Tuesday Morning QB (Conference Semi-Finals)

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The CFL began their playoffs as four teams played in the Conference Semi-Finals for their chance as the Conference title. With six teams in the running for the Grey Cup two, The BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, were waiting for the results of this past week. With the games this past week some big questions came up as two QBs look into their future and see some unsure times ahead. Anthony Calvillo is one of the QBs as he is currently in his 18th year in the CFL and continues to play above everyone. Before this year it seemed as though Calvillo might play for another 3 years as he tried to even out his Grey Cup record. Then Calvillo got a concussion late in the year that may give him reason enough to leave the league. It would be understandable too as Calvillo currently owns every CFL record a QB can get and is considered the best QB to play the game. There is no guarantee that he will retire however but it will be an interesting aspect of the offseason to watch. Meanwhile out west another QB has an unsure future but is far from the end of his career. Henry Burris is one year removed from an MOP award but at the end of this year was benched in favour of Drew Tate. With Tate under centre the Stamps went 3-0 to end the year and brought the Stamps into their playoff game against the Edmonton Eskimos. Burris seems to be on his way out at least as a starting QB in Calgary with his contract coming to its option year. Burris has stated that he does not want to be a backup and with this attitude, as Tate may take over the team Burris may leave Calgary for somewhere else. Many claim that Toronto could be his landing spot but the future is still unsure for the former MOP. Both Calvillo and Burris have uncertain futures and as the offseason gets closer both stories will be something to watch.

 

Hamilton Gets over the Hump

HAM 52 – 44 MTL

The Montreal Alouettes were in somewhat familiar territory as they played yet another game in the Big O, Olympic Stadium. The unfamiliar part was that this was not a conference final but instead the Conference semi-final. The Als have been part of the Conference finals for years and have won the last two Grey Cups and were considered a lock for the win to play in the Conference finals next week. Hamilton did not let this phase them as they were hoping to move on to the Conference finals. It is a bit more than just winning the game for the Ti-Cats as they were also hoping to finally beat the Alouettes who have been a thorn in their side for the last 10 years. The Ti-Cats have not beat the Alouettes in the playoffs in a long time and they were hoping to break the streak this year. The Ti-Cats tried to do this in the Big O and they were pretty successful on offence. The Alouettes opened the scoring with a field goal that was answered quickly by a TD run by Curtis Thigpen (3 rsh, 56 yds, 1 TD, 0 F). The Als then answered back with a TD of their own on a drive built by the arm of Anthony Calvillo (30/42, 513 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT). Kevin Glenn (23/32, 275 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) answered back with a TD pass and the race was on in the wildest playoff game in the history of the CFL. With the score 27-16 at halftime the game may not have seemed as big as it would be but the second half saw an offensive explosion that seemed to eliminate defence from the equation. The back and forth game continued in the second half when the Alouettes tied the game at 30 in the fourth quarter setting up a great finish. Two more TDs tied the game at 37 and then Avon Cobourne (14 rsh, 97 yds, 1 TD, 0 F) punished his former team with a long TD run with less 3 minutes left in the game. Calvillo stepped up as when they needed him with a TD pass to S.J. Green (8 rec, 142 yds, 1 TD) with 1 ½ minutes left in the game to tie the game at 44.  The Ti-Cats still had an opportunity as they marched down the field to within field goal range for their great kicker Justin Medlock (3/4 FG, 5/5 XP, 14 pts) who is one of the best kickers in the league. With no time left on the clock the Ti-Cats lined up for the kick for the win but a time clock violation penalty put them further back. The kick was attempted again from a further distance and Medlock just missed left forcing the game to overtime. The Ti-Cats took the ball to start the OT and immediately marched down the field with a long Glenn pass. Quinton Porter (3 rsh, 3 yds, 2 TD) then came in to finish it off and ran the ball in for a TD which was followed by a Glenn pass for two points. This put the Ti-Cats ahead 52-44 with Montreal getting one last opportunity to tie the game and force another OT period. After the Als marched down the field they were faced with a 3rd an 1 inside the 20 to get them closer to the tie. The Als passed the ball that was dropped by Brandon Whittaker ending the game as the Ti-Cats took the win for the first time in a decade. The game entered the record books as the highest scoring playoff game in CFL history although that is no consolation for the Als. Montreal will now look toward Calvillo to see if he will come back next year and begin to prepare for another run, this time at the 100th Grey Cup. The Ti-Cats will move on the Conference Finals where they will take on the first place Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

