TORONTO — From Lewis Ward‘s record-breaking kick to Johnny Manziel tossing his first CFL touchdown, the CFL’s 2018 season had plenty of defining moments.
Now that the year is finished and the Grey Cup has been awarded, CFL.ca looks back on the 10 best moments of 2018:
10. MARCUS THIGPEN OPENING KICKOFF TD
Marcus Thigpen didn’t waste any time getting the fans at Mosaic Stadium into this Week 14 tilt against the Ottawa REDBLACKS. The Riders running back returned the opening kickoff 98 yards to the house, igniting the home crowd after a rare 8 p.m. start.
9. MANZIEL’S FIRST CFL TOUCHDOWN
It took Johnny Manziel until Week 16 of the 2018 season to throw his first touchdown pass but it was well worth the wait. The Alouettes dug into their bag of tricks for this major score, as Manziel found a wide open Adarius Bowman for six. To top it off, Bowman even celebrated the score using Manziel’s signature move.
8. COLLAROS SNAPS 12-GAME LOSING STREAK
There’s nothing better than a feel-good story and when Zach Collaros walked off the field after the first week of the season, you couldn’t help but feel happy for him. The Riders pivot was riding a 12-game personal losing streak and broke it against the Toronto Argonauts to start the season off on the right foot.
7. LEWIS WARD RECORD-BREAKING FG
Rookie sensation Lewis Ward had an unbelievable first season in the Canadian Football League. After booting his 45th straight field goal from 52 yards out (his longest of the season), Ward broke the pro football record for most consecutive field goals made in a single season, passing NFL legend Adam Vinatieri.
6. ALMOST HAIL-MARY
It was almost an incredible ending to the Labour Day Rematch between the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos until it wasn’t. In the 90-point contest between the Alberta rivals, Bo Levi Mitchell threw a Hail Mary pass to Juwan Brescacin who almost came down with the catch in the end zone as he was draped with defenders.
The ball landed in his lap but he didn’t have complete control and it rolled onto the turf, but either way, it was as dramatic an ending as you will find to the highest-scoring game in the 2018 CFL season.
5. MIKE SHERMAN’S FIRST CFL WIN
A 23-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders was Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman’s first in the Canadian Football League. He credited the win (Montreal’s first of the 2018 season) to a great defensive effort, as the Alouettes D collected four interceptions that night.
For an Alouettes team coming off a 40-point blowout at the hands of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, going into Regina against the heavily-favoured Riders and winning was a high point of what would be another disappointing season in Montreal.
4. THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM FOR CALGARY
It took them three tries but the Calgary Stampeders finally hoisted the Grey Cup. Two heartbreaking losses in a row were motivation enough for Bo Levi Mitchell and co. as they hit the turf in Edmonton late in November looking for a win in their third-straight trip to the final showdown.
From Alex Singleton meeting his sister post-game to Ja’Gared Davis riding the horse, the feeling of vindication was one the Stampeders and their fans would like to bottle up and keep for the rest of their lives.
3. FAREWELL WALLY
It was an emotional night at BC Place as Wally Buono coached his final home game of his illustrious career. The Stampeders spoiled the night for the legendary bench boss, as Calgary handed the Lions a 26-9 loss in the final week of the regular season.
Buono’s final CFL game as a bench boss would come a week later, when the Lions were eliminated by the Ticats in one of the most one-sided games of the season.
2. ARGONAUTS COMEBACK
You should never leave a CFL game early and this tilt between the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa REDBLACKS was a perfect explanation of why. McLeod Bethel-Thompson tossed the game-winning touchdown pass to Armanti Edwards on the game’s second-last play, capping off an Argos comeback from 24 points down in the quarterback’s first career CFL start.
1. BRYAN BURNHAM HEROICS
Bryan Burnham did it all for the Lions in this thrilling overtime victory against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Lions pass-catcher hauled in a touchdown pass from Jonathon Jennings with no time left on the clock and caught the two-point convert (a tip-toe catch needing to be reviewed) to send things to overtime.
From there, Ty Long secured the game-winning points on a field goal, capping off a stunning last-minute comeback win for the home team — a turning point in the Lions’ season.
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