CFL.ca Staff With files from Steve Daniel, Head Statistician
TORONTO — With just one week remaining until arguably the most anticipated weekend on the CFL schedule, teams continue to jostle for better positioning, as the schedule begins to approach the midway point of the season.
The action gets underway on Friday night, as Alex Brink and the Alouettes invade Investors Group Field to face Drew Willy and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
On Saturday, Ricky Ray heads back to Edmonton, where his Boatmen will face Chris Jones, Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos.
One day later, the Stampeders and REDBLACKS start off off a double header at TD Place, as the two teams will do battle for the second time this season.
Finally, the BC Lions will try and deliver on some strong words, when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders at BC Place Stadium on Sunday night.
Equipped with the most up-to-date storylines, roster moves, stats, milestones and trends, enjoy this week’s CFL.ca Game Notes.
The Millennium Mark: In 2013, there were seven 1,000-yard receivers and two 1,000-yard rushers. That total of nine was the lowest in 33 years (1980: seven 1,000 yard gainers). Among the nine players to have recorded 1,000-yard seasons in 2013 – NOT A SINGLE PLAYER is on pace to repeat in 2014 (Marquay McDaniel is closest at 964 yards).
The 1979 season was the last time that at least one 1,000-yard receiver did not repeat from the previous year (1978). However, Larry Key (BC) rushed for 1,000+ yards in 1978 and again in 1979 so that takes this phnomenon back even further to 1953 when no 1,000-yard gainer of either kind re, apeatednd that was only because there weren’t any at all in 1953, the early days of the WIFU (today’s West Division). Since then at least one 1,000 yard gainer has managed to do it again the next season … until 2014 (or at least at this point).
Chick Magnet: In his first seven games, Chick has recorded 12 sacks for a rate of 1.71 per game. He is on pace for almost 31 sacks which would break the CFL record of 26.5 set by James Parker in 1984 (16-game season).
Conservative CFL passing game: In 2014, the league-wide average yards gained per pass attempt is at a 25-year low of 7.5 yards per pass. The CFL interception rate is just 2.74% or one interception every 36 throws – the lowest rate in CFL history.
Spreading the ball around: Toronto had 10 different players catch at least one pass two weeks ago and then 9 last week vs BC. They are up to 19 receivers total through 8 games. That total includes Ricky Ray himself who caught his own pass after it was batted back to him last week. All last season, 16 Toronto players recorded a pass reception.
Adarius Bowman: Is the only CFL player in the Top 6 in every receiving category…receptions (#1 with 41), yards (#1 with 532), TD (tied #1 with 5), 2nd down conversions (#4 with 13), YAC (#6 at 188 yards) & 30+ yard catches (#2 with 4).
#1 Defence: The Esks have allowed only 115 points all season (16.4 per game) and an average of 264.5 yards per game. The last time they allowed that few points and yards was 1979 (13.7 ppg), and 1989 (254.9 yards per game).
1st Half passing: Last week at Toronto, Drew Willy completed 10-of-11 first half passes including a pair of TDs. On second down plays in that game, he went 11-of-15 for 138 yards and two TDs.
Brandon Whitaker: Remains on pace to be one of just three 1,000-yard rushers in the CFL in 2014. He is averaging 58 rushing yards per game which would h.ave him finish at 1,044
QB: Bo Levi Mitchell (41.7%), Drew Willy (28.2%), Mike Reilly (11.9%), Ricky Ray (6.5%), Darian Durant (5.8%)
RB: Nic Grigsby (41.0%), Jerome Messam (9.1%), Brandon Whitaker (8.9%), Stefan Logan (7.9%), Andrew Harris (6.3%)