October 17, 2022

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 19

The Canadian Press

Hello, Liam Dobson.

Thanks for reminding us that offensive linemen can make big defensive plays too.

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Hats off and a twirl of the ol’ handlebar moustache to you for hustling that 314-pound body of yours downfield after a missed field goal attempt, and then rumbling ninety degrees over toward the sideline and diving to get BC returner Terry Williams by the shoestrings. Enjoy the film room standing ovation, Liam.

Here are the Week 19 takeaways.



A few weeks back I wrote that the Toronto Argonauts were Forrest Gump’s team because of the box of chocolates thingy.

Now, after Saturday night’s good twin/evil twin (other way around, actually) game, I now think they’re like my 1977 Chevy Nova; my beautiful, burgundy – but far from perfect – four-door companion back in the mid 80’s.

That car, with its big, V-8 engine and a hole in the muffler, would stall every time I had to pull up to a stop sign or traffic light, or when I slowed down to pull into a parking spot. But I figured it out. I started to throw the transmission into neutral as I slowed, pressing the gas pedal a bit to rev the engine up, while braking with my left foot. It was an ordeal and I got funny looks from drivers beside me who thought, I guess, that my revving engine meant I was challenging them to race me in their Ford Escort.

When I could get that Nova up to highway speed, though? Boy, howdy. That beauty just sailed along the asphalt like a dream. Two different cars in one. That’s the Argos. The offence, anyway.

“We like to make it interesting,” quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson told TSN after his team’s last second win over the Elks, which consisted of an awful first half and a sublime second. “I think we’re the drama of the CFL,” he added. “We’re still finding our groove, which is the fun part, the frustrating part, and the really exciting part too.”

I get it. Over time – and through many trials and tribulations – I got really, really good at braking with my left foot and revving my Nova’s engine with my right, and getting to the highway so I could turn ‘er loose. And the Argos, currently, are pretty good at left foot braking while they make their way to the highway.

But is that any way to live? What I wouldn’t have given to not have to learn how to brake with my left foot, is all I’m saying.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: I hear Argos’ equipment manager Danny Webb had to cut A.J. Ouellette out of his jersey and shoulder pads after the game because Ouellette was still refusing to release that touchdown-run football from the clutches of his two-armed vice.



The Montreal Alouettes defence was already pretty impressive, with stalwart players making solid plays consistently and spectacular plays continually.

Now, they have a decided ‘X factor’ at play in defensive end Jamal Davis, who has returned to the club after a try-out stint with both the L.A. Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers, and is picking up where he left off after getting nine games in with the Als last season. Picking up, that is, and adding to it. And how.

Davis had a near-sack on the second-last defensive play of Montreal’s big win in Ottawa on Friday night, forcing REDBLACKS’ quarterback Nick Arbuckle into an errant pass as the game’s final moments were draining and Ottawa threatening, in Montreal territory. Then, on the last defensive play, he got the sack, the strip, and the fumble recovery to ice it for Montreal.

All night long, but particularly during crunch time, Davis showed off lightning-fast moves in destroying any notion of comfort Arbuckle may have had in the pocket.

Not all late-season adds are created equal. Montreal’s addition of Davis is a shot of nitrous oxide, a defensive fuel injection that is going to cause a lot of problems for opponents ahead. Good luck, offensive tackles. Thoughts are with you, quarterbacks.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: Two carries for 17 yards, and one of them on a pretty special pocket escape at a critical point in the game? Be careful, Trevor Harris. We’re gonna start to have expectations.

MID-TAKEAWAYS BONUS TAKEAWAY RELATED TO THE BONUS TAKEAWAY FROM THE FIRST TAKEAWAY: Argo staff unsuccessfully attempted to use some kind of industrial contraption to pry A.J. Ouellette’s arms open so that they could get the ball away from him before he boarded the team bus. Hydraulic fluid everywhere.



Hamilton Ticats’ Head Coach Orlondo Steinauer was happy to point out that his faith in his team was warranted. So many had given up on the Ticats – and the coach – during the dark, stumblebum times of weeks past.

“We told ya, stay with us, now,” he told the Ticats Audio Network as he exited a post-game interview with more pep than we’ve seen from him almost this entire, challenging year.

