Tuesday Morning QB (Division Finals)

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The playoffs are a different world as they provide a true stage for the best of the best in any league.

More often than not the playoffs are used as a proving ground with nobody able to really claim to be great until winning when the games matter the most.

When looking at the best players to play the game one of the biggest factors in the determination is how they do when things are important.

It is one thing to put up massive numbers in the regular season and give put their name among the top in the league.

It is another thing to handle the pressure that comes with the playoffs as all eyes are on the stars of the teams.

That pressure coupled with the fact that they are also playing against the best players in the game during a game with massive implications.

To play in these games brings a different level of competition and when a star player gets in them they need to step up and lead their team.

A player can be one of the best players of his era but if he struggles during the playoffs he can be pretty easily forgotten.

In the NFL, Peyton Manning was a serious doubt for the Hall of Fame as he was never able to win a Super Bowl.

It wasn’t until he took his first that the Hall of Fame became a sure thing and the CFL is full of those great but not good enough players.

Heading into this year’s playoffs there was that doubt hanging over the head of Trevor Harris in his young career.

Harris hasn’t had a long career but there was still this doubt about his ability to lead a team in the important games.

It seems a little soon to be judging Harris as he has only really been a starting quarterback in the league for one year.

He was always considered a legitimate starter even when he was backing up Ricky Ray in Toronto.

That is why the REDBLACKS signed him in 2016 to backup Henry Burris and eventually take over the team.

Yet with his limited time as a starter, he gained a reputation as a quarterback that struggled in the biggest games.

He went into the playoffs hoping to prove everyone wrong and looked to guide the REDBLACKS back to the Grey Cup.

He already had one title but that was won by Henry Burris while Harris was a backup on that team.

This was a chance to do it all himself an show that he has the ability to be one of the greats and that his name should be among the best in this era of great quarterbacks.

He was going to be in tough as the REDBLACKS were set to take on the Hamilton Ti-Cats who had just walked through the BC Lions in the semi-finals.

The Ti-Cats had MOP candidate Jeremiah Masoli leafing an offence that put up 48 points against the Lions so it seemed like the REDBLACKS were going to have to keep up.football-sidebar

They did that and did it in a big way as the REDBLACKS proved that they were by far the best team in the east.

Harris had the game of his life against the Ti-Cats throwing six touchdown passes and spreading the ball around to multiple receivers.

It was a CFL record for a playoff game as Harris passed Anthony Calvillo for the most passing touchdowns in a playoff game.

It was the best way for Harris to put the doubters to bed but they likely won’t stop talking about his inability to win big games.

Another step to silencing those doubters would be to take home the Grey Cup as the starting quarterback.

Like any Grey cup, it is going to be a challenge as the REDBLACKS will face a familiar opponent in Calgary.

Two years ago the REDBLACKS beat the Stampeders for their first title and now Harris tries to bring them back to the top of the league.

Although the Stampeders haven’t been as good as they have been in the past they are still the best team in the league.

They will head to their third straight Grey Cup looking to take their first title after losing two years straight to eastern teams.

A win over Winnipeg showcased a very tough defence that Harris will need to overcome if Ottawa is going to stand on top of the league this year.

 

Fourth Down

Medlock into the Record Books

It was a special weekend for the CFL as players showed some record-breaking ability in the two games. Trevor Harris was able to break the record for most touchdown passes in a game while Medlock took a lot less time to put his name in the record book. Thanks to some favourable winds in Calgary Medlock was able to kick a 57-yard field goal in the opening quarter of the game. It was the longest field goal in playoff history giving Medlock something to walk away with even if it wasn’t a win.

Changes on the Fly

Last week the Saskatchewan Roughriders saw their third-string quarterback take over when Brandon Bridge was hit in the head and removed from the game. The play was not flagged and it was later revealed through the ref-cam that the view of the official was obscured. There was no way to see the hit and therefore no flag was thrown but it still had an impact on the game. The CFL came under fire as this was not the first time that a hit like that was not flagged and with pressure to do something the league made a decision to provide a band-aid solution for the finals. They would add an eighth official whose only job would be to watch the quarterback and call those plays. It might be a temporary solution but something will be done on a permanent basis in the offseason.

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