Hello, Luther Hakunavanhu. After your first reception (a touchdown, no less) the announcers couldn’t even come close to getting a handle on your handle. By the end of the game, though, it was flowing off their tongues. Now THAT’S making a name for yourself.
Here are this week’s takeaways.
HOLD UP. YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY THINK MICHAEL MYERS WAS DEAD, DID YOU?
In this, the season of pivoting from pumpkin spice to pumpkin carving, a retrospective view of the Calgary Stampeders’ slow start has us wagging fingers at ourselves for counting them out.
Oh, so Jamie Lee Curtis poked them in the eye with a straightened out coat hanger during the early stages of the season? Well, then. That takes care of that, I guess. They gone for good.
Those two wins against Saskatchewan seemed like steps in the right direction, for sure. But the Stamps still hadn’t seemed to have put everything fully together there.
Saturday’s win in Vancouver, though, was a complete and masterful performance, blending solid play in each of three phases, punctuated by spectacular play in each of them, too.
And, voila! The Calgary Stampeders are strongly in the mix to lay claim to a home playoff date after all.
We should have known.
When it comes to Michael Myers or the Calgary Stampeders, there is always another sequel.
SO, THEY’RE ON THE RAILS NOW, RIGHT? WE’LL SEE…
What to make of the Montreal Alouettes right now. What, indeed.
They took care of business against the Ottawa REDBLACKS – twice, in fact – but the REDBLACKS gave them a good tussle last Monday, before looking beleaguered in the Saturday return at Ottawa.
And that could have been expected as the REDBLACKS were playing their third game in eleven days.
But, Matthew Shiltz got a decent start and finish under his belt, and he looked pretty goo…
I’m sorry, what? Oh they did? Trevor Harris, eh?
Okay, then. Got us some drama building in the East, haven’t we? That makes this takeaway on the Alouettes… easier? Harder?
I was going to say that with a defence that went nuclear this past week (ten sacks and five turnovers against Ottawa) the Alouettes seemed in decent shape but that they’d need maybe more than just tidy play from Shiltz in order to contend.
Looks like that if he does not provide that, then Harris will get a shot at redeeming what has so far been a lost 2021 season for him.
Back to the Alouettes as a whole, though.
Montreal’s got the train on the tracks and some forward motion chug-chug-chugging along.
Got a few tough stations to stop off at along the way.
Next up, the Als get home dates against the Argos and then the Roughriders, and then two in a row against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Do well in that stretch – especially if they take down the division-leading Argonauts this week – and the battle for the East is gon’ be a three-way shoot-out.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: The Most Outstanding Player race in the East is wide open, now, if DeVonte Dedmon misses significant action. It is go time, wannabe MOPs.
IF IT DIDN’T HAPPEN, YOU DON’T BOTHER WORRYING ABOUT IT. AND THERE’S A NAME FOR THAT
“You gotta love Zach,” said a grinning Mike O’Shea of quarterback Zach Collaros.
The Blue Bombers had just gotten away with a closer-than-people-thought-it-would-be win in Edmonton. “(Aaron) Grymes drops that ball and he comes right back and hits Rasheed Bailey.”
The Winnipeg head coach was referring to what looked like a surefire pick-six for Grymes and the Elks, in what was a 16-16 ball game, in the fourth quarter. Collaros followed – on the very next play – with a 48-yard bomb to Bailey.
“Unfazed, right?” said O’Shea. “You’ve always got a chance with a winner like that.”
Turns out Collaros has a name for shaking off a bad mistake like the throw he made on the near-interception.
“It’s kinda the ‘snap and clear’ mentality that we talk about,” he said, sounding like a veteran who is very comfortable living with the fact that he is, in fact, a mere mortal.
“It’s definitely a skill which you have to work on. You can’t live in the past.”
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Kicker Ali Mourtada is made of some tough stuff. Credit to him for taking “snap and clear” to heart, and bouncing back after a terrible Week 10.
HE’S PRETTY GOOD TOO, YOU KNOW.
— CFL (@CFL) October 16, 2021
The Winnipeg offence is blessed with great weapons. And the names above get lots of attention. Receiver Rasheed Bailey gets some, too, but not nearly as much, I don’t think.
Well, after his corner route touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Bombers’ win in Edmonton, Bailey let us all know that he’s noticed that.
“Put some respect on my name!” he hollered, twice, as the camera caught him heading to the Winnipeg sideline.
That was a high-octane, emotional moment, for sure. Afterward, at his post-game media conference, Bailey was nothing but a team guy, no hint of bragging in the least.
“All credit to my quarterback,” he said of Zach Collaros and the throw that got the Bombers what turned out to be the winning score.
If we’re just really waking up to Rasheed Bailey, the Bombers are not. They’ve known all along just how important he is to their fortunes on offence, as he often has done the dirty work for other ball carriers.
“A guy who does a lot for our offence,” said Collaros. “A guy that is asked a lot of especially in the blocking game, in the run game. He continues to get better at that, he continues to get better at his understanding of defences.”
PICK A DIRECTION. NO, NOT THAT ONE
Just like Chuck Noland at the end of Cast Away, the BC Lions are standing at a dusty intersection, a bit bewildered by recent events and looking at possible ways to go. If I were them, I’d choose the road that the woman in the pick-up truck went down. But, it’s up to them.
Pick the right road and there’s salvation. Pick one of the wrong ones and there are varying degrees of, you know, less salvation.
One of the possible directions they could go – and the question was asked by my esteemed colleague here at CFL.ca, Jim Morris – is a change at quarterback and a choice to start Nathan Rourke over Michael Reilly in Week 12, in Winnipeg.
Forget it, though. That direction, right now, is the equivalent of “a whole lotta nothin’ all the way to Canada.”
“Absolutely not,” was head coach Rick Campbell’s response to the possibility. “Mike’s a stud and he’s our guy.”
After a promising start, the BC Lions are looking around, trying to find their bearings once again. Five games left. What kind of season will this ultimately be?
As the woman in the pick-up said: “Good luck, cowboy.”
AND FINALLY... Corey Mace and Dave Dickenson have all the energy they need for great sideline celebrations together. All they need now is some choreography. Luckily, you’ve got tons of in-house help for that. Ask any of the DBs.