Who would have thunk it? Heading into Saturday's tilt between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre, Eastern Division teams had won all three previous game played this past week.
Montreal hammered Edmonton, 50 - 16, in a game that should never have gotten so out of hand. If Edmonton running back Arkee Whitlock hangs on to the ball during the first half, the Eskimos probably control matters. Instead, two dropped passes in the end zone by Whitlock, and then his fumble, guaranteed the Alouettes enough momentum to turn this one into a laugher. It's tough enough for teams to win in Montreal, but gift wrapping things for the home side is far too generous. New head coach Richie Hall, who stuck with Whitlock, will be introduced to the way-of-life in Edmonton this week...the world of talk radio solutions from fans and their steady diet of determined second-guessing.
Winnipeg trounced Calgary, 42 - 30. The game served as a tribute to retired Blue Bomber receiver Milt Stegall and was played following a tumultous week that saw Winnipeg release receiver Derek Armstrong after a tiff with head coach Mike Kelly. The Bombers were solid on both sides of the ball and Stamps QB Henry Burris was simply ordinary at best. The Bombers look to have a great running game with Fred Reid and Lavarus Giles, an aspect that will keep the ball moving while pivot Stephan Lefors cuts his teeth as a starting quarterback.
Hamilton walked into Vancouver and beat the Lions 31 - 28 at B.C. Place. This is a huge win for the Ti-Cats because, well, they're the Ti-Cats and a win is a win. Lions' fans will suggest this one was all about how poorly the home team played, but Hamilton looked very good for most of this one. Quinton Porter was reliable under centre for Hamilton. Buck Pierce was not for B.C., although 26 of 40 for 333 yards passing will look good on the stats page. A pair of interceptions, one returned for a Ti-Cats TD and one in the last minute with the Lions in field goal range sealed B.C.'s fate. Hamilton may have found a versatile running back in DeAndra Cobb. With running back Ian Smart out of the lineup, the injury woes continue for the Lions' as kicker Paul McCallum is likely gone indefinitely after injuring the knee on his kicking leg while making a tackle.
Saskatchewan prevented an East Division sweep with a convincing 46 - 36 road victory. While the Riders protected the ball well, the Argos collapsed during the second quarter through a combination of dumb penalties and turnovers. The Riders put 30 points on the board in the second quarter, scoring in almost every way imaginable. Marquee offensive lineman Rob Murphy, a huge off-season acquisition by Toronto, was beaten cleanly by defensive end Stevie Baggs, who dropped QB Kerry Joseph in the end zone for a safety. Murphy never got a hand on Baggs, who made a spin move that left the perennial all-star lineman wanting for a mulligan. It was simply a sign of things to come for the Argos. This one was not as close as the score might suggest.
B.C. (0-2) AT Edmonton (1-1); Toronto (1-1) AT Calgary (0-2); Montreal (2-0) AT Saskatchewan (2-0); Winnipeg (1-1) AT Hamilton (1-1)