November 6, 2023

Landry’s 5 takeaways from Division Semi-Finals

Jimmy Jeong/

Hello, Vernon Adams Jr. Very impressed by your pre-game visualization techniques. So much so that I decided to try that for this week’s takeaways. I sat down in a comfy chair, pretended a laptop was in front of me and visualized brilliant takes flowing from my fingers as I air-typed. For about thirty seconds. I woke up a few hours later with a sore neck and wondering where I was for a few seconds. Is that how this is supposed to work?

Here are the Semi-Final takeaways.

» Adams scores five majors in first career playoff win
» Costabile: My favourite moments from the Western Semi-Final
» MMQB: Semi-Final weekend produces questions



Smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy, that Vernon Adams was.

The BC Lions quarterback was pretty well note perfect in the Western Semi-Final, with 413 yards passing, two touchdown throws, 54 yards rushing and three touchdown runs to his credit.

There are a number of reasons for that and based on their quarterback’s performance in the Western Semi-Final, the Lions ought to try and replicate the conditions as best they can.

Adams said he actually had a tough week at practice prior to his splendid game so maybe it’s worth trying to make him uncomfortable this week. Tie his shoelaces together. Make him throw left-handed. Have Mathieu Betts stare at him endlessly.

There was also the long process of visualization that Adams employed prior to kick-off and I’m sure he’ll do that once again before Saturday’s game against the Bombers.

There was another thing.

“Coach Jordan gave a great speech right before the game,” said Adams of offensive coordinator Jordan Maksymic. “It really fired me up.”

Get to writing your first draft of this week’s speech, coach.

BONUS TAKEAWAY: Vernon Adams Sr. is very possibly another key element in driving Jr. to the heights. “Oh, he’s here,” said Jr. after Saturday’s win. “Last night, he had the talk with me. He said ‘you better use your feet.’ So I knew I needed to do that so I didn’t hear (about it) tonight.”


Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo is really feeling it and you could tell that late in the Eastern Semi-Final, when the veteran quarterback took off on a run and got absolutely filled in by one of the CFL’s hardest-hitting secondary tacklers, Hamilton’s Stavros Katsantonis.

“Wooooh!” Fajardo exclaimed as he quickly got back on his feet.

“I felt like myself again,” he said on the Alouettes YouTube post-game show. “I felt like my college days.”

Montreal head coach Jason Maas was pleased with his quarterback’s decision-making when it came to using his legs and you can bet all the Spirit of Edmonton drink tokens in the world that the Toronto Argonauts will be made to deal with that in the Eastern Final.

“I think you’re gonna see a little more of Cody playing that way,” said Maas with a grin.

Out in BC, Lions’ coach Rick Campbell hinted strongly that he’ll be encouraging Adams to continue to take off whenever he feels it, too.

“I’m all for it,” Campbell said. “I don’t like those coaches that tell quarterbacks to not run.”

Me neither.


Stars are stars and we expect them to show up in big games and shine even more brightly.

We also know that somewhere along the way, an unpredicted star will emerge from the ranks of a team’s proletariat. We just don’t know who or when.

Jake Harty was that surprise during the Eastern Semi-Final, scoring a fourth quarter touchdown that gave the Alouettes the firm grip they were looking for on the way to victory. Harty, who had three catches in the game after totalling just four during the regular season, wasn’t even supposed to be a pass-catcher on his touchdown play, brought in, he said, to be an extra blocker.

But when he noticed his quarterback was not delivering the ball, and with no one to actually have to block on the play as it turned out, Harty knew what to do.

“I knew Cody was in the pocket for about four or five seconds,” said Harty. “I knew his progression. He was looking for an (outlet) route.”

A few seconds later, and after a mid-run bobble that made things a bit more adventurous (Harty has one of his thumbs in a cast), the Calgary native was in the end zone as a poster boy for unexpected heroes finding the spotlight and then making the moment count.

Who will it be in the Eastern and Western Finals?



Montreal receiver Austin Mack quickly made a name for himself this season as a smooth and sharp route runner who can get up and pull down contested balls. But if you thought he was merely a gazelle out there, Saturday’s game showed us something more; Toughness.

After getting blasted in traffic as he tried to make a catch during the second quarter, Mack made his way to the Montreal locker room to be checked over by doctors.

Moments later, the Alouettes forced a turnover in Hamilton territory and after getting a green light to get back in to action, he raced out of the tunnel and onto the field, where almost immediately he outmuscled Ticat corner Richard Leonard who’d locked him up in press coverage, and then hauled in a touchdown strike from Fajardo.

And lest you think Mack doesn’t initiate the rough and tumble stuff out there and can merely respond to it when it is thrust upon him, Harty gave his teammate a shout out for a key block on his way to the end zone, too.


Almost impossible to choose just one winner of the Ron Swanson “Bring Me All The Bacon And Eggs You Have” Award this week, so let’s mention a few of the more garish candidates.

BC linebacker Josh Woods comes to mind for a game that saw him in on pretty well every tackle the Lions made. Well, it seemed that way. Woods gobbled up 11 tackles – three of them for losses – and chipped in with a knockdown as well. Even he seemed to be wondering why the hell he was so omni-present when he got up from his 11th stop, smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say “yeah, I can’t explain this either.”

His teammate, receiver Keon Hatcher is a candidate for the award as well, with nine catches for 195 yards and a touchdown. He seemed to think that maybe it was the vintage Randy Moss jersey he’d worn to the game that powered him, but he also made note of his hair, too, so I guess the chief takeaway we can muster here is that Hatcher will probably show up in Winnipeg looking the same way. Also that Hatcher continues to be, you know, pretty excellent.

Montreal linebacker Darnell Sankey submitted his own “For Your Consideration” reel consisting of eight tackles, two sacks, a knockdown and an interception. Pretty “look at me, look at me, look at me” of him, wasn’t it?

His teammate, Shawn Lemon gets consideration, too, but not so much for gaudy numbers. Two sacks is great, and all, but not what you’d call gluttonous. It’s just that Lemon sacked both Matthew Shiltz and Bo Levi Mitchell after predicting, pre-game, that he’d do just that.

Oh. And I do suppose Adams Jr. ought to be included in this group too, obviously.

AND FINALLY… “We’re gonna be friggin’ ready.” – Mack looking ahead to the Eastern Final in Toronto.

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