Tuesday Morning QB (Division Finals)

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Grey Cup week is here as the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders make their way to the nation’s capital for the 105th Grey Cup.

The Argos and Stamps will face-off with Calgary looking to gain some revenge after taking a loss a week ago and Toronto looking to add to a large collection of Grey Cups.

It could be an interesting Grey Cup as the Stamps go back to the big game trying not to lose two in a row to a team that only finished the regular season with a .500 record.

Both will be there though as two teams one very opposite sides face off in a very familiar story from a year ago.

Getting there didn’t look all that easy though as the two division finals matchups were not going to be easy for either team.

In the east, the Argos were taking on the Saskatchewan Roughriders who were riding a great wave of momentum.

They had simply looked like the better team for most of the second half of the season including a big win against the Argos.

If there was going to be a team that crossed over all the way to the Grey Cup it looked like it could be the Riders who seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

The eastern final looked a lot like their last matchup in the regular season as the Argos came out to an early lead looking great and getting to Kevin Glenn.

Then Brandon Bridge came in and changed the dynamic bringing the Riders back to the lead late in the game.

In the regular season that lead came with no time remaining as the Riders kicked a game-winning field goal to beat the Argos.

This time it came with a kick return for the touchdown in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t the last play of the game.

Toronto was given just enough time to find their way back to the lead after a quarterback sneak won the game for the Argos.

It was a battle the entire way through but this time the best players stepped up for the Argos when they needed them the most.

Now they take that experience in a close game to the Grey Cup where they know they can find a way back if they get down early.

They might have to do exactly that as the Stampeders are almost as good as they were last year aside from a late-season losing streak.

They didn’t look great to start their division final game as the Eskimos came out to an early 14-point lead in the first quarter.

The Stampeders kicked it into gear in the second though putting up 22 points of their own and looking like there were about to put things away.

The Eskimos didn’t seem to have a lot left after the second quarterback but they slowly climbed back into the game.

By the fourth quarter time was running out but the Eskimos had a chance and they began reducing their deficit.

They eventually came within a touchdown of tying the game and they began marching down the field to get that touchdown and tie the game.

With the Eskimos in striking distance, they reached third down and had a decision to make as they were facing a 3rd and 4 on the Calgary 13-yard line.

Getting that first would have put them inside ten yards to the end zone and a tie game but instead, Jason Maas chose to kick the field goal.football-sidebar

He was looking for his defence to stop the Stampeders and get the ball back with just about a minute left in the game.

At that point, a touchdown would win the game for the Eskimos but the defence struggled to stop Calgary and the punt was fumbled ending any hopes of a comeback.

The decision by Maas will be discussed all offseason but if it had worked out he would be a genius gambler and a hero.

Because it didn’t work out everyone will wonder what might have been but there was really no guarantee that they even get the first down or a touchdown.

The decisions made and the struggles that Edmonton had right at the end of the game sunk their chances giving Calgary a second shot at the Grey Cup.

They will head back to the Grey Cup and take on the Argos in a game that is essentially the same as the one last year.

On one side is one of the most dominant teams in recent memory as the Calgary Stampeders are simply the best team in the league.

The other side sees a team that won the eastern division with an even record and if the divisions didn’t exist would have been the fifth-place team in the playoffs.

At first look, it is clear that the Stampeders should win this game pretty easily and they may very well do just that.

Last year was a lesson to everyone though as the Stampeders were in the exact same spot a year ago and lost that game to the REDBLACKS.

Whether they learned from it or not remains to be seen as the Grey Cup is almost here and two teams that are vastly different face off again.

 

Fourth Down

The CFL Down East

Rumours and excitement built this week when it was reported that the CFL had been in talks with a group from Halifax to bring a 10th team to the east coast. It has long been a dream of the CFL to have a coast-to-coast league and a 10th team has always been in the plans. Halifax presents a lot of issues although it seems like the likely place for an east coast team. One of those issues seems to be solved as a group of business owners with ties to the city have expressed interest and the CFL is listening although it is very early.

Going West for Help

The Montreal Alouettes are in the midst of a very important off-season where they will need to make some big decisions. One of those is who will coach the team going forward after a few years of a rotating door on the sidelines. This week they asked permission from the BC Lions to talk to a number of coaches on their staff in hopes that one will stand out enough to be given a chance to try to turn things around in Montreal.

Off the Market

There are not a lot of coaching openings in the league this off-season, at least not yet, but one of the coaches right at the top of the list has been Paul LaPolice. The former Winnipeg head coach has spent the last few years working his way back and is now the offensive coordinator in the place he once was the head man. Leading a great Winnipeg offence has helped him get a lot of attention for another coaching gig but for LaPolice he likes where he is committing to the Blue Bombers for at least another season.

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