October 16, 2023

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Week 19

Kevin Sousa/CFL.ca

Hello, Dexter Lawson Jr. I have watched a replay of your diving, one-handed interception against BC over and over and over again and the same question comes up: How? You had absolutely no business picking off that ball and yet you did. Sorcery! Not just receivers earn the honour. You get it too. That interception of your was… ridoncudiculous.

Here are this week’s takeaways.

» Argos stay perfect at home with win over REDBLACKS
» Als score in all three phases to beat Elks on Saturday
» Playoff Scenarios: Als lock down home playoff game


That Toronto defence looked pretty soft and gooey during the first half against the Ottawa REDBLACKS, allowing yards galore on chunk plays and three touchdown drives along with one for a field goal.

Not that they didn’t have a couple of moments here and there, with two sacks and a pick.

But, mostly, they looked discombobulated. If not fully discombobulated, they were certainly lacking quite a bit of combobulation. I’d put their combobulation level at right around 53 per cent. Hey, man, that’s just analytics.

“I think Corey (defensive coordinator Corey Mace) lit into those guys a bit at halftime,” said Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie.

Did he also say “at my signal, unleash hell”? Because that’s what the Argonaut defence did in the third and fourth quarters, piling up seven more sacks and forcing three fumbles on the way to winning this week’s ‘Ron Swanson Give Me All The Bacon And Eggs You Have Award.’ (Yes, I do award that every week. I just don’t announce it every week.)

At any rate, whatever Corey Mace said to light a fire under the Argos defence, I need that in my life, especially on the occasional Monday morning when I’m feeling uninspired and this close to writing “come up with your own damn takeaways this week.”

Having said that, I do have a few more takeaways for you but, admittedly, my own combobulation level stands at only about 62 per cent. Not to brag, but I usually run at about a full 65.

BONUS RON SWANSON GIVE ME ALL THE BACON AND EGGS YOU HAVE AWARD: Just how many premium defensive linemen do the Argos have anyway?



That was a nice, warm welcome given to Dane Evans on Friday night, as he returned to Hamilton for the first time since being traded to the BC Lions this past off-season.

He smiled, and waved and took in the love of a sort of homecoming.

Then he looted the fine china and special-occasion-only silverware on his way out of the house at the end of the evening.

“I’m glad I was able to step up today,” said Evans who came in and looked very good after standing around on the sideline for three hours. That’s a tough gig. But he went 4-for-4 for 42 yards and pushed the Lions into field goal territory, leaving Sean Whyte to take it from there.

“You’ve just gotta play the game on the sideline,” said Evans of how he could come in and be so sharp like that. “I know it sounds so dumb and cliche.”

Hey, Dane? I’ll be the judge of what’s dumb and cliche if you don’t mind. It’s kind of my area of expertise. Wait… what?

At any rate, some guys are just super good coming in off the bench and Dane Evans is one of those guys.



In watching a Cody Fajardo interview following Montreal’s comeback win in Edmonton, it was crystal clear that the veteran quarterback is having a great time right now, confidence growing and growing.

It’s also clear that he won’t be letting go of pre-season prognostications anytime soon. He knows what was said and he keeps it close.

“Everybody had us ninth or eighth in this league,” said Fajardo. “To be sittin’ here as a ten-win team it just goes to show (that) a band of misfit toys, when they all come together, they can be a pretty good football team.”

It is something when you think about how far the Als have come since a dark and dreary winter, one that saw them ownerless and losing big time players to free agency, like quarterback Trevor Harris and receiver Eugene Lewis.

There were many who figured the Alouettes would be an easy mark this season, and many who figured Fajardo at quarterback would be one of the reasons why.

He is relishing the momentum the Als are building right now, quite obviously. And he’s not Charlie-in-the-box at all. Maybe Cody Fajardo is actually Yukon Cornelius.



In Week 20 and in Week 21, coaches are going to have some decisions to make in games that don’t mean anything to their teams in the standings.

When the Argos hit the field in Regina this weekend, it could be argued that back-up quarterback Cameron Dukes should get the start, the way he did a few weeks back in Winnipeg.

But judging by Ryan Dinwiddie’s comments after his Argos beat Ottawa, that might not necessarily be so. He might be feeling that starter Chad Kelly isn’t quite in the place he ought to be right now, performance-wise.

“Chad’s gotta continue to play,” said Dinwiddie. “We gotta get him going. I wanna make sure he’s not rusty goin’ into the playoffs.”

Both Hamilton and Montreal have byes this week, and then a game between the two that could be pre-seasony as all heck, drenched in vanilla, lest they tip their hands at all for the following week’s Eastern Semi-Final clash. (MID-TAKEAWAY WISHFUL THINKING TAKEAWAY: I’d love for a coach – just once – to go into a game like this with an outlandish game plan of nothing but fancy trick plays and oddball formations, loading up on just ludicrous stuff in order to freak the opponent out ahead of the playoff meeting.)

Montreal might want to sit Cody Fajardo and give back-up Caleb Evans a healthy taste of action. But Fajardo says he’s feeling fine and wants the ball. “I don’t wanna go two weeks without playing a football game,” said Fajardo. “I’m definitely gonna be chompin’ at the bit and asking (Coach) Maas to play as much as I can in that game.”

The Ticats got a pretty decent half of football out of Bo Levi Mitchell in their loss but got good stuff out of Matthew Shiltz in relief, too. What will head coach Orlondo Steinauer do? Give Mitchell a whole game, perhaps?

“That’s a good question,” said Steinauer after Friday night’s game against BC. “I honestly don’t have the answer. We have not mapped it that far ahead. We’ll make a wise choice there.”

Mitchell says he’s fine with whatever the coaches decide, he says. He also says he is prepared to go the distance at this point.

“Mentally, I’m gonna be ready to go from now until the Grey Cup, and play every snap.”

Good luck with your decision-making, coaches. Because as Steinauer says:

“You play somebody and they get hurt then it’s ‘why did you play ‘em?’ You don’t play ‘em and they’re rusty, they’re not sharp for the playoffs, then it’s ‘why didn’t you play ‘em some?’”

Second guessing? In sports? Perish the thought.



It’ll be a very nice bye week for Montreal returner James Letcher Jr., who made a heck of a mark in just his third game as an Alouette.

That was a stunner of a missed field goal return against Edmonton, a 125-yard odyssey that left his lungs burning, he says, for just about the rest of the third quarter.

“My legs were done,” the grad of Washburn University (Go Ichabods!) said on the Alouettes post-game show.

He wasn’t too tired to light up the frame with a million watt smile, though, as he spoke. Asked if he’d be bringing the football back home during the bye week, Letcher replied: “I’m bringing it home for sure. I’m gonna sleep with it on the plane.”

Question is: Which trip will have been longer for that ball? The plane ride? Or that incredible return?

AND FINALLY… Bowling? You scoff, I know. But if the Saskatchewan Roughriders come out fairly well combobulated against Toronto on Saturday, we’ll all go bowling next week.

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