Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 20)

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The CFL season is finished and the race to the 103rd Grey Cup is set to begin with the playoffs starting next week.

In the final week of the season there was really only one important game as Hamilton and Ottawa faced off with first place in the east on the line.

The REDBLACKS took the win and will host the Eastern Final finishing with the most wins by a Ottawa CFL team ever.

It was a good end for their season while every other team was simply looking to end the regular season on a high note.

That wasn’t the only motivation for many though as the CFL had an unusual race on their hands.

The rushing game in the league rarely takes the headlines as the CFL has been a passing league since the beginning of the forward pass.

The top two passers in all of professional football are Anthony Calvillo and Damon Allen, both exclusively played in the CFL.

Those passing numbers have made the CFL the true passing league and with a bigger field and only three downs the passing game is the focus of offence in the league.

That often means that the rushing game takes a backseat in the headlines and most of the talk surrounds the quarterback and not the running back.

That changed this week though as the rushing game took full focus with three running backs fighting for the rushing title.

It was a strange race though as the two leaders of the rushing race were set to play each other and they were the ones to watch.

More so because both were Canadian running backs and there had never been two Canadians at the top of the rushing leader board.

Andrew Harris was given the ball for the start of BC’s game against Calgary so that he could build on his rushing lead and earn a 1,000 yard season.

Harris did just that putting up 1,039 rushing yards and then he sat down for the rest of the game and watched the man right behind him look for his own 1,000-yard season.

Jerome Messam had been a quiet back in a bad season for the Roughriders and was traded at the deadline to Calgary.

In his second week in the backfield for the Stampeders he was given a chance to go for the rushing title.football-sidebar

He couldn’t get what he needed before the Stamps sat him but he made another appearance in the game so that he could break the 1,000-yard mark which he did finishing with 1,006 yards on the season.

After the game there was excitement that two Canadians could be sitting on top of the rushing game.

Then the last game of the season came and the forgotten member of the big three took the field.

Tyrell Sutton was never mentioned during the BC-Calgary game as it seemed like the rushing title was going to go to Harris.

Sutton made sure he was going to have his say in the race and the Alouettes gave him that chance in a game that was essentially meaningless.

Sutton put up 139 yards against the Roughriders breaking the 1,000-yard mark and finishing the season with 1,059 yards.

Sutton took home the rushing title on the final day of the regular season and in a week of great finishes prevented one milestone.

Two Canadians were once again not at the top of the rushing race despite great years with each getting to that 1,000-yard mark.

It was a great year for Canadian running backs but in the end it was a man from Akron, Ohio who took the rushing title in the CFL.

It was a strange race that many were watching in a week that had only one important game.

The rushing title was a bit of a departure from the usual headlines in the league.

It was a great battle between three great players but now the focus goes towards the playoffs as six teams look to punch a ticket to Winnipeg and take home the 103rd Grey Cup.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 20 in the CFL)

The Ageless Burris
Henry Burris is now 40-years-old and he just finished the best season of his career with the most yardage in the league and breaking the record for most completions in a season as he became the oldest player to lead the league in passing

Bowman Out on Top
He has been one of the best rush ends in the CFL and this past week John Bowman may have played his last game in his long career, potentially ending it on a high note with three sacks that brought him over the 100 sack mark in his career and giving him the sack title

Offensive Power
The Ottawa REDBLACKS finished the greatest turnaround in CFL history and did it with one of the best offences in history finishing the season with four receivers over 1,000 yards on the season

Air Canada
Brandon Bridge entered the record book in the CFL when he started for the Montreal Alouettes in the final game of the season becoming the first Canadian QB to start a game since 1996 and was impressive but came up just short of becoming the first Canadian QB to win a game since 1985

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Week 20 Scores:
Toronto Argonauts 21 – 11 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
– The Toronto Argonauts said goodbye to the Rogers Centre with their last game before moving down the road to BMO Field in 2016 and they closed out their time with a much-needed win before they go to Hamilton for the eastern semi-final

Ottawa REDBLACKS 44 – 28 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
– It was the only meaningful game of the week as the Ti-Cats needed to win by six or more points to take over first place but they couldn’t do it as the REDBLACKS’ offence went to work and took the win along with a spot in the eastern final

Calgary Stampeders 28 – 7 BC Lions
– Both teams will face-off again for the western semi-final so neither wanted to give away too much but the focus of the day was the rushing battle where Jerome Messam and Andrew Harris both broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season

Saskatchewan Roughriders 30 – 24 Montreal Alouettes (OT)
– It was a relatively meaningless game but for more than few players it was a big game as Brandon Bridge became the first Canadian QB to start a game since 1996, Tyrell Sutton won the rushing race, and John Bowman took over the sack lead all in a losing effort in overtime

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