 

Eskies Win the Battle

EDM 33 – 19 CGY

The Eskimos were the worst team in the Western Conference last year but thanks to a great beginning and end to the yea they moved into their home playoff game. With this strong performance the Eskies were able to earn their playoff game and would take on their bitter rivals for a chance to play for the Western Conference Title. The Calgary Stampeders played well in the last three weeks behind the arm of Drew Tate who came in to replace the former MOP Henry Burris. Tate would play his first ever playoff game in the CFL against their Albertan rival for a chance at the West title. The Battle of Alberta moved into yet another chapter as they again played in a game that meant something adding more to this storied rivalry. The game started normally for the most part with a few scores but nothing big enough to give any team momentum. With the score 2-1 in the first quarter Calgary began to take charge after a TD run by Jon Cornish (14 rsh, 127 yds, 1 TD) putting the Stamps ahead 8-3. They looked to take an even bigger lead early in the 2nd quarter as Drew Tate (5/10, 99 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT) led the team down the field. Then came the biggest play of the game that changed everything for both teams early in the game. As Tate dropped back to pass on 1st and 10 inside the 30 yard line he lost control of the ball and dropped it on the turf. Damaso Munoz (7 tkl, 1 Frec, 1 TD) pick up the ball and returned it from his own 30 yard line for a TD. The TD turned the momentum towards the Eskimos and even though the score was only 10-8 for the Eskimos the Stampeders never looked the same. In the 2nd quarter Ricky Ray (19/27, 245 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT) took advantage of the momentum completing a big pass to put the Eskies inside the 5 yard line and then handing the ball off to Jerome Messam (9 rsh, 32 yds, 1 TD, 0 F) for the TD to go ahead 18-9. Mistakes began to really hurt the Stamps after that as on a punt near the end of the half the Stamps got tagged for a running into the kicker penalty giving the Eskimos a first down. With the new life on offence the Eskies followed Ray who ran the ball inside the 5 and then completed a TD pass to Jason Barnes (4 rec, 55 yds, 1 TD). Down at the half Calgary tried to get some more momentum as they pulled Drew Tate from the game and put in former starter Henry Burris (7/15, 75 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT). Burris could not help too much as the Stamps continued to struggle on offence only adding field goals and rouges while the Eskimos offence continued to role. Ray and the Eskimos put up 33 points in the game as the Stampeders could not overcome the fumble in the first half and fell to their provincial rivals. The game ended 33-19 as the Eskimos overpowered the Stamps and earned a shot at the West title. The Stampeders will move into the offseason with questions at QB and whether or not Burris will return or if he will be a backup to Drew Tate. The Eskimos will travel to Vancouver to take on the B.C. Lions for the Western Conference Finals.

 

POW Awards:

Anthony Calvillo, QB (Offensive POW)

30/42

513 yds

3 TD

1 INT

 

Jamall Johnson, LB (Defensive POW)

6 tkl

1 sck

1 INT

1 FF

 

Marcus Thigpen, KR (Special Teams POW)

7 KR

171 yds

24.4 avg

0 TD

 

Jon Cornish, RB (Canadian POW)

14 rsh

127 yds

1 TD

0 F

 

Conference Finals:

Hamilton Tiger Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (November 20th; 1:00 pm)

Edmonton Eskimos vs. B.C. Lions (November 20th; 4:30 pm)

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