Six weeks of CFL football are in the rear-view after another four-game weekend. With 28 teams participating in the first NFL Sunday of the new season, the CFL went with a three-game triple-header on Saturday, preceded by one Friday night game.
Hamilton at Toronto
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts clashed for a second-straight week, this time from Toronto at BMO Field.
Again, it was the home team that came away with the victory as the Argonauts hung on for the nail-biting win.
After trailing by ten points to begin the final frame, Ticats running back Sean Thomas Erlington registered a 21-yard touchdown run to bring Hamilton within one with just 1:31 remaining. However, Michael Domagala’s extra point attempt would hit the upright, keeping the score at 17-16 Toronto, the final.
Argonauts quarterback Nick Arbuckle would provide both of his team’s touchdowns. The 27-year-old put up the game’s first points on a one-yard quarterback sneak late in the first quarter, and then found DJ Foster early in the second for a 40-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
However, Arbuckle did throw two interceptions and he was not pleased about his performance, despite the win.
“Overall I feel like me and the offence just did not play well enough to win in the second half. It feels like a loss almost for me,” he said. “That interception I threw at the end, that’s going to sit with me for the next 24 hours, for sure. I was trying to throw the ball away and I didn’t even get it to the sideline. Like, who does that? There were a lot of plays we left out there on offence.”
Toronto improves to 3-2 with the win; the best record in the CFL East, while Hamilton falls to 2-3.
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers got the better of the shorthanded Saskatchewan Roughriders for a second-straight week, with a 33-9 Banjo Bowl victory.
Saskatchewan was able to keep it close through two quarters, trailing 12-9 at the half, but Cody Fajardo was forced to leave the game with a third quarter injury as the Riders surrendered 21 unanswered points in the second half.
Zach Collaros played an efficient game under centre for the Bombers, going 18-22 for 278 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Former Rider Nic Demski served as his top target with 5 catches and 134 yards, while Kenny Lawler recorded 97 yards and a touchdown.
Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson admitted that the Blue Bombers are on a different level than his team at this point in time.
“Right now they are the better football team than we are and by quite a bit and that’s the truth,” Dickenson said. “They beat us by (15) in the first game and 24 this time. That’s (39) points in two games and that’s a big differential.”
Winnipeg sits at a CFL-best 5-1 while the Riders fall to 3-2 after a 3-0 start to the season.
Calgary at Edmonton
After falling to their provincial rivals at home last week, the Calgary Stampeders bounced back with a 32-16 win over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday.
Stamps starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell made his return to action after missing three games due to injury. He struggled in his first game back, completing just 23 of his 42 pass attempts and an interception, but did record 276 yards and one touchdown. Ultimately, with the help of his defence, it would prove to be enough for the win.
Wide receiver Kamar Jorden was the star on offence, tallying 12 receptions, 159 yards and a touchdown. Jorden leads the CFL in receiving yards with 516 on the year.
For Edmonton, Trevor Harris went 17-25 and 221 yards passing while James Wilder finished with 62 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Calgary coach Craig Dickenson was thrilled with how his team responded following last week’s loss at home.
“What I love is the pride in our group,” said Dickenson. “We kind of got embarrassed on our home turf, defensively probably more than we have all year. I was wondering how they were going to respond. So to see the guys play the game they did, that shows a lot of character.”
Calgary improves to 2-4 while Edmonton falls to 2-3 with the loss.
Ottawa at BC
The BC Lions exploded for a massive first-half offensive performance as they ran away with an easy 45-13 win over the Ottawa Redblacks.
They found themselves up 28-7 just 16 minutes and 19 seconds into the game, and on pace for 70 points at halftime.
Michael Reilly completed 22 of his 26 passes for 319 yards and 4 touchdowns as three different Lions receivers found the endzone in this one.
Reilly is pleased with what he has seen from his team over the last couple weeks after a shaky start to the season, but he and his team know there remains plenty of work to do.
“We’re in a pretty good position, but there’s still a lot of work to be done moving forward. I don’t think there’s any confusion about that in our locker room. But I like the trajectory that we’re on, and I think that we’re the type of team that’s going to continue to improve.”
Redblacks quarterback Dominque Davis threw for 333 yards in the loss, but it took him nearly twice as many passing attempts as Reilly. He finished 30-51, with one touchdown and one interception.
Ottawa falls to a CFL-worst 1-4 while the Lions move into a tie with Saskatchewan for second in the West at 3-2.
CFL week seven will feature a pair of double-headers on Friday and Saturday night, starting with Calgary at Hamilton, followed by Toronto-Saskatchewan from Regina. Then the Lions will travel to Montreal to take on the Als on Saturday before the league-leading Blue Bombers visit the Elks. Ottawa will get their second and final bye week of the CFL season.