 Leos.

The fourth quarter saw the Lions turn to Andrew Harris who put the game away for BC with a pair of key runs, a lengthy ramble for yardage at a key point of the fourth, followed by a four yard scamper into the end zone to put away the Lions first victory of the regular season.

The game however came at a cost for the Lions, Adam Bighill was lost with a leg injury, while Shawn Gore left the game with a concussion.

The CFL.ca review of the Lions/Argos can be found here.

Calgary at Saskatchewan

For all their good work in week one, the Stampeders were quickly given a lesson for week two, it takes a full sixty minutes to secure a wain, especially if you're playing a team in Regina.

The Riders and Stamps put on an offensive explosion at Mosaic Field for the Riders home debut, a tale of two games crammed into one sixty minute shell.

The Stamps were all control in the first thirty, rolling over the Riders to a quick 21 points, holding a seven point lead heading into the half, at which point it appears that the Riders head coach Cory Chamblin reminded his charges that defensive play was part of the package in the CFL.

A message clearly heard as the Riders shut down the Stamps completely in the second half, Ralph Tate's air offensive of the first thirty minutes was grounded, Jon Cornish also found the slogging tough at Mosaic, in week one he tore up the field with yardage, week two was a much more limiting experience for the Stamps explosive running back.

For the Riders, the final thirty minutes provided some head turning offensive moments for the crowd at Mosaic, Darian Durant loaded and reloaded his throwing arm, tearing apart the Stampeders defensive backfield almost at will.

When they weren't throwing the ball to success, Kory Sheets was rumbling down the field untouched for the most part, helping the Riders turn around that horrid first half and taking all the misery to the Stamps, who will no doubt be paying much more attention to defensive tasks in the run up to week three.

With the Riders momentum in full swing, the scoreboard continued to rattle off the points for the team in Green, a 36- 21 final score securing the second half smack down and moving the Riders into uncontested control of the lead in the CFL West.

The CFL.ca account of the Riders/Stamps can be found here.

Edmonton at Hamilton

We're not sure if the story is true, but rumour has it that Noah left his seats in Guelp at half time, seeking to finish off the Ark just in case the water levels crested at Alumni Stadium.

The wrap up to the CFL's week number two took place at the temporary home of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and with Mother Nature rolling in to take in some CFL action, the option of water wings probably could be a future addition to CFL equipment bags.

The weather proved to be the story for both the Edmonton Eskimos and Tiger Cats, a torrential downpour seemed to settle over Guelph for the majority of the Sunday wrap up, making the task of moving the ball rather challenging and no doubt providing for no amount of misery for players and fans alike.

Once you ignored the gigantic rain drops that seemed to pound the field, the two teams put on a fairly entertaining game,  the teams going back and forth in the first quarter, the rains arrived in the second quarter and the passing game was all but put away for the short term, as both teams made do with the run, hoping that running backs would secure the ball for the jaunt through the puddles.

Edmonton took their 16-13 lead to half time, allowing for everyone to take shelter from the storm for a brief respite (the fans a little less sheltered than the players we imagine judging by the nature of Alumni Stadium.

Those that stuck around for the final thirty minutes and there were quite a few, were treated to much of the same as the first half, the rain would stop for a bit, but the ominous clouds from the west suggested and then delivered that even more rain was soon to arrive.

The momentum turned to the Eskimos for good in the third as they picked off a Henry Burris inside the Hamilton 25 yard line, converting that to an offensive touchdown.

In the fourth, Mike Reilly tucked the ball away himself and scrambled into the Cats end zone, the final Esks TD of the game securing the victory for the most part, though the Tiger Cats would gain seven points back late in the game, but it proved to be not enough scoring with not enough time left, the Cats losing to the Esks by 10 points, 30 to 20.

Clearly the elements played a role in the outcome for the Tiger Cats, but both teams were playing in the rain and the Eskimos made less errors, provided for fewer turnovers and found a way to win despite the torrents of rain.

For Hamilton, beyond the need to stiffen up the defensive play, the untimely turnovers whether by fumble or interception could prove to be a theme that they will need to address as the season moves forward.

The review of the final game of week two can be found from CFL.ca here.

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