With files from Steve Daniel, Head Statistician
TORONTO – This week is like Christmas for the CFL’s many fans coast to coast. The four games on tap all involve heated rivalries that walk the fine line between healthy competition and deep-rooted hatred. While many dread the last weekend of August as the end of summer, fans across the nation are salivating in anticipation of one thing: the playoff stretch.
Week 10 kicks off with Jonathan Crompton and the Montreal Alouettes playing host to Henry Burris and the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Friday Night Football.
Sunday afternoon will feature Drew Willy and the aerial attack of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visiting the streaking Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
The holiday Monday doubleheader begins with Ricky Ray looking to eclipse the career 50,000 passing yard mark when the Toronto Argonauts head west on the QEW to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
To cap-off the action of Mark’s Labour Day Weekend, two squads will clash once again for provincial supremacy. The second Battle of Alberta this season will see Edmonton attempt to avenge their Week 5 loss at the hands of Bo-Levi Mitchell and the Calgary Stampeders.
By the Numbers:
Defensive Prominence: CFL defences have been so dominant that the average net offence per game has fallen from 694 yards to 648 yards per game – a 7% drop. Scoring is down 13% but this comes in two parts: On Offence – points per game generated by teams’ offences is in fact down 23% to 37.7 points per game from 48.7 ppg in 2013. The offset has been interception and fumble return TDs in 2014. There have been 18 defensive scores in 2014 compared to just 7 at this time last year.
Importance of the Run: The ratio of run-to-pass plays in the CFL is always tilted toward the air. However in 2014, between the pass and the ground game, 37.5% of plays have been rushing attempts – the highest ratio in 12 years. No team epitomizes this better than Saskatchewan. They have 189 rushes vs only 213 pass attempts, a 47% rushing ratio. That is the highest run ratio by any team since Saskatchewan in 2002, 12 years ago when they ran 493 times and passed 498. Only 8 teams in the last 20 years have had this much rushing in their offence.
Home Field Advantage?: Through 37 games, home teams hold a 19-18 edge only and this trend has been apparent since the start of 2013. Over the last two years, home teams lead by just 57 wins to 52, only 52% of the time – not much better than even up. From 2000 to 2012, CFL home teams won 61% of the time (584 to 382), a much larger edge.
Lack of two-point converts: There have been 10 two-point convert attempts this season – and ZERO made.
Game Milestones: James Yurichuk will likely reach 100 career games played in the Labour Day Classic on Monday. Kyries Hebert will make his 100th career start this week.
Ricky Ray: Needs just 90 yards to reach 50,000 career passing yards. If he reaches 50,000 this week he will be the youngest player in CFL history to get there, 10 days ahead of Anthony Calvillo.
Jon Cornish: Needs 61 yards to pass Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons (5,341) for #33 all-time.
Chris Getzlaf: Needs 29 yards to reach 300 for his CFL career.
Field Goal % / Paul McCallum: CFL kickers have made 83.0% of their attempts in 2014, the highest in league history. Paul McCallum is leading the way at record pace with a 96% mark including his last 19 in a row. McCallum (2,959 points) passed Paul Osbaldiston for #3 all-time in scoring and Mark McLoughlin (2,994) is just 35 points ahead at #2 behind Lui Passaglia (3,991).
QB: Ricky Ray (39.1%) Bo Levi Mitchell (24.2%), Drew Willy (12.6%), Darian Durant (5.7%), Mike Reilly (5.7%)
RB: Nic Grigsby (30.6%), Will Ford (17.0%), Brandon Whitaker (14.4%), Curtis Steele (12.1%), Chevon Walker (8.6%)
REC: Adarius Bowman (56.2%), Rob Bagg (25.6%), Clarence Denmark (21.2%), Chris Getzlaf (14.6%), Marquay McDaniel (9.4%)
Flex: Nic Grigsby (15.7%), Curtis Steele (8.5%), Brandon Whitaker (8.2%), Will Ford (7.4%), Adarius Bowman (6.8%)
Kicker: Lirim Hajrullahu (35.1%), Grant Shaw (27.2%), Swayze Waters (16.7%), Justin Medlock (6.3%), Chris Milo (3.4%)
Defence/ST: Saskatchewan (35.7%), Edmonton (18.1%), Calgary (13.5%), Toronto (12.2%), Winnipeg (7.7%)