Tuesday Morning QB (Division Semi-Finals)

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The CFL often gets a bad rap for being a secondary league that can’t land the best prospects in the game because of their lack of funds.

That isn’t entirely false as they can’t compete with the NFL for the best talent out of college but that doesn’t mean the football isn’t great.

If there was ever a weekend that expressed just how exciting the CFL can be it would be the first weekend of the playoffs this year.

The division semi-finals had a lot to them as there was a western team in the east and in the west the team hosting the game had lost twice to the team they were hosting.

The first weekend of the playoffs saw two amazing games that came down to the wire just when everything seemed to be over.

In both games, the away teams came out to early leads and the games seemed to be out of reach for the home sides.

Then the comebacks began as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats fought back taking advantage of an injured Mike Reilly to make things interesting while the Lions saw a young quarterback take over when he needed to the most.

The Ti-Cats did fall short of their comeback as they just didn’t have enough time left leading to an Edmonton win.

The Lions did complete their comeback as they rode their QB until the end of the game and booked their trip to Calgary for the western finals.

It was a great weekend full of great football and both games expressed exactly what makes CFL football so amazing.

There is no time where a team is out of the game because the offensive capabilities in the league can cause havoc in only a few minutes.

Teams need to bury their opponents if they want to walk easily away with a win and neither the Ti-Cats nor the Bombers could do it when it mattered most.

The two games also showed something great about the game of football in general as both games marked the arrival of stars in the league.

Neither were necessarily a surprise as both John White and Jonathon Jennings had shown plenty of promise.

White had done it throughout last year but a knee injury ended his season early and the potential was never able to be met.football-sidebar

Throughout the start of this season, he seemed to have that injury in the back of his mind as he never seemed to be the back the Eskimos saw last year.

That was until things got more important as White came into the eastern semi-finals as the starting back during an exceptionally windy day.

He was always going to be a big part of the game plan as throwing the ball became much more difficult.

What nobody expected was just how much of a factor he would be as White racked up 160 yards on the ground on his way to two touchdowns.

He was a key part of the win as the Esks saw him produce two key touchdowns that kept them ahead early while his ability to run out the clock at the end of the game left the Ti-Cats with no time left in the fourth quarter.

He came alive in the biggest game of the season so far and the Eskimos will likely look to give him, even more, opportunities when they travel to Ottawa with a trip to the Grey Cup on the line.

In the west, the season has been a great one for Jennings as he led the Lions back to the playoffs with great athletic ability.

Heading into the playoffs he had a slightly different experience than White as everyone knew that the Lions would only go as far as Jennings could take them.

He was the key to the entire game and how he performed was going to make the difference for both teams.

He didn’t start well with an early costly interception that left some worrying about a potential collapse at the worst time.

Then Jennings put the team on his back scoring four touchdowns, two through the air and two on the ground.

He put up 329 passing yards and 43 rushing yards to bring the Lions back into contention and to get them the win.

Jennings was always considered the future of the league and now he has officially arrived as he did it when it mattered the most.

Whether either of these two players can continue their great play into the division finals could be the key for both of their teams as they will be looked to in order to get their teams to the Grey Cup in Toronto.

Fourth Down:
(More news this week in the CFL)

Toughness never Questioned
Mike Reilly has gained the reputation of being one of the toughest players in the CFL but he didn’t finish the game on Sunday as he appeared to hurt his none throwing hand but things seem to be at least well enough for him to play in the eastern finals

Another Man Down
The Loons need their full compliment next week as they will take on the best team in the league but they might be without their top receiver after Emmanuel Arceneaux seemed to suffer a concussion in the semi-final and did not return to the game

A Unique Matchup
Things were always going to be interesting in the eastern playoffs with the Edmonton Eskimos making the crossover but the final will have plenty of storylines as the eastern final will be a Grey Cup rematch with Ottawa’s former OC coaching the defending champions

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