Tuesday Morning QB (Semi-Finals)

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The CFL regular season is over and it was time for the first round of the playoffs as the conference semi-finals. With only two games until the Grey Cup the pressure was on everyone as they were only two wins away from the biggest game of the year. Every team in the playoffs had some tough decisions to make about who they would start in the next game. All teams had different positions with multiple options and every coach had to decide who would start and who would sit. The Argos had decisions to make with a good corps of wide receivers all with the ability to make an impact. It was a good problem to have for the Argos as they would see a number of receivers all with great ability making any decision they made likely a good one. The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a lot less decisions to make as their team was in place from the start although figuring out how to break out of their slump would prove the toughest part of their week. The two teams with the biggest decisions to make were the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos. Both teams had the biggest decisions any team in the CFL has to make. As most fans know the quarterback is the linchpin of the CFL offence as they are the biggest part of the pass happy league. Before the Semi-Finals both the Stamps and the Eskies had to make a decision on who would be their offensive leader. The Stampeders had given the ball to Drew Tate at the beginning of the season to start a new era in the team’s history. After an early injury to Tate Kevin Glenn took over at QB and led the team in the next 14 games. Under Glenn, with a lot of help from Jon Cornish, the Stamps finished in second place and earned a home game in the playoffs. With the season coming to a close the injury to Tate had been healed as he began taking more snaps in practice and got some game action in the last week of the season. As the Semi-Finals approached the Stamps had a decision to make between two QBs with very different styles. Would it be the veteran Kevin Glenn who led a balanced attack in 14 starts this season or would it be the young and brash Drew Tate who had yet to start in 14 games this year. The Stamps decided to go with Drew Tate as they were hoping that the hunger to get back on the field and his ability that made him the starting QB would be enough to win the game. It was enough, despite a concussion in the second quarter, to help the team win as Tate threw the game winning TD in the dying seconds of the game. It turned out to be the right decision for the Stamps and one that helped them move on to the Western Finals. The Edmonton Eskimos were not as fortunate in their decision-making though as they went to the Eastern Division Semi-Finals. The Eskimos had the same decision to make as they looked to Kerry Joseph or Matt Nichols in their playoff game. Kerry Joseph had become the starting earlier in the season as the veteran seemed to have a resurgent year. When he began to falter though a young rookie in Matt Nichols showed that he has the ability to win games in the clutch. It would come down to a decision between a veteran and a young star but this time it would be the veteran that would get the nod. Joseph led the Eskies to an early lead against the Argonauts in what seemed like it would be a great game for the visiting team. Then in the second quarter the offence and Joseph began making mistakes allowing the Argos to go on a 31 point run. The Eskies attempted to correct their bad decision putting Nichols in to start the second half and it looked to make a big difference as the Eskimos began climbing back. An injury to Nichols in the 3rd quarter would knock him out of the game and effectively end the comeback as Joseph would go back in to the game and the Eskimos would lose. The decisions these teams made may have changed everything and the results may have been much different had they changed their minds. It is a reality in the playoffs as teams constantly have to make these types of decisions every week with the entire season on the line with every play. It is what makes the playoffs so great and what will continue to make the playoffs great as teams continue their march towards the 100th Grey Cup.

 

Four Quarters:
(Four Thoughts from the Semi-Finals)

 

The Argos Defence is Scary
The Toronto Argonauts continued their late season surge into the playoffs and looked very impressive but it was the defence that really impressive as they looked downright scary and if they can keep it up there is no stopping them

 

Key Injuries Highlight the Weekend
The young promising Edmonton QB Matt Nichols went down with a dislocated ankle in the third quarter while Drew Tate did not leave his game despite a clear concussion that had him forgetting about the entire first half

 

MOP Race Continues
Chad Owens and Jon Cornish are the two nominees for the MOP Award and the battle continued into the Semi-Finals as Owens impressed with 171 all-purpose yards and his only Punt Return TD while Cornish did not have his usual lights out performance with only 109 yards

 

Stamps Move on From Run
When the Stamps decided to move on with Drew Tate in the Semi-Finals one of the major questions was what would happen to their best player in Jon Cornish and the answer was that they would not lean on him as much going back to the passing game

 

CFL Players of the Week

CFL Offensive POW:
Drew Tate, QB (Calgary Stampeders)
22/36
363 yds
2 TD
1 INT

 

CFL Defensive POW:
Keon Raymond, DB (Calgary Stampeders)

4 tkl
1 sck
1 INT
0 FF

 

CFL Special Teams POW:
Chad Owens, KR/PR (Toronto Argonauts)

10 ret
157 yds
15.7 avg
1 TD

 

CFL Canadian POW:
Jon Cornish, RB (Calgary Stampeders)

18 rsh
109 yds
6.1 avg
0 TD

 

Scores:

East Division Semi-Finals:
Toronto Argonauts 42 – 26 Edmonton Eskimos
– The Argonauts hosted a home playoff game for the first time in a long time and they started the game off in a disappointing way but quickly capitalized on some key mistakes by Edmonton to easily take the win and earn a trip to Montreal

 

West Division Semi-Finals:
Calgary Stampeders 36 – 30 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Stampeders came into the game with a new QB but most of the hype but the Riders surprised everyone as they pushed the second place Stampeders to the limit as Drew Tate came through in the clutch throwing a last-minute TD

 

Next Week: 

East Division Finals:
Toronto Argonauts vs. Montreal Alouettes (November 18th; 1:00 pm EST)
– The Toronto Argonauts are riding a high after three wins in a row but they will have to take on the best team in the East division in the Montreal Alouettes who have beat them twice already this year and are looking to go back to the Grey cup after last year’s disappointing end

 

West Division Finals:
Calgary Stampeders vs. B.C. Lions (November 18th; 4:30 pm EST)
– The Stampeders are hoping that Drew Tate’s performance in the latter part of their semi-finals continues on to their next game against the team many consider the best team in the CFL in the B.C. Lions who are looking for the repeat

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