The 4th week of this 2015 CFL campaign has come and gone, and with it, a whole slew of notable performances from players across the league. Canada’s diverse meteorological conditions made these last four games the first true deviations from the standard blue-skies that we have been fortunate enough to be enjoying thus far this season. Allow us to summarize what happened this week en route to announcing week 4’s RIVALUS Featured Player!
Week 4 in the CFL kicked off with the Montreal Alouettes hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday evening. Although Zach Collaros found some holes to exploit in the Alouettes secondary; by way of 106 aerial yards to Terrence Toliver, it was the Alouettes who seemed to control the bulk of this game. Montreal managed the game’s pace in all 3 phases of the game. On offence, that was accomplished through the air, with Rakeem Cato playing another sound game at quarterback. Cato’s play was highlighted thanks to huge plays by vets like: Fred Stamps, SJ Green, and Nik Lewis who caught for: 119, 56, and 53 yards, respectively. On defence, Jonathan Hefney and Chip Cox contributed shut-down tackles as well as interceptions, and on special teams, Boris Bede extended his rookie-campaign field goal streak to a very respectable 10/10. In the end, Montreal’s consistent effort earned them a 17-13 victory over Hamilton.
With the Saskatchewan Roughriders taking on the BC Lions for the second time in as many weeks, the Riders looked to earn their first W of the 2015 season. Despite big games for: Weston Dressler, AC Leonard, Anthony Allen, Jerome Messam as well as Paul McCallum, Friday night was another opportunity for Travis Lulay and the Lions to shine. Although Lulay only completed 12 passes for 127 yards, it was his composure under immense Sask pocket-pressure that pulled the Lions ahead at several points in this bout. By game’s end, Travis Lulay had rushed the ball 6 times for 105 yards, only to be complimented by his multi-talented back: Andrew Harris, who added another 118 yards of offence (rushing + receiving). Although the stage was set for a poetic comeback-win for Saskatchewan, the Lions held on to this game’s lead to end it 27-24 BC.
The week’s final game had Calgary hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday. If parity was the theme of week 4, this game was the exclamation point as the two Western teams tested one another for the duration of the match-up. Drew Willy had another impressive outing; completing 22 of his 27 pass attempts, 2 of which found the end-zone. Willy’s TD-recipients: Clarence Denmark, and Darvin Adams both had great games as they each broke the elusive 100-yard barrier in receiving yards. Alas, those efforts were ultimately for naught as Jon Cornish broke out in the game’s second half to close with 120 rushing yards over 15 carries. The most impressive effort of the game though, came by way of a Adam Berger (thank you redditor u/RaptorsFromSpace) punt-block, which for a second week in a row in the CFL, was recovered for a special teams touchdown by Adam Thibault. The Stampeders would eventually take the game 26-25 in a hotly-contested game.
With torrential downpours on the menu in Ottawa, the Edmonton Eskimos and the REDBLACKS took the field in a game where several players stood up for the league to take notice. Moisture and wind affected both quarterbacks which seemed to allow Ottawa defensive backs a lot of success contesting throws. By the end of the game,Matt Nichols would commit 3 errors by way of interceptions ball-hawked by: Jerrell Gavins, Brandon McDonald, and Jovon Johnson. Edmonton maintained composure against the elements much better as the game played on though. Nichols’ passing tightened up in the second half of the game which allowed him to find players like Kendial Lawrence 4 times for 92 receiving yards. In the offensive backfield, it was Lawrence’s back-up; Shakir Bell who had his own coming-out party against the REDBLACKS. Bell rushed the ball 18 times for a total of 144 yards in Ottawa, which was good for the biggest single-player-production in the CFL this week. Edmonton would win this game 23-12. Considering that only 1 touchdown was scored for both teams, that leaves 17 points on Edmonton’s scoreboard unaccounted for by their offence. The accountant then, is the man that owned his performance as week 4’s RIVALUS Featured Player. Grant Shaw has earned that honour.
This past week, the Eskimos went to Shaw 5 times to put needed points on the board. Grant went 100% on those attempts as he hit all 5 of his field goal attempts against Ottawa. Although the season is still young, those stats are even more impressive when you consider that Shaw hasn’t missed a field goal yet this season (8/8 currently). The CFL always seems to throw you a game or two in which sustained offence is a near-impossibility thanks to mother nature. At times like that, having a sure-footed man leading your special teams is more than a desire, it’s a necessity. On Friday night, Grant Shaw did everything in his power to bring his squad a victory. Thanks to that effort, Grant is week 4’s RIVALUS Featured Player!