August 21, 2023

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 11

Arthur Ward/

Hello, T.J. Brunson. Some guys like to show up to the party and quietly blend in as they begin to mingle. But your hellacious special teams tackle on BC’s Terry Williams shows us you’re the other guy. The guy who bellows as he comes through the gate, pounds back a tall boy and then cannonballs into the pool in order to announce his arrival. We see you, Brunson. And you know we all know who you are now, that’s for certain.

Here are the Week 11 takeaways.

» Evans score late as Als complete comeback
» Riders survive comeback attempt from Lions
» Elks beat ‘Cats for first 2023 win
» Bombers survive defensive battle against Stamps
» Sign up and watch CFL games on CFL+ in the U.S. and Internationally


I like to think that Samuel Emilus yelled “zoink!” just as he snatched that ball away from BC Lions defender Marcus Sayles on his perfectly-timed, sailing-through-the-air-with-the-greatest-of-ease touchdown catch on Sunday night.

That was the week’s most ridonkudiculous catch and it is especially fun to watch (not if you’re Sayles, of course) when you see the field level video angle of it that the Saskatchewan Roughriders tweeted out. The timing. The height on his leap. The hang time. Just glorious.

With five receptions for 106 yards, Samuel Emilus now has 577 yards on the year and four touchdowns, meaning he is continuing his ascent and I don’t just mean literally.

If the Saskatchewan Roughriders have found their voice, finally, it is Emilus who is providing those sweet harmonies you hear.


The two clubs at the bottom of the East Division have some psychological rebuilding to do in the wake of the Week 11 results.

Hard to know which of the Hamilton Ticats and Ottawa REDBLACKS were stung worse by their defeats. Ottawa had control of their game against Montreal and let it slip slide away inside the three minute warning. Hamilton came off a bye, with a new offensive coordinator in place, and dropped a homer to the previously winless Elks.

Soul-sucking losses, each of those, leaving both teams looking at a pile of furniture parts with no instructions and wondering where that allen key they had a second ago went to.

If at least one of them doesn’t find some answers soon, it might just be that the Calgary Stampeders – no great shakes themselves so far – come along to steal a crossover spot.



All season long, there’s been talk of a ‘big three’ in the CFL, with the Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers being the cool kids with the club jackets that went along with their towering status. Just those three, we all said, and everybody else farther and farther down below.

Maybe, though, the time will soon come when that clubhouse gets some renovations so that it can hold the Montreal Alouettes in it as well.

The Als have played very, very good football, putting together four straight victories and showing off excellent depth as some key injuries – on both sides of the ball – threatened to derail them.

Now, there is a big ol’ asterisk attached to this particular takeaway and savvy fans who’ve been paying attention will already know what that is. The Alouettes have lost three games this season, one each to the Argos, Bombers and the Lions. In fact, they lost those games in succession, in Weeks 4, 5 and 6.

Good news for them is they get a chance to remove that asterisk soon. Guess who they play over the next three weeks? That’s right, and really it’s the next four weeks, as they’ll play Toronto in back to backers, Weeks 14 and 15.

Do well in that stretch and the clubhouse will grow by one more member.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: Have the Saskatchewan Roughriders turned a corner? If they have, and do well in two upcoming games against Winnipeg, who knows? We may need an even bigger clubhouse.


How do I know there is a Santa Claus?

Because the Edmonton Elks have won a football game.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. To quote the author, Francis B. Church, “he exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

To quote me: he exists as certainly as A.C. Leonard’s sweet, surprising one-hander abilities exist and you know that they abound and give to Edmonton fans a highest beauty and joy.

The question of whether Santa exists has been answered, empirically, thanks to the hard-working, never surrendering Edmonton Elks and their die hard fans. Now one more question remains. Does he come more than once a year?



The ball sailed deep down the sideline, in a towering arc, on Friday night, launched from the powerful leg and foot of Calgary punter Cody Grace.

But Grace’s targeting was off and that ball drifted a little out of bounds right at the Winnipeg bench, where it was caught in smooth and easy manner by one Jermarcus Hardrick.

The big guy, who has spent his entire career trying to avoid using his hands too much because you can get flagged for that sort of thing as an offensive lineman, looked like a natural. Like he’d been studying returners for years. It was luminous.

So, now, Mike O’Shea, you need to give the people what they want. Just once. Jermarcus Hardrick back there on return duty, ensuring that the kick will be fluidly fielded with no trouble. And I wouldn’t be
surprised if he brought the thing all the way back, methodically swatting some of his would-be tacklers away while others just bounced off him, leaving nothing more than lingering futility in the wake.

I can see it. The longest punt return touchdown in CFL history.

Not in yards. In time.

C’mon, Mike. Give us that gift.

AND FINALLY…In Week 11, goal posts blocked two kicks (and very nearly a third one on Sunday night) and knocked down a pass as well. If I don’t see that in this week’s “Honour Roll” then something’s amiss.

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