An incredible, unlikely, from-the-jaws-of-defeat victory had Steinauer – and the entire Hamilton organization, I’d assume – walking on air after their thrilling win in Calgary.

As important as the two points are in the standings, the manner in which the Ticats’ fashioned their 35-32 triumph over the Stampeders is the kind of belief-builder they’ve been looking for pretty well all season long, and it sure does seem like the type of win that can catapult a team to the moon and beyond.

And the timing couldn’t be better, could it? Are the Ticats finally turning into the team we all thought they were when the season began, just as the post-season is about to pull into the laneway?

If they are, and if they do, remember; He told you so.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: The latest Ron Swanson ‘Give Me All The Bacon And Eggs You Have’ Award goes to Hamilton linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox, for his 10 tackle, everything, everywhere, all at once performance against the Stamps.

BONUS BONUS TAKEAWAY: A negative can turn into a positive, given the right situation. At times, this season, analysts have pointed out that Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans could be prone to putting too much velocity on his passes, leading to missed opportunities. Well, that well-known arm strength was surely a boon when Evans hit receiver Tim White… excuse me, I mean Himothy… with two beauties against one of the historically better pass defenders we’ve ever known – the wind – to lead the Ticats to their last-second, game-winning touchdown.



After a hot start was blunted by a devastating injury to quarterback Nathan Rourke, the BC Lions went from thinking seriously about challenging Winnipeg for first place to wondering if they’d have to hit the road for the first round of the playoffs.

Saturday night’s win against Winnipeg was a real pushback game for the Lions, who now get firmer control of their destiny in the battle for second place and a home playoff date.

Yes, the Bombers came in with quarterback Zach Collaros on the bench and a few other key starters resting, like guys named Bryant and Hardrick. But Willie was still there, Biggie was still there and so were the likes of Brandon Alexander and Dalton Schoen and Nic Demski and Brady Oliveira and Rasheed Bailey.

The Lions delivered with a thunderous roar in a hard-fought, 40-32 victory, fuelled by goodness from all three phases (especially you, pick-six defence), responding well after Winnipeg had shaved their comfortable, 17-point lead down to one score in the fourth quarter. And don’t forget, BC was without guys named Burnham and Whitehead and Gwacham and, oh yeah, Rourke, so they had their own shortages to deal with.

They looked a lot more like the team we saw before you-know-what happened to you-know-who. And who, by the way was that on the BC sideline, ready to get back to practice this week? You know who. Yes, it’s good to be a Lion again.

MID-TAKEAWAYS BONUS TAKEAWAY RELATED TO THE BONUS TAKEAWAY FROM THE FIRST TAKEAWAY: When the flight crew on the Argos’ Toronto-bound flight insisted that A.J. Ouellette store his touchdown ball in the overheard compartment, he gripped it even more tightly, and refused. A compromise was reached when Ouellette agreed to spend the entire flight in the overhead compartment with the ball.


Hamilton’s first-year placekicker has been rock solid pretty well all year. Early on, we maybe didn’t talk so much about him and that might have had to do with a lot of his field goals coming from in tight as the struggling Ticats left points on the board with failed red zone shorties. Or maybe because the ‘Cats weren’t even getting into field goal range at all, as is borne out in Small’s number of attempts (34) when compared to the likes of Calgary’s Rene Paredes (53 attempts), Ottawa’s Lewis Ward (52) or Montreal’s David Côté (47).

In Friday night’s win in Calgary, the Ticats had a bunch of flashy performers who got a lot of the publicity. But save some for Small, who crushed it all night long, going 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including a wind-aided 57-yarder, and 2-for-2 on converts. “He’s been unbelievable,” said Steinauer. “Those were pressure situations and he just made it happen.”

Small is 22/23 from inside the 40 this season, 9/11 from 40-49, and 4/4 from 50-plus, with his longest being from 58 yards. He’s 23/24 on converts, his only miss, so far, coming in Week 18.

Though his name be but Small, he is fierce.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: We probably don’t talk enough about Coté, either, especially in light of his recent, illustrated abilities to re-set on the fly when snaps and placements go awkwardly.

AND FINALLY… A teammate was seen feeding waffles to A.J. Ouellette at a breakfast joint on Monday morning as Ouellette continued tightly clutching the football.

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