There’s one week remaining in the CFL regular season and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have soared to first, Bryan Burnham’s hands are a cheat code, Zach Collaros is back, the Argos have building blocks but don’t have first touchdown balls, and it’s a six-way battle for the Grey Cup. It’s the final version of the CFL studs and duds this season.b
Brandon Banks is special. He’ll likely end his regular season with 112 catches, 1,550 yards and 13 touchdowns, collecting 398 yards and five scores in his final three games. He makes 55-yard scores look too easy, one of the many reasons why he should be the CFL’s Most Oustanding Player after a tight race.
The Jeremiah Masoli and Sean Thomas-Erlington-less Ti-Cats are 14-3, breaking a franchise record for wins in a season while going 8-0 at home. Dane Evans is a beast under centre with a ton of weapons around him on offence. Combine that with their elite secondary, Ja’Gared Davis, and Simoni Lawrence, and you have your Grey Cup favourite.
Speedy B is the best playmaker in the CFL, but Bryan Burnham’s hands alone are worthy of a studs spot and a MOP nod. In back-to-back weeks, Burnham made some outstanding grabs over defenders to the surprise of few. The best one, the CFL’s version of the Odell Beckham Jr. catch, unfortunately, didn’t stand as Burnham’s toe landed on the white line.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 19, 2019
Toronto’s trying out a lot of bodies at a lot of positions lately, and so far so good. Skill players like Chandler Worthy and Shaq Richardson appear to be keepers, while newcomers Kennan Gilchrist and Tobi Antigha are among the many who have shown good outings. At quarterback, the trio of McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Dakota Prukop, and Michael O’Connor should be back next year. Bethel-Thompson might take this team places next season.
The Blue Bombers have been in a bit of a quarterback conundrum since Matt Nichols was officially ruled out for the year. Enter Zach Collaros, who initially came in as a backup for Chris Streveler. With Streveler’s status uncertain, Collaros defeated Calgary on Friday in his first start since June with touchdown throws like this Patrick Mahomes-esque scrambling.
— CFL (@CFL) October 26, 2019
Dylan Wynn’s erotic dance is holding up as the league’s best-voted celebration, though there have been some stellar candidates as of late, such as Andrew Harris playing in the snow or a fan paying Nic Demski. The CFL studs category has been missing some creative celebrating, making the latest moves refreshing. But the real MVP is Kelley Jefferson.
Anyone’s Grey Cup
Well, really it can only be one of six teams’. Realistically, this year is wide open when it comes to crowning a champ. They’ll be two grueling battles between the trio of Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg, while Montreal and Edmonton are no easy-outs for Hamilton. Aside from maybe the Blue Bombers and Eskimos, no final matchup would be a surprise.
Tossin’ the Pigskin
Dakota Prukop’s first CFL touchdown ball is probably floating in some H2O right now thanks to Rodney Smith. After hauling in the score, Smith perversely chucked the ball out of the stadium and into the lake. He said the two laughed it off, but Smith did the same thing after catching Michael O’Connor’s first major later on. Let’s have some awareness, Rodney.
End Zone Lawn Chairs
It’s a snarky way of describing Corey Tindal’s, Marcus Rios’ and Trumaine Washington’s play guarding the Redblacks, Bombers, and Argonauts end zones respectively. Rios (8) and Washington (11) lead the CFL in passing touchdowns responsible for, which becomes an uglier stat once realizing they’ve started a combined 20 games. After an unprecedented four-touchdowns-against-game Saturday, Tindal’s lowly season has hit rock bottom.
A Flying Headshot
Chris Rainey is rarely the hitter, but a suey-pass from Richie Leone on a fake punt presented Rainey with an opportune chance to charge at a defenceless Nigel Romick. Rainey destroyed Romick, breaking up the play. Problem is, Rainey had about 30 yards to sprint toward Romick before popping him directly in the helmet. Rainey somehow avoided a suspension, and both somehow avoided any serious injuries.
Yikes. I know this is a guy who almost never has to hit a guy and is hitting above his weight class but that doesn’t let you be dirty. pic.twitter.com/pLPYRtZS9g
— (Jon)ny Foozball (@jonathanwhudson) October 17, 2019
Cody Fajardo’s breakout campaign has bettered most around him, but Williams-Lambert is a different story. After coming back from the NFL, Williams-Lambert was supposed to offer an extra burst to Saskatchewan’s passing attack. Five catches for 57 yards in three games says otherwise. Now, the Riders are benching Willams-Lambert in favour of Emmanuel Arceneaux, who’s also yet to find his groove.
The Unperfect Season
When Mike Reilly broke his wrist in Week 18, it officially put all nine starting quarterbacks out with injuries at some point this season. It also left the “what if?” as the Lions were rolling with their playoff hopes alive. Instead, we got robbed of a Calgary-B.C. game this Saturday where the Stamps would be playing for first in the West and the Lions a playoff berth. Oh well, get well soon Mike.
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images