Hello, Boris Bede. Hell of a play, tracking down Chandler Worthy on that kick return on Saturday. And to nab him with a diving, ankle and heel tackle? Chef’s kiss. Well, if anyone knows that a person’s power resides in the foot it’d be a kicker.
Here are this week’s takeaways.
» Argos clinch playoff spot with home win over Als
» Ford navigates Stamps’ defence in Elks’ win
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TO DREAM THE IMPROBABLE DREAM
I think that maybe I write a takeaway about this kind of thing at least once a season, so let’s call this a re-takeaway. Or maybe, I dunno, a ‘groundhog day-away.’ No. ‘Groundhog daykeaway.’
Don’t count out a team on a short week.
The Hamilton Ticats came off a shorty before beating Ottawa on Friday night and what some refer to as conventional wisdom would have you believing they’d be easy pickings for even a struggling team like the REDBLACKS.
TSN’s Paul LaPolice brought up an interesting point during the game telecast, one about the short week working in your favour in one respect; it forces you to simplify game plans and to concentrate mostly on what your team does best. Trimming things down in order to cope may well have been a boon to the Ticat fortunes in that game.
In Toronto, the Argos got just a bit more rest than Hamilton did, and came into their game against Montreal with lots of nicked up starters, having merely done walk-thrus as prep. They were fine.
“We told (the players) we’ve gotta be mentally tough,” said head coach Ryan Dinwiddie after the game. “When you’re mentally tough, the physically tough comes with it.”
Short week? Not ideal. But not fatal.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Having no byes for the rest of the season is not ideal either. But being so far ahead of the rest of the East Division pack means the Argos can create bye weeks for players whenever they like the rest of the way.
THE EASTERN ROAD TO HAMILTON ALMOST CERTAINLY GOES THROUGH TORONTO. AND IT’S BEEN PAVED BY THESE GUYS
It has been a long time, I think, since the Toronto Argonauts have been able to boast that they have the best offensive line in the CFL.
That might be where we’re at, presently.
I said “might,” so stand down, Winnipeg. I see you.
Toronto’s pass pro and run blocking has been dominant for most of the season, maybe never more so than it was on Saturday.
Toronto’s unit – starters Isiah Cage, Ryan Hunter, Darius Ciraco, Peter Nicastro and Dejon Allen – was Fort Knocks against the Als. (I’m trademarking ‘Fort Knocks,’ by the way. Interested offensive lines who want to make T-shirts can contact me for reasonable rates)
A pity that the Bomber and Argo offensive lines don’t go directly up against each other when the teams meet on the 29th. Maybe they can hold a ping-pong tourney beforehand to settle things. A full contact ping-pong tourney.
“OH, GOODIE,” SAY DEFENCES ACROSS THE LAND. “HE SAYS THERE’S MORE”
Brady Oliveira said the word “more” a few times during his post-game media conference on Saturday.
“I’m coming for more, man,” he told reporters.
The Blue Bombers’ running back, you may recall, struggled for a chunk of last season until he decided to just run with power and a ‘barge through’ mentality. Now, he is consciously adding finesse to his arsenal as his confidence takes a giant leap during this sensational year he’s having.
“I’m able to go out there and play at ease and play freely,” Oliveira said. “Not just lower my pads no more. I can just play free and make people miss because I know I was capable of doing that.”
So there you have it. CFL defences. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Although I would not suggest trying to forearm tackle Brady Oliveira. He’ll run right through that. And you’ll hurt your arm.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Something else that has been leading to Oliveira’s explosion? Being on the same page, he says, with his offensive linemen. Shout out to Stanley Bryant, Geoff Gray, Chris Kolankowski, Patrick Neufeld and Jermarcus Hardrick. Say, are you guys interested in “Fort Knocks” T-shirts? Don’t know if you heard but reasonable rates apply.
THAT’S LIKELY TO LEAVE A MARK
“Well, well, well. How the turntables….” – Michael Scott.
The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders did the ol’ switcheroo in their back-to-back set, with the Elks roaring back against the Stamps for a last-second victory on Saturday night, returning the favour of five days previous.
For the Stampeders, it is a gut punch extraordinaire.
Not only did they fail to stay even with Hamilton in a possible crossover playoff scenario, they failed to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them when the Blue Bombers halted the rise of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (at least for now). The Stamps would have been just two back of third-place Sasky, hoping that an Elks upset over the Roughriders in Week 15 could’ve put them on a collision course with destiny when they meet the Riders, at home, in Week 19.
That might still happen but if the Calgary Stampeders come up just short in their bid for a post-season slot, they will look back on that fourth quarter in Edmonton as perhaps the most disappointing disappointment in a season riddled with disappointing disappointments. And they’ll do it disappointingly.
It’s a disappointment, is what I’m trying to say.
BONUS TAKEAWAY: Perhaps no one in the history of football has worked harder over a two-game span than Cameron Judge did in trying to spy, and attempting to corral, Tre Ford. Judge has earned the right to do something more relaxing during this bye week. Like climbing Mount Everest.
KNOCK KNOCK. WHO’S THERE? DEE. DEE WHO? DEE-NIED
This particular takeaway is a rather simple one. And it pertains to the Ottawa REDBLACKS’ desire to run right at the interior of the Hamilton Ticats’ defence on three straight occasions when scrimmaging from the Hamilton one-yard line during the first quarter.
They stop you once? I can see you maybe trying it again. Let’s get a better push, boys! They do it twice in succession? I do not try to burst through that door again on the third attempt. I try door number two.
Or, at the very least, maybe I line up in a different way to make it appear as though I’m not gonna do the same thing again, on the third try.
Variety is the spice of life. It is my belief that it is also your friend in short yardage goal-to-go situations when the brute force battle ain’t going your way.
AND FINALLY… I’m not sure what was longer. “Oppenheimer,” or Jonathan Moxey’s fumble return against Edmonton. Both could have used an intermission though.