THIS WEEK IN THE CFL – WEEK 3
Thursday, July 6, 2017 — Thursday, July 6th, 2017 (TORONTO) – Week 3 in the hyper-entertaining 2017 CFL season has a tough act to follow: Canada Day Weekend featured see-saw battles, overtime excitement and #Canada150 celebrations.
It starts again tonight as the Alouettes host the BC Lions today at 7:30pm. Montreal seeks a second home win at Percival Molson Stadium while the Lions try for a second straight road win.
Friday Night Football features two unbeaten teams: the Calgary Stampeders (1-0-1) visit Winnipeg (1-0) for the Blue Bombers’ home opener. Kick-off is at 8:30 ET.
There’s twice the CFL action on Saturday. The Toronto Argonauts visit the Ottawa REDBLACKS at 7:00pm ET, where offence is likely to shine as quarterbacks Ricky Ray and Trevor Harris each have one Shaw Top Performer nod under their belt in 2017. At 10:00pm ET the Hamilton Tiger-Cats come off their bye week in Saskatchewan, with both teams looking for their first win of the season.
THE CFL GAME IS OFF TO A HOT START
- Scoring is up: the first eight games have delivered 56.1 points per game, the highest amount since 2008 (56.2).
- Fewer Flags: Penalties in 2017 are down 10% from this time in 2016.
- Six of eight games this season have been decided by four or fewer points.
- The average margin of victory so far: 5.6 points.
- Teams are scoring on 16% of their drives, or one touchdown every six possessions.
- Kickers are off to a rocky start: they have converted 75% of converts (24-for-32), down from 91 per cent last year.
GREAT PLAYERS, BIG PLAYS
- Second-year Argo receiver DeVier Posey has the early lead in receiving yards with 218, after cracking the 100-yard mark in both of the Argos’ games so far.
- Blue Bomber Weston Dressler made the longest catch of his ten-year CFL career in Week 2, an 87-yard touchdown pass from Matt Nichols in Saskatchewan.
- Calgary’s Tunde Adeleke and Ottawa’s Diontae Spencer each returned a punt for a touchdown in the same game in Week 2. The last time two teams earned a punt-return touchdown in the same game was on June 27th, 2013 when Demond Washington (WPG) and Tyrone Carrier (MTL) each brought one back.
- Adeleke became the first National player to record a punt return touchdown since Nic Demski on September 6th, 2015.
- Greg Ellingson has the most targets this season with 23, followed by Bryan Burnham, Marquay McDaniel and Posey, each with 20.
- There have been 36 sacks in 2017’s eight games, an average of 4.5 per game. This continues a declining trend going back to 2013:
- 2017: 4.5
- 2016: 4.7
- 2015: 5.3
- 2014: 5.4
- 2013: 5.5
- Thus far in 2017, no team has scored on a drive where they gave up a QB sack. In 2016, one in every 16 drives that contained a QB sack would end with a score.
- Montreal has yet to allow a QB sack in 2017. The last time that a team did not allow a sack in their first two games was Hamilton in 2001. In 2000, Hamilton did not allow a sack in their first four games of the season.
- Toronto’s Victor Butler leads the league with four sacks. He has six QB pressures, which ties him for the lead in that category with Saskatchewan’s Willie Jefferson and BC’s DeQuin Evans.
- Argonauts lead the league with 9 sacks followed by the BC Lions and Edmonton Eskimos, each with five.
THREE MINUTE DRILL
- The record for most consecutive unbeaten starts in the regular season by a CFL quarterback is now 18, held by Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell.
- Edmonton’s Mike Reilly leads the CFL in QUAR (the league’s new quarterback rating) with an overall rating of 92.9.
- Late Roar: The BC Lions have 55 points in two games, with 34 of those points (62%) scored in the fourth quarter. League-wide, just 30% of 2017’s points have been scored in the fourth quarter.
- Turnovers Trend Down: We’ve had 2.9 turnovers per game, down from 4.3 last year and 4.5 in 2015.
- Points Off Turnovers Trend Up: Teams are scoring an average of 3.7 points per drive following a turnover, up from 2.4 points a year ago. That’s a 55% increase.
- Long Time Coming: Winnipeg will try to get their first regular season win over Calgary since November 1st, 2014, when they won 18-13.
- Milestone Approaching: Nik Lewis is now just 13 receptions short of becoming the fourth CFL player to reach 1000 career receptions. Averaging 4.61 receptions per game, he is on pace to reach the mark in the second-fastest rate, with only Terry Vaughn (1006 receptions in 211 games played, or 4.77 receptions per game) getting there faster.
NEW COMMISSIONER IS A GREY CUP CHAMP
- Randy Ambrosie – introduced as the 14th Commissioner of the CFL just yesterday – will be in attendance for tonight’s game in Montreal as he begins a tour of all CFL stadiums.
- His nine-year playing career (1985-1993) saw him play 142 regular season games with three teams: Calgary (34), Toronto (28) and Edmonton (80).
- Drafted second overall in 1985 by the Calgary Stampeders behind fellow offensive lineman Nick Benjamin, Ambrosie was traded to Toronto in July 1987 for a 1988 second-round pick, and from Toronto to Edmonton in June 1989 for defensive tackle Branko Vincic.
- Ambrosie played nine playoff games and two Grey Cup games: for Toronto in 1987, and for Edmonton in 1993, when the Eskimos won the 81st Grey Cup.
About the Canadian Football League
Today’s CFL is more than just our great game of football. It’s fans sharing their excitement for what they see on the field, and what they experience off it. Stay up to date on all the non-stop action at CFL.ca. And join all of Canada as we celebrate the 105th Grey Cup, presented by Shaw, this November in Ottawa.
Photo Courtesy of John Bradley