Tuesday Morning QB (Semi-Finals)

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Heading into the CFL playoffs there were not teams without a major question attached to them leaving things a little up in the air.

There was not a single team that had an easy walk to the Grey Cup as even the best teams in the league had issues.

The Calgary Stampeders were coming in with a bad streak to end their season losing three straight games.

Meanwhile, the top team in the east has been far from consistent with Toronto looking great at points and terrible at others.

Neither got their chance to prove the doubters wrong though as they sat back and watched the semi-finals to see four other teams try to prove that they could overcome their questions.

In the west, the Edmonton Eskimos travelled to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers for a chance to play the Stampeders.

The Eskimos entered the playoffs with a little doubt about just how good they could be after a less than stellar season.

They didn’t have the great year seeing some inconsistency throughout the start of the season forcing them into a fight to stay out of the crossover.

One big bonus for the Eskimos though was the fact that their biggest issues came with massive amounts of injuries to some of their best players.

They went through a lot of the first part of the season and eventually got a lot of their players back but many wondered what might happen should more players go down.

The Blue Bombers had injuries worries of their own but they came at the worst time as Matt Nichols had suffered an injury to his calf only weeks before the playoffs.

Although the Bombers had a good season a lot of that season was the one-two punch of Andrew Harris and Matt Nichols.

They could run the ball better than anyone in the league but could use that knowledge to open up the passing game for Nichols.

Without him, their hopes were reduced but he came through, in the end, ensuring he would start the semi-finals.

The match-up between the two teams was a shootout as both teams went back and forth until the Eskimos were able to put up 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Nichols didn’t seem to be the reason for the loss as he proved that he was at least healthy enough to compete.

In the end, though it was the Eskimos proving that with a full complement of players could make up a Grey Cup-winning team.football-sidebar

In the east, the Ottawa REDBLACKS were set to host the Saskatchewan Roughriders who were looking to be the first team to ever make the Grey Cup in the crossover.

That is their biggest hill to climb as the Riders are trying to do something that had never been done.

They were trying to move to the other side of the country and continue their strong play at the end of the season to take two straight wins in the east.

Not only that but they had spent most of the last few weeks shuffling their quarterbacks in and out as Kevin Glenn continued to struggle with pressure while Brandon Bridge’s accuracy issues led to turnovers.

Neither were great but together they were winning games although it left many to wonder whether or not they could continue winning in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the REDBLACKS were simply not good throughout the season and with two bye weeks in the final three weeks of the season, there was concern over whether or not they would be ready.

The issues of their rest were somewhat washed away at the start of the game as they scored quickly to match a quick strike by Saskatchewan.

That was about as close as they would get though with the Riders beginning to pull away throughout the rest of the game and despite a small comeback from the REDBLACKS it wasn’t good enough.

The Riders took the win with Glenn heading up the attack from the start and putting on a great performance.

Not the Eskimos head into Calgary to take on their long-time rivals in a game between a team playing with all of the momentum and another without any momentum.

The Riders meanwhile stay east and look to complete their quest of being the first team to make the Grey Cup from the crossover.

They will take on the Argonauts who have figured things out recently with their running game but who have also dropped two very close games to the Riders this year.

The questions remain and for the losing teams the questions will always remain but for the winners, they will answer the questions and ultimately be named the champions.

 

Fourth Down

Playing Hurt

Matt Nichols was a late decision throughout the week with his status assured only a few days before the western semi-finals. Many knew that his calf was the biggest issue while there was also an issue with his hand that was lightly reported on throughout the week. After the loss, the Bomber quarterback revealed exactly what was wrong as his calf was the least of his worries stating that he was playing with a broken finger on his non-throwing hand adding, even more, issues to his game although he claims it did not affect his play.

Retiring the Leg?

After the Bombers loss, the broken finger of their quarterback was the least surprising revelation as the 34-year-old kicker Justin Medlock announced that he may be retiring. Although 34-years-old is not the youngest in football years, for kickers it tends to be pretty young. Most kickers can play for a long time but Medlock stated that he was going to look and see what the future had in store and whether or not he would want to continue playing or if he wants to go to a new team leaving a lot up in the air.

Race for MOP

The CFL announced their award finalists this week bringing the real battles to a head but there is one that is the most important. The Most Outstanding Player is the award that everyone is gunning for and this year two quarterbacks will go head-to-head. Surprisingly the two men who got the nod are both looking to be first-time winners of the award. Mike Reilly hopes to take his first after leading the league in passing yards this year. Rickey Ray will represent the east as the CFL veteran had a resurgent year coming up just shy of Reilly for the passing leader in the league.

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