By Jason Langvee
The longest week in recent CFL history has now come and gone, and we saw ourselves some classic October football. Like I promised last week, we will talk about that crazy one-handed grab Chad Owens put up to win the first of his squads two week 16 matches. Following on the heels of Toronto and Ottawa’s Thursday night clash was Friday’s game held between Hamilton and Saskatchewan. Saturday brought us two western match-ups that pitted: Calgary & Edmonton, and Winnipeg & BC, against one another to determine; league supremacy, and playoff viability, respectively. On Thanksgiving Monday, the Argo’s played their second game of the week against the Montreal Alouettes. If you were fortunate enough to watch all five of these games, you and I would assuredly agree that it’s beginning to feel a lot like the post-season. Enough with the intro’s, let’s get into the thick of some great football.
We told you to watch it last week, but did you? Well click the play button and take in that grab here: Chad Owens Catch. In this contest between Ottawa and Toronto, it was the Argonauts that had all the answers. Trevor Harris stepped on the field against a titan in Henry Burris. Harris emerged victorious on the day as the young-gun out-shot the veteran by completing 32 of his 44 pass attempts for a total of 397 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. Toronto’s big receivers won their assignments as guys like Kevin Elliott (3 catches for 80 yards & 1TD) were consistently climbing the ladder to win contested balls. Add to that CO2 and you have yourself the making’s for a big offensive win over a divisional rival. Toronto took this game 38-35 in the dying seconds to remain atop of the CFL’s eastern division.
Not to be outdone by the Argo’s, Hamilton took to Tim Horton’s Field on Friday looking to hand Saskatchewan their 13th loss of the season. With Zach Collaros out of the Tabbies’ depth charts, it was the rookie Jeff Matthews that was tasked with leading this potent offensive squad. Fortunately for Hamilton fans, Matthews was nails in this performance as he was able to toss 22 completions for an outstanding 385 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those 3 TD passes were dispersed between: Terrell Sinkfield Jr., Tiquan Underwood, and Luke Tasker who finished with 163, 108, and 50 receiving yards, respectively. Roughrider John Chick had a stellar outing himself as he tacked on 3 more sacks to his 2015 totals. With 3rd down specialist; Justin Medlock on Hamilton’s roster, those sacks did little to sway Hamilton’s momentum in this game. Medlock closed the game perfect on his 6 combined field goal and extra-point attempts to tally 12 points for the Ticats. Hamilton won the game 30-15.
Saturday’s game number one took place in Calgary where the Eskimos looked to come in and do what has been so difficult for them; beat the Stamps at home. In a game that wasn’t without its own environmental factors, it was Edmonton’s relentless forward pressure that ultimately earned them this week’s win. Despite throwing 2 interceptions, Mike Reilly still found himself controlling this game completing a very commendable 29 passes, the most important of which coming down by way of a Kenny Stafford TD catch 33 yards away from Reilly’s line of scrimmage. Calgary workhorses; Jon Cornish, and Marquay McDaniel both put in honest efforts, but in the end it was Edmonton that put together a cohesive team effort to take this match 15-11.
Thanksgiving Monday brought CFL fans a beautiful reason to sit down and relax, thanks to the bout between Toronto’s Argonauts and Montreal’s Alouettes. Of course; turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pie and a healthy dose of annual post-meal shame, only served to add to Monday’s football climate. In this contest, two very potent offences were made to seem anemic thanks to two even better defences. For the Alouettes, that effort came from guys like Winston Venable and Gabriel Knapton, who combined for 15 tackles and 4 sacks against the Boatmen. For Toronto, that pressure came from the defensive line who forced all 3 of the quarterbacks that passed for Montreal to execute errant plays. With strong defence blanketing passing schemes, Scott Milanovich began to steadily increase his demands on the former Montreal tailback; Brandon Whitaker. After four quarters of play, that decision paid off for the Argos as Whitaker closed the game rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown. Toronto took their second victory of week 16 by a score of 25-17.
In the week’s last remaining game, in which you now know this week’s Featured Player took the field, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers took late action to defeat the BC Lions. What is different about this defeat though, is that for the first time this season, we were unable to dismiss a certain player’s performance, despite it not resulting in his team’s victory. Emmanuel Arceneaux made every Blue Bomber worry about defending his voracious assault on contested passes Saturday night, and that is only one small reason why he is the RIVALUS Featured Player for week 16.
Jonathon Jennings and his BC Lions offence seemed to be in their element on Saturday, as he started the game completing upwards of 17 passes with only 1 incompletion to hurt his efficiency ratings. To answer that though, the Blue Bombers put together the biggest comeback of their season capping off with a special teams touchdown coming by way of a blocked kick (Teague Sherman) turned ST TD by way of 2014 Winnipeg stand-out; Ian Wild. With all that said, the Manny Show was too much to ignore when deciding which player in the CFL made the biggest impact to their game this week. Arceneaux finished his night catching 8 balls for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns. If those stats are enough to convince you of Manny’s outstanding evening, take a look at THIS.
Arceneaux won his skill assignments, and then went full BEAST-mode to earn every yard that his game totals reported. Manny, you owned your performance on Saturday, and for that reason you are the RIVALUS Featured Player for week 16 in the CFL.