Hello, Dane Evans. I saw some unreal athletic accomplishments during Week 9, for sure. But nothing tops that kip to your feet after throwing the winning TD against BC I watched that GIF about a thousand times over the weekend and I’d give you the nod as a Top Performer of the Week just for that, bud. Cats always land on their feet, eh?
Here are this week’s takeaways.
1. MIGHT AS WELL JUST GOT FOR IT ON THIRD DOWN NOW
And I’m not just talking about third and a ‘long one’ kind of stuff here.
Third and five, third and ten, heck… third and twenty. On their fifty, your fifty, your thirty-five. Just go for it.
Because the way things have been going, there’s a really, really excellent chance that one of those supercharged returners are hiking the punt all the way back to the end zone on you.
Maybe it’s easier to stop the rush, to stop the pass than it is to stop a punt return.
So go for it, coaches.
Also, comb the rule book to see if there’s any way you can just decline to kick off after you score.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Hey, special teams coaches. Take a day off in celebration of all your kick return successes this year. Bravo. You earned it.
BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: Hey, special teams coaches. A day off? Are you kidding me? Get back to work and figure out how to make your contain units more… containful.
2. ONE MOMENT IN TIME AND IT ALL CAN COME TUMBLING DOWN
The BC Lions were cruising along. The defence had just held the Hamilton Ticats at bay and forced them into a field goal, meaning the Ticats still trailed by twelve with less than ten minutes to play.
The Lions answered that extremely well, driving from their own 35-yard line and draining the clock to just seven minutes remaining and looking good to add at least a field goal of their own, scrimmaging second and eleven from the Hamilton 33-yard line.
But a high snap that Mike Reilly couldn’t handle saw the quarterback scramble back to fall on the ball back at the Hamilton 50, and Reilly suffered an ankle injury at the same time. A punt followed.
The game’s mood changed quickly, from one of an inevitable outcome to one of “so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance.”
If that snap is a foot lower or has a split-second less velocity on it… well, we’ll never know.
What we do know is that a door that was about to be bolted firmly shut opened up just a crack.
A crack is all a team needs to slither through to the other side.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: The winning 23-yard touchdown pass in the dying seconds of this game is not what tells you Dane Evans is emerging to be what the Ticats told us he was. It’s the 105-yard touchdown drive that began with six and a half minutes to play, that tells you.
3. THIS GAME CAN REALLY BREAK YOUR HEART
Calgary Stampeders running back Romar Morris carries the ball against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Jason Halstead/CFL.ca)
I’m not talking about the heartbreak you feel when your team is beaten by a missed call, a bad bounce, a stupid, undisciplined penalty, a blown assignment or a head-scratching coaching decision.
Real heartbreak is what I’m talking about. The kind that tightens your chest and sickens you in the pit of your stomach. The kind that has you talking to your television, saying “Oh no. No, no, no. No.”
I had the pleasure of speaking with Calgary’s Romar Morris last week; Talked with him about his remarkable return to action after rehabbing a blown Achilles, just eight and a half months after he’d suffered the injury.
When I saw him hobbling off the field during the Stamps’ game against Winnipeg, I thought “maybe it was too good to be true to come back that quickly.”
When it turned out to be his OTHER Achilles, I thought “is this some kind of sick joke, football gods?”
It ain’t right, that kind of thing. Not in the least.
Well, screw that.
Do it again, Romar. Amaze us all with your speedy recovery and return to action. Do with your left Achilles what you did with your right. You got this.
See you in 2020, sir.
4. Y’ALL THOUGHT YOU WERE SO SMART TELLING THE BC LIONS TO USE JOHN WHITE MORE
Yeah, well, you were right.
That’s it, really.
I’m not on a minimum word count here or anything, so that’s it. You were right.
5. WEARING RED AND BLACK? VONTAE DIGGS DOES NOT LIKE YOU ONE BIT
If you ask the Edmonton Eskimos, they’ll tell you that the Ottawa REDBLACKS came to town spoiling for some trouble. And Edmonton linebacker Vontae Diggs – who claims he got punched by an Ottawa player at one point – has now elevated Ottawa to a status usually reserved for the hated rivals three hours to the south.
“I see these boys (the REDBLACKS) like Calgary now,” said Diggs, post-game. “I don’t like Calgary and I don’t like Ottawa.”
Diggs was told that one of the players he got into a shoving match with was, in fact, a native son of Edmonton, offensive lineman Mark Korte.
Did he know that?
“Nope,” he said, dismissively. “And I don’t care. He’s not wearing green and yellow, so… I don’t know who he is and I don’t care.”
“They wanted a dogfight, they got one,” he said.
“There was a lot of stuff goin’ on, but I’ll just leave it at that,” said Edmonton Head Coach Jason Maas, after the game. “I give kudos to our guys for staying composed and staying disciplined.”
Labour Day in Calgary — and the follow-up a week later in Edmonton — are two games every Alberta fan looks forward to with evil glee, with amped-up rivalry hate juice flowing like the North Saskatchewan River in the spring.
Looks like another date can be added and that is September 28th, when these two teams meet again, this time in Ottawa.
AND FINALLY… Is there, right now, any linebacker in the CFL playing the position better than Saskatchewan’s Derrick Moncrief?
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