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article imageWeek 17 Review of the Canadian Football League

By Andrew Reeves     Oct 24, 2011 in Sports
Toronto - Week 17 in the Canadian Football League is in the books, and despite the blowouts and come from behind victories, no team has yet clinched a division title.
A league with only eight teams in it needs some razzle-dazzle heading into the postseason, and I am happy to say that for the second year in a row, the CFL playoff picture has yet to be determined with only two games left to play.
Week 17 was kicked off in Toronto for the second week in a row, as the visiting Edmonton Eskimos took on the Toronto Argonauts, who were looking for their first back-to-back victories of the season. After running up the score 31-3 in the fourth quarter, Edmonton appeared ready to coast to an easy victory to move them into first place in the West, especially after a sizable portion of the 19,176 in attendance at the Rogers Centre decided to catch the early GO train home. And although Toronto was able to make it interesting by scoring 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter, Edmonton managed to hold on to hand the Argonauts their 12 loss on the season.
The Argonauts fall to 4-12, while Edmonton rose to 10-6 and moved into sole possession of first place in the West. Toronto WR/KR Chad Owens broke a professional football record on Friday night, becoming the first player in history to record over 3,000 all purpose yards in back-to-back seasons.
Out West, Friday night also saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders drive into Calgary to take on the Stampeders. Calgary has been hot and cold lately, and has stumbled often at the end of this season when the playoff race demanded consistency - and victories. After Calgary QB Henry Burris was pulled at halftime against the Argonauts in Week 16, head coach John Hufnagel went with back-up QB Drew Tate, who put together an impressive come from behind game, but was denied the victory. His efforts gained him the starting job this week against the Riders, and Tate did not disappoint.
Tate went 23 for 32 on the night, with 251 yards and a touchdown. His two interceptions on the night didn't seem to hinder the Stampeders chances of winning, as Saskatchewan was only able to muster one offensive touchdown, and zero second-half points. The win puts Calgary into a second place tie in the West at 9-7, and drops the Roughriders to 4-12.
Winnipeg stands the best chance of denying Montreal their playoff bye week, and the game on Saturday afternoon in Winnipeg between these two teams would decide not only if Winnipeg could compete despite injuries, but who would sit atop the Eastern division. In front of a sell out crowd in Winnipeg, the Bombers proved that they are for real.
Mind you, the game wasn't pretty. It was a defensive drudge-match, as the 10-9 score at halftime would attest. Montreal QB Anthony Calvillo was off his mark in a game where the Allouettes needed to reaffirm their status as the "Beasts of the East." Calvillo went just 14 for 37 for just 199 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions. Calvillo relied on his teammates to get it done, notably RB Brandon Whittaker and WR Jamel Richardson, both of whom went over the century mark on the game.
16 unanswered points by Montreal in the the 3rd quarter appeared to pave the way for an easy Montreal victory. But it was not to be. Winnipeg QB Buck Pierce went 21 for 33 on the night, throwing for 236 yards and gaining 16 unanswered points for the Bombers in the 4th quarter. The single point lead the Bombers took into the locker room at half time would prove just enough to edge the Gold and Blue past the Allouettes for the second time this season, clinching the season series. If Montreal hopes to earn that division title, they now need more victories on the season than their new-found Eastern rival. A tie won't do.
And the final game of Week 16 ended in triumphant fashion for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who ended the BC Lions winning streak at eight games in a dramatic fashion. The two QB system seems to be working well for the Tiger-Cats, and Kevin Glenn and Quinton Porter each took turns at the helm, combining for 232 yards in a 42-10 victory over the humbled Lions. 24 points from the sure leg of Kicker Justin Medlock also helped.
This was the last home game Hamilton will play this season, and that likely includes the post-season. Even with improving to 8-8 on the season, the Tabbies would need to win their remaining two games and hope Montreal loses their two remaining games in order to see a playoff game at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
The Lions simply could not find their rhythm on Saturday night, despite a good outing from QB Travis Lulay. Lulay and back up QB Jarius Jackson threw for 267 combined yards, although it was turnovers that proved costly for the Lions.
Hamilton remains in third place in the East, while the Lions drop into a second place tie with the Calgary Stampeders at 9-7 in the West.
A Look Ahead to Week 18:
Toronto at Winnipeg: Friday, October 28
Winnipeg needs to continue its winning ways in Swaggerville if they hope to finish first in the East. But Toronto looks to continue their role as spolier, while auditions for the 2012 Argonauts team begin early.
Hamilton at Saskatchewan: Saturday, October 29
Saskatchewan has nothing to play for, and Hamilton is still hoping a home playoff game is in the cards. But both teams have run hot and cold this season - who will show up to play?
Edmonton at BC: Saturday, October 29
An immensely important game in terms of playoff standing, as Edmonton is one game ahead of BC in the standings, but BC holds the season series at 2-1. And BC Place is a daunting new stadium to play in.
Calgary at Montreal: Sunday, October 30
Both teams now find themselves at the lower end of a hunt for first place, and it will be an uphill battle for each as they try and make a last-minute run at the top.
More about canadian football league, Toronto argonauts, Hamilton tiger cats, montreal allouettes, winnipeg blue bombers
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