Hello, Ed Gainey. Five takeaways? Big whoop. I have five takeaways every week. Every single week, Ed. Where’s my Twitter love? Where’s my TV interview? Five takeaways. Pffft. In my sleep, man.
Here are this week’s, umm, Ed Gaineys.
1. ED GAINEY IS GREEDY. GREEDY, GREEDY, GREEDY. GREEDY
One-handed catches seem all the rage this season and maybe they will find their place at the top of CFL consciousness again, but for this week, we’re all about the pilfering. That was an amazing show of skill, determination and serendipity, Mr. Gainey. Five takeaways for the veteran defensive back who dove for his first interception and went high for the next two. A hat trick by halftime! Gainey added a non-takeaway highlight late in the half when he met Lions’ bulldozer Manny Arceneaux, after a catch, and battled him to a straight up standstill as the two drifted out of bounds. Not as attention-grabbing as a pick but impressive nonetheless.
Gainey’s fourth takeaway was the fortunate kind, the ball being knocked right into his arms when teammate Jovon Johnson punched it loose. Still, he had to be in the area to make the play, which he was because Ed Gainey couldn’t help but be where the ball was on this night. After that play, a sideline microphone caught him saying “I need one more.” What?
You channelling your inner Gordon Gekko, Ed? Then, he picked off another, practically taking it out of the hands of teammate Duron Carter, who’d been tossed in at corner and was no doubt thinking “this’ll get ’em to stop talking about Ed Gainey.”
2. YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE THE ROUGHRIDERS LIGHTLY ANYMORE
Yes, I’m looking at you, BC Lions. But not just you. This is a message for everyone in the CFL. Sunday night’s performance was thorough, commanding and involved just about everyone wearing green. The only way the night could have gone better would’ve been if a lone cloud rolled in over the Sasky bench at the end of the game, opening up and raining giant drops of beer into the mouths of the victors. Head Coach Chris Jones had been saying something about his team ceasing the talk about being better and, instead, just going out there and doing it. They did it, signalling that this edition of the Roughriders is not content to let the tail-lights of the rest of the West disappear into the distance.
Not to say that they can just push anyone around. The Lions were complicit on Sunday night and Head Coach Wally Buono knew it, walking out of his team’s locker room before the game even began, disgustedly saying “…they don’t wanna listen.” Take the Roughriders lightly? Big mistake. Big. Huge.
3. THE BOMBERS ARE KINDA OKAY WITH FIELD GOALS
Why, oh why, is everybody so down on field goals? I get it. Touchdowns are tastier. Touchdowns allow you more breathing room on the scoreboard.
However, final score is final score and if you tallied six field goals on the way to a win, so be it. I’d probably rather have the sirloin steak but if you feed me a bunch of chicken fingers I’ll be just as full, is all. And happy enough.
In the Bombers’ Saturday night win in Hamilton, kicker Justin Medlock went 6-for-8, with one miss tagging an upright and the other failed attempt being blocked. As Head Coach Mike O’Shea said after the game: “We’ve got the best kicker in the league for a reason.” Or as Bruno Mars said in Uptown Funk: “If you sexy, then flaunt it.” Medlock’s leg is a weapon unlike any other and as long as the Bombers move into his very generous range, they’re more likely than not to get three and that’s a whole bunch better than what a lot of other teams would get; Punts. Besides, only one of Medlock’s field goals came off what you would term a disappointing drive, when Winnipeg took over on the Hamilton 27 yard line. To get four other field goals, the Bombers drove 45, 59, 43 and 43 yards and that ain’t chump change. The remaining field goal came after just a 19-yard drive, that one being an audacious 57-yard monster. ‘Cause Justin Medlock agrees with Bruno Mars.
4. CODY FAJARDO SHOWED YOU SOMETHING
The Argos’ back-up quarterback came off the bench for the second half on Friday night and while he didn’t show off a polished package of skills in Toronto’s 21-9 loss to Montreal, the 25-year-old did prove something:
He’s a tough son of a gun. Fajardo rushed nine times for sixty yards in his half of play, bouncing up from what would be politely termed a “questionable” hit from Als’ linebacker Kyries Hebert and blowing up defensive back Tyree Hollins with a lowered shoulder on another play. If Fajardo’s passing game left some to be desired on the night, his running game did not and he fairly well proved he’s as hard as the J in the pronunciation of his last name.
5. GIOVANNI APRILE IS THE POSTER BOY FOR PERSEVERANCE
The 28-year-old Queen’s grad made a catch in Hamilton’s 39-12 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday night. One catch for six yards. Maybe it didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, like the time Taye Diggs followed me on Twitter (Spoiler alert: He unfollowed at some point later. Not sure what I did to offend him).
Aprile’s catch, with a little over five minutes left in the fourth quarter wasn’t even part of something bigger and better, as the Ticats’ drive stalled on the next play when quarterback Zach Collaros threw an interception. But, when you consider that Aprile – originally drafted 16th overall by Winnipeg in 2012 – had just recorded the first regular season reception of his professional career, in his fourth season, play 132 of Saturday night’s game was significant, and an inspiration for those who just keep on keeping on.
Looking ahead to Week 9, a little Charles Dickens is appropriate.
Edmonton vs Winnipeg is the marquee event, with the Bombers getting the chance to show they must be involved in the first place conversation.
Meanwhile, Ottawa at Hamilton provides its own kind of intrigue, with two cornered, desperate teams, each absolutely having to win. Week 9:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”