The second week of 2015’s CFL campaign now sits on the shelf, and fans can collectively take a deep breath as the league finds itself producing highlights at a feverish rate. Starting off with Thursday night football in Winnipeg, the 4 games played this week had: classic TSN turning points, special teams magic, offensive dominance, and defensive stands. If the last 5 days are any indication of what this season holds for us die-hard fans, we are in for a treat.
In the week’s first game, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosted Hamilton, currently on their Pan-Am road trip through the CFL’s western conference. Drew Willy, who had to leave the game in the second quarter due to an inadvertent hit to his head, started quite strong by putting the first offensive points of the game on the board. With Willy sidelined, Hamilton stepped up their game and showed dominance in all 3 phases. Zach Collaros finished the game with a 79% completion rate for 354 yards of offence, along with 2 touchdowns. Bakari Grant appeared to be playing like a man on fire as every time he caught a pass, he was able to battle for additional yards, at times even with the threat of double coverages (see image above). Brandon Banks returned (pun intended) to form as one of the league’s most dynamic kick-returners by putting up a punt-return for a touchdown. Defensively the Cats punished the Blue Bombers, having 2 interceptions returned to the house by: Emmanuel Davis, and former Bomber: Brandon Stewart. The Tiger-Cats handily bested the Bombers 52-26.
On the heels of a miraculous victory over Hamilton in week 1, Calgary looked to re-assert their western conference dominance against the Montreal Alouettes. This was no standard Montreal roster though, as most know; the Alouettes lost their #1 and #2 quarterbacks prior to the contest. That left just about everyone guessing who would line up behind centre to start for Montreal. Little did we expect the replacement; first-year man Rakeem Cato of Marshall University, to show up and respond in a manner reserved for veterans. Cato completed 80% of his passes to the tune of 241 yards, 3 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions by game’s end. With veteran receivers like: Nik Lewis, S.J. Green, Fred Stamps, and Sam Giguere, there’s little wonder why Cato looked so poised in his pocket. The Al’s defence was another shining light in Friday’s game as Calgary was actually held off the board until the 3rd quarter. Chip Cox led the defence with 11 tackles, and John Bowman was able to contribute 3 tackles along with 2 sacks himself. In the end Calgary did mount some offence thanks to efforts like that of Marquay McDaniel who caught 6 passes for 113 yards. Ultimately though, Montreal had enough in the tank to best the Grey Cup defenders by a score of 29-11.
With a win in week 1, Ottawa was in a position to match their win total from 2014 with a second victory against the BC Lions on Saturday. In their home-opener, the REDBLACKS once again looked dominant as veteran QB: Henry Burris threw for 296 yards at a completion rate of 79%. Chevon Walker provided a great push behind his big offensive line, as the running back rushed 24 times for 103 yards of offence. In his return home, Brad Sinopoli had a stellar performance netting 99 receiving yards, along with a hard-fought TD to add to his highlight reel. The Lions were not anemic in this clash though, as veterans Emmanuel Arceneaux, and Solomon Elimimian both wreaked some havoc in their respective phases of the game. Arceneaux caught 7 balls for 112 yards, while the 2014 MOP contributed 7 tackles, 1 sack, as well as an interception. By the end of the game though, Ottawa’s relentless momentum pushed the REDBLACKS to a 2-0 record with a score of 27-16.
Once again, it was the week’s final game that yielded us the RIVALUS Featured Player for week 2 of the 2015 CFL season. As Saskatchewan hosted the Toronto Argonauts in their home-opener, there were a lot of questions to be answered. Who would have expected for the first clash between green and blue to be one helmed by Trevor Harris and Kevin Glenn? Regardless of your answer, you cannot dispute the fact that both pivots provided some belated Canada Day fireworks in one of the most unique CFL games in recent history. In fact, if you haven’t seen the highlights yet we will wait here while you watch this video from our friends at TSN.
All caught up? Good. Let’s look at the notable numbers:
- Trevor Harris: 30/38 (79%), 276 yards, 4 TD’s
- Brandon Whitaker: 69-yards/8 rushes, 47-yards/6 catches, 1 TD
- A.J. Jefferson: 1 Pick-6
- Kevin Glenn: 33/40 (82.5%), 477 yards, 2 TD’s
- Jerome Messam: 84-yards/19 rushes, 72-yards/6 catches
- Ryan Smith: 174-yards/8 catches, 1 TD
- Paul McCallum: 4/4 FG’s (49-yard long)
Although Toronto ultimately took this game’s victory, we simply could not overlook the game that Kevin Glenn put together when deciding who to feature this week. Glenn arrived in Saskatchewan for training camp, and was asked to learn a brand new offence for the 3rd time in as many seasons. Not only did Glenn look comfortable making his reads, he was able to exploit blown coverages on nearly every drive by finding guys like Ryan Smith, Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf or Rob Bagg. Glenn out-threw every quarterback in the CFL this week, in a game where his team rushed for 110 yards. Glenn was not perfect, which was shown in a late interception returned for a touchdown by Toronto DB: A.J. Jefferson. What was remarkable though, was that the veteran was able to use his short-football memory to forget the mistake and score not one but TWO overtime touchdowns to eventually lose by a 2-point convert. The Roughriders did not win the game, but Kevin Glenn certainly proved that 2015 sans-Durant will in no way be a wasted campaign. Congratulations Kevin, your work ethic; year after year, never ceases to amaze true fans of this great game!