July 25, 2017

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 5

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

Hello, McMahon Stadium Squirrel.

You’ve sure got what we call a “football motor.” Incredible energy. But you have so much more than that, too. You’ve got football smarts. The waggle you displayed on that second quarter play? Perfect timing. And the sense to recognize zone defence and to sit down in an open area like that, just in case Bo needed you as an outlet? Solid, squirrel. Solid.


That’s how you play your way onto a roster. Enjoy the game breakdown film session. Coach D’s gonna freeze the video, point at you and give you a knowing smile. Just remain there, sitting at the back of the room, looking cool with your sunglasses on and hands clasped behind your head, grinning. Well, not HANDS behind your head… you know what I mean.

Here are this week’s takeaways.



The mad scientist that concocted that Friday night craziness is now on the run from the authorities.

A 27-14 lead becomes a 42-27 deficit, then a 45-42 win. Chris Rainey makes a cut so sharp, he briefly goes forward in time. Darvin Adams makes a one-handed catch look like he was merely picking an apple. Jake
Thomas gets the attention of the “So You Think You Can Dance” judges (see below). A fake field goal/sleeper play. An ill-advised fake punt by the Bombers in their own territory. A blocked punt that wasn’t even a punt but then it was (also see below). This game was so chock full of interesting stuff, even commentators Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor got in on the act when they executed perfectly harmonized crossing patterns at one point.

Friday night’s game between the Lions and Blue Bombers was so wild, wonderful and at times weird, I want comedian Bill Hader to reprise his Stefon character from Saturday Night Live just so he can say “New York’s hottest club is ‘Winnipeg at BC’ It has EVERYTHING.”



I watched the replay of Jake Thomas making his interception about eight or nine times. At one point, I even used the slo-mo feature on my PVR too slow it down even more so I could really take it in.

The dexterity. The concentration. The beauty. The – and am I actually using this word to describe a 276 lb lineman? – elegance. The Blue Bombers’ defensive tackle washes down the line of scrimmage with all the smooth of a Michael Jackson moonwalk. Then, gets an arm up and into the path of a Travis Lulay throw, deflecting it up, off his own helmet, and then off his left hand. He half-spins underneath it with the grace of a drifting feather, and gathers it in, continuing the spin in order to avoid a tackle, regaining his bearings.

Then, he pirouettes back the other way and hands off to teammate Kyle Knox, who takes it to the end zone for a Winnipeg touchdown. Performers usually get roses thrown on stage for things like that. What did you major in at Acadia University, Jake? Fine Arts? Interpretive Dance? Cirque du Soleil called. They’re doing an entire two-and-a-half hour show based solely on that play.


“Wow, did he ever get in there quickly,” I thought at the moment Winnipeg’s Derek Jones blocked a Ty Long punt, on Friday night.

Except that the BC kicker never actually did hoof the ball prior to Jones getting his mitts on it. That’s how fast Jones blew off the line of scrimmage and how open was his path to the punter. Jones actually got his hands on the ball after Long had dropped it down but before it got to his foot. BEFORE! The only way that might have been slicker is if Jones had made the ball completely disappear, only to pull it out of the ear hole in Long’s helmet. “Is THIS your ball?”

And the craziest thing about it might be that Jones blocked the ball directly down to the place where Long’s foot was arriving, so that he did then kick it. Jones gets a blocked punt even though he never actually blocked the kick. And Long gets hung with a twelve-yarder, the Lions then getting dinged with a no yards penalty. Has anyone apprehended that mad scientist yet?



A little ornery, too. After sitting out a couple of games with a leg injury, the Stampeders’ sack specialist was back in action, running hard and running his mouth in that devilish, Charleston Hughes way. You knew he was up for things even before the game, when he effortlessly slapped down an insulting Twitter gnat. He owned the first half with a hat trick of sacks, showing himself to be (arguably) a bigger star than the squirrel on this night.

Of former teammate – and a man he faced off against so often on the night – Saskatchewan left tackle Derek Dennis, he said: “He’s the offensive lineman of the year. I’m the sacks leader. Come see me.”

Hughes also lobbied hard to have his first half sack total revised to four, certain that he was the architect of another. Charleston Hughes is fresh and feisty and ready to challenge Odell Willis over who can have more fun while blowing up passing plays. If Willis is The Joker, he’s the Jack Nicholson or Ceser Romero version. Hughes’ Joker seems more like the Heath Ledger variety.



A round of applause for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, the best 1-4-1 team ever and a squad that played it tough pretty well right through to the end of their third game in eleven days.

It might well be cold comfort for them considering they suffered another achingly close loss but their display of grit and determination deep into their contest with the Argonauts was impressive.

Stopping the Argos on third and inches, late in the fourth quarter, was particularly eye-popping. The Argos should have enjoyed a physical advantage at that point, what with the REDBLACKS understandably running out of gas. However, that Ottawa defence came up with a sensational surge to force a turnover on downs, and the offence subsequently tied the game.

A round of applause, too, for the Argos’ defence. Even with Bear Woods, Cleyon Laing and Victor Butler out by halftime due to injuries, the unit held together very well in the second half, with vets and back-ups alike stepping up. Rest, REDBLACKS, rest. You’ve certainly earned it. As for the Argos, well, that was their – wait for it – first of three games in eleven days….


I ordered a coffee this morning but never got it because as soon as the guy behind the counter put it down, Mike Miller swooped in from out of nowhere and snatched it on me. Heads up, is all I’m saying, folks.