RIVALUS Featured Player – Week 20

Welcome to a very special edition of the RIVALUS Featured Player series! Officially, we are now through the 2015 CFL regular season. On top of knowing who exactly will be playing in the post-season this year, we now also have the final statistical numbers for all of your favourite players. In this week’s article, we will look at all four Week 20 match-ups, along with some final season statistics to show you just how everything fell into place. Ready? Anddddd; break!

The first match-up of Week 20 brought the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to Toronto as the Argonauts were hosted their last regular season home game at the Rogers Center (or SkyDome for you purists). Against the Bombers, Toronto elected to start Ricky Ray under center; presumably to get him some pre-playoff-reps before next week. Ray completed 9 of 12 pass attempts, which was good enough for Scott Milanovich as he then swapped in Trevor Harris for the balance of the game. Toronto’s receivers looked to be comfortable catching passes from both pivots as Diontae Spencer led the boatmen’s receiving corps with 8 catches for 123 yards. In this game the Argonauts controlled: field position and rate of play, and because of that, they eventually bested the Blue Bombers by a score of 21-11.

2015 notable statistical finishes:

#2 Sacks – Jamaal Westerman, WPG – 17 sacks

#3 Passing Yardage – Trevor Harris, TOR – 4,354 yards

In the game that decided who would lead the eastern division in 2015, the Ottawa REDBLACKS hosted the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday afternoon. With Jeff Matthews joining Zach Collaros on the Hamilton IR, it was Jacory Harris that was slotted as Hamilton’s starting quarterback. From inception though, Hamilton’s offence struggled to buzz against Ottawa. For the REDBLACKS on the other hand, offensive production was not an issue in Week 20. Henry Burris once again showed why he can still be named the strongest arm in the CFL. The veteran completed 28 passes for 368 yards, and an unprecedented TD:INT ratio of 6:1. Greg Ellingson had yet another standout game as the wide receiver caught 8 balls to the tune of 152 yards and 3 TD’s. William Powell showed that Ottawa’s offence is no one-trick pony as he rushed for 119 yards against Hamilton’s stingy defense. Ottawa brought more guns to this battle and for that reason they bested Hamilton by a score of 44-28.

2015 notable statistical finishes:

#1 Passing Yardage – Henry Burris, OTT – 5,703 yards

#1 Points – Justin Medlock, HAM – 179 points

#3 Combined Return Yardage– Brandon Banks, HAM – 1,766 yards

#3 Sacks – Justin Capicciotti, OTT – 12 sacks

#3 Interceptions – Abdul Kanneh, OTT – 6 INT’s

Saturday’s evening game pitted the Calgary Stampeders against the newly-crowned 3rd best team in the west; the BC Lions. With a playoff spot locked up, and the consistent play of Jonathon Jennings in the back of most people’s minds, the BC Lions elected to start Travis Lulay at quarterback; presumably to assess his recovery to date. Lulay completed a modest 14 passes for a game-total of 181 passing yards against Calgary, thanks in no small part to the Stampeders’ dynamic defense. No, that was not alliteration for the sake of alliteration. Calgary’s defense keeps opposition on their toes by not allowing themselves to become predictable, which is also probably why the team as a whole is so successful year-in and year-out. On the other side of the ball, Drew Tate had quite a good showing as he completed 18 of his 22 pass attempts for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns. Anthony Parker caught 4 of those passes as he ended his season with a 122-yard performance. Calgary took this game handily by a score of 28-7.

2015 notable statistical finishes:

#1 Receiving Yardage – Eric Rogers, CGY – 1,448 yards

#1 Defensive Tackles – Adam Bighill, BC – 117 tackles

#1 Interceptions – Ryan Phillips, BC – 6 INT’s

#2 Passing Yardage – Bo Levi Mitchell, CGY – 4,551 yards

#2 Rushing Yardage – Andrew Harris, BC – 1,039 yards

#3 Rushing Yardage – Jerome Messam, CGY – 1,006 yards

The week’s final game, and the game in which 2015’s final regular season RIVALUS Featured Player graced the field, took place on Sunday afternoon between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes. In this game, with very little on the line in terms of post-season aspirations, both teams elected to start future-stars in hopes of analyzing their talents. For Saskatchewan, that meant a healthy mix of QB’s: Keith Price and Brett Smith who completed 67% and 73% of their passes, respectively. The Alouettes also started a rookie at QB, and a Canadian one at that as Brandon Bridge led the Al’s for the duration of Sunday’s game. Bridge completed a respectable 70% of his 30 pass attempts for 2 touchdowns, along with 6 rushes for 45 yards. Individually, several players stood out for the Al’s as Tyrell Sutton rushed for 139 yards on 22 carries against Saskatchewan. Rookie-linebacker/defensive back; Chris Ackie showed the league why he was a highly-touted draft-pick as the young defender contributed 7 tackles, 1 sack and a forced fumble. In this game Saskatchewan was able to put together a comeback thanks to players like Ryan Smith who received for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Roughriders took this game in a late OT-comeback by a score of 30-24. Who was the RIVALUS Featured Player this week? Well, let’s first look at the 2015 notable statistical finishes from this game:

2015 notable statistical finishes:

#1 Rushing Yardage – Tyrell Sutton, MTL – 1,059 yards

#1 Combined Return Yardage – Stefan Logan, MTL – 2,420 yards

#1 Sacks – John Bowman, MTL – 19 sacks

#2 Defensive Tackles – Jeff Knox Jr., SSK – 114 tackles

#3 Defensive Tackles – Winston Venable, MTL – 104 tackles

#3 Points – Boris Bede, MTL – 140 points

19 sacks. In a season where John Bowman found himself as a healthy scratch for multiple games, he contributed 19 sacks. To put his season’s success into context, that total is only 4 shy of Cameron Wake’s 2008 performance (23) which earned him a starting spot with the Miami Dolphins shortly thereafter. On Sunday, Bowman contributed 3 sacks which also coincided with his 100th career sack making him the league’s active leader with no signs of slowing down.

John, your tenacity, consistent effort, and love for football have kept you at the top of your game, and by extension; the top of the CFL. On Sunday you showed that with or without a post-season; every snap is precious, and you made every one of them count. Congratulations on being selected as the RIVALUS Featured Player for the final regular-season week of the 2015 CFL season!

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