Hello, Steven Dunbar Jr., let me just say this: Sorcery! That one-handed catch against Ottawa was some mystical magic and I do not believe you could have accomplished it without calling on the forces of another realm.
If you do it again then you should be forced to suit up in a flowing robe and a wizard hat for every pass pattern thereafter.
» Recap: Argos get a whale of a win over Riders at TDA
» Steinberg’s MMQB: A showcase week across the league
» O’Leary: TDA was a football game wrapped in a party
» Watch: Steven Dunbar with a ridiculous one-handed grab
Here are the Week 6 takeaways.
THESE TEAMS SHOULD PLAY EACH OTHER EVERY WEEK
Think I’ll steal the words of Toronto’s Cam Phillips in order to sum up the dizzying beauty that all four games provided for us in Week 6. “Everything in abundance,” the second-year receiver said right after his 40-yard touchdown catch against Saskatchewan. Appropriate descriptor for Week 6.
Entertainment was everywhere, and in all forms, even if the Ottawa/Hamilton game did take on the personality of a Tim Burton stop-motion feature for large chunks time. But even if you were to take that game out of the equation, it’s a heck of a week. Like Meat Loaf woulda said if he’d only had the patience to wait out a larger sample size: Three outta four ain’t bad.
But I’d suggest the REDBLACKS/Ticats game stay in the picture because it contained the wildly-fluctuating drama of a Dane Evans mini-opera, a fevered finish, and a stoopid-good catch by a sorcerer.
Edmonton and Montreal? A furious fourth quarter comeback and a one-point squeaker. Winnipeg and Calgary? A playoff atmosphere and haymakers liberally thrown between the top two teams (presently) in the league. Toronto and Saskatchewan? Bristling irritability and pad-popping antagonism, with a late pick-six to cap the show.
I’m glad that all happened but sad that it’s over.
What’s that? The Argos and Roughriders do play each other again this week? Okey-dokey, then. Buckle up.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: What’s the over/under on flags thrown in the first three or four minutes of the Toronto/Saskatchewan re-match? I’d expect a flurry of calls as officials loudly send the message: “Not today, boys.”
BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: No, these teams should not play each other every week because then I’d be robbed of seeing the current edition of the BC Lions in action.
COVERING THAT GUY IS A NIGHTMARE
Elks’ receiver Kenny Lawler was targeted 13 times during the Montreal game and caught seven passes for 92 yards. But the yardage Edmonton accrued on the passes that were headed his way and were NOT completed? 118 yards.
Four of the six incompletions on Lawler routes came with pass interference penalties of 10, 20, 38 and 50 yards, the final three coming against the same defender, Wesley Sutton, who now forever more gets to see Kenny Lawler in his stress dreams.
Lawler doesn’t just make life miserable for qualified pass defenders by being good at his own job. He also has the ability to suck them into his atmosphere and crash them on the surface of his planet. If Steven Dunbar Jr. should have to run pass patterns dressed as Merlin the Magician, then Kenny Lawler should have to wear full Pennywise the Clown make-up as he reels defensive backs into the pass coverage sewer. (Memo to Stephen King: If I ever see a story about an evil football player who has the other-worldly abilities to alter the trajectory of players around him due to the might of his own personal gravity, I’ma gonna sue.)
WINNIPEG’S FOUND ANOTHER
Ding! Ding! Ding! The Blue Bombers have a new nightmare of their own emerging after losing Lawler to Edmonton on free agency.
Carlton Agudosi wasn’t Winnipeg’s most prolific receiver in the win over Calgary – that honour went to Greg Ellingson who added 152 yards to his never ending story of clutch-catchery – but he was a dominating presence, clearly showing that dealing with him is like trying to move a heavy, big ol’ wooden shed from a corner of your brother-in-law Rick’s back yard to a new spot 150 feet away, in front of the pond. If that seems like an oddly specific reference, well, now you know how I spent my Sunday prior to writing this column.
Point is, covering Carlton Agudosi is hard. Six catches for 71 yards and a couple of touchdowns. And that first touchdown came against one of the game’s very best, Tre Roberson, a notoriously physical corner who is exceptionally difficult to out-muscle and who did absolutely everything right in trying to defend that pass.
THE ARGO DEFENCE HAS ENTERED THE CHAT
Linebacker Wynton McManis and his late-game interception return for a game-winning touchdown was the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae that was Toronto’s best defensive outing of the season so far.
A formidable pass rush, keyed by defensive tackle Shawn Oakman, led the way with five sacks. Behind the line, lots of flying to the ball activity from the likes of Henoc Muamba and Jamal Peters, and three interceptions to turn the tide. If the unit is just now getting comfy with defensive coordinator Corey Mace’s plans, there might be more to come.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: No, Kian Schaffer-Baker is not running out of bounds. Nope. Nopety-nope-nope-nope. Not ever. Stop thinking about the possibility.
HE’S NOT AN ELK. HE’S A UNICORN. A BUDDING, BUDDING UNICORN
That was an impressive outing by Edmonton’s Kai Locksley on Thursday night, as the Elks’ third string quarterback continued to emerge, looking more and more comfortable as a receiver with every route. 4 catches for 36 yards on the night, had Locksley, and maybe as many injuries that had him looking like he was in some considerable discomfort. But he kept on trotting out there and kept on getting mixed up where he could, including continuing his short yardage quarterbacking chores, scoring two rushing touchdowns through the meat locker that is better known as goal line defence.
Good hands, nice routes. Toughness. And a resolution to do it through thick and thin. Edmonton may have found a special one here. If he starts rolling up some passing yards we might just have a modern-day Danny Barrett on our hands.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Nice to see that cruise missile arm of Taylor Cornelius back in action. The second-year pivot looked a bit more polished and a bit more comfortable out there than he ever did in his rookie year. Have the tumblers clicked? Did the Elks have the answer to their QB question on the roster all along?
AND FINALLY… Don’t look back. Just know that Marco Dubois is gaining on you.