Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 19)

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So it is done, the end of the CFL season is only one week away but the playoff teams have been determined after an eventful Week 19.

There may be one week left in the regular season but a Montreal loss and BC win ended the playoff race for the last spot.

The Lions officially clinched the last spot after beating the Toronto Argonauts and seeing the Montreal Alouettes lose to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Along with the last playoff spot, the west was clinched as their win against the Als gave Edmonton enough to keep the Calgary in second place and host the semi-final for the west.

Much of the playoffs are now set as there is nothing left to battle for in the west while the eastern playoff spots were clinched weeks ago.

There is still one thing to fight for in Week 20 though and it is sure to be the most watched match-up of the week.

Hamilton is looking to clinch their second straight division title on their way to what they hope to be their third straight Grey Cup appearance.

Meanwhile the Ottawa REDBLACKS are trying to complete one of the greatest comebacks in CFL history.

After finishing with only two wins in their first year as a franchise they are now a win away from clinching the east.

The best part of this battle for the eastern title is the fact that there is nobody that will be involved in the battle but the two teams that it affects.

In Week 19 Hamilton and Ottawa faced off for the first time all year with the winner taking control of first.

The REDBLACKS won that matchup and took over first place but the Ti-Cats are far from out of it after that loss.

They will face-off again in Week 20 where if Hamilton wins it will all come down to the point differential in the series, currently Ottawa is ahead by six points.

The importance of both of the games cannot be overstated as the winner of the two-game series gets one step closer to the Grey Cup and gets to play the semi-final at home.

This two-game series is extremely important for both teams and is the type of base that some of the best rivalries are built on.

Both teams will see plenty of each other in the future but when these games that determine the division champions are played intensity increases and hate between teams builds.

It happened in Week 19 as the important game was only underlined when Hamilton leading tackler Simoni Lawrence tackled Ottawa’s Henry Burris outside of the pocket.football-sidebar

The tackle came when Burris ran out of the pocket trying to find an open man and Lawrence pursued him. Burris let a pass go while Lawrence dove into the legs of the quarterback.

The hit wasn’t late and wasn’t illegal but it certainly raised some questions as it was a low hit against a quarterback who had spent the entire week out of practice after taking some hit slow the week before.

The tackle landed just above the knees of Burris and was in the strike zone, regardless of whether Burris was out of the tackle box or not.

Burris took exception to it though and at the end of the first half in an interview saying that players like Lawrence have no place in the game.

Lawrence fired back saying that Burris was just crying about a legal hit and that there was no reason to complain.

The hit was a legal one but one that is borderline in the eyes of many as it can easily injure someone.

To some it was a blatant attempt by Lawrence to hurt the best player on the REDBLACKS by targeting an area where he had already been hurt this year.

To others it was a clean hit and just a part of a physical game while Burris was just trying to gain some favour from the referees.

That includes Lawrence who said in an interview after the game that Burris was just trying to influence the referees should something happen later in the game.

The back and forth between the two is only providing fuel to this young rivalry and is sure to bring that much more intensity to the last game of the season and potentially a playoff game that will determine who goes to the Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 19 in the CFL)

Sideline Tryout
For Montreal’s match-up against Edmonton head coach Jim Popp couldn’t make the trip leaving defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe to lead the team in what could have been a tryout for the job as the Als look for a new head coach for 2016

Back Behind Centre
Nic Grigsby looked like the future of the Winnipeg rushing game last year but disagreements left him without a job and after bouncing around a few places he has landed in Edmonton where the Eskimos hope he provides a boost to their running game for the playoffs

Durant Ready for January
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ hopes of a Grey Cup ended with the Week 1 injury to Darian Durant but he looks to recover in more than enough time to start the 2016 season where he hopes to bring the Riders back from the basement

standings-w19.fw

Week 19 Scores:
BC Lions 27 – 25 Toronto Argonauts
– The return of Ricky Ray was less than great as the Argos’ offence struggled to get anything going against a great Lions defence as BC took the win and clinched a playoff avoiding the possibility of an eastern crossover

Calgary Stampeders 42 – 19 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Stampeders had fallen behind their provincial rivals and now had to play catch-up which they did as Jerome Messam ran for over 100 yards in his Stampeders debut and helped the Stamps do what they could to compete for the western title

Ottawa REDBLACKS 12 – 6 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
– In the fight for the east the last two weeks are the deciding factor and the REDBLACKS took the first win in a defensive battle that saw the wind play a big factor as they now head to Ottawa for the final game

Edmonton Eskimos 40 – 22 Montreal Alouettes
– The Eskimos will not play another game this year until the playoffs so they had to get a win to ensure their spot atop the west while the Als needed a win to stay alive and in a dominant performance by the Esks the west was won and the Als’ chances were ended

Week 20 Matchups:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Toronto Argonauts (Friday November 6th; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Argos have nothing to play for but that doesn’t mean they won’t go out to win as Ricky Ray tries to get into a groove before the playoffs when they welcome the Blue Bombers to the Rogers Centre

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Ottawa REDBLACKS (Saturday November 7th; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Ti-Cats must win and would love to do it by more than six points as they hope to earn the top spot in the east while if the REDBLACKS win or keep it within six points they keep the lead in the east and host the semi-final

Calgary Stampeders vs. BC Lions (Saturday November 7th; 7:00 pm ET)
– It is a pre-cursor to what will be the Quarter-Final in the west as the Lions are set to take on the Stampeders and both teams will look to gain a mental advantage before the playoffs with both teams also trying not to give too much away

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Montreal Alouettes (Sunday November 8th; 1:00 pm ET)
– Neither team will make the playoffs this year as both are squarely focused on the last game of the year in an attempt to enter the off-season on a high note with plenty of work to be done by both teams this winter

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