THIS WEEK IN THE CFL – WEEK 4
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 — The Toronto Argonauts host the Ottawa REDBLACKS tomorrow night at BMO Field in an early season battle for first in the East. The Argonauts, riding back-to-back wins on the road, are seeking their first victory in their new home, while the undefeated REDBLACKS feature the hottest offensive duo on the league in former Argonaut QB Trevor Harris and receiver Chris Williams.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos Thursday night, Hamilton journeys to Montreal for a Friday Night Football encounter with the Alouettes, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders will seek their first win when they host the BC Lions Saturday.
OVERTIME MORE OF THE TIME
- Last Friday night featured back-to-back overtime games, a true rarity.
- Since 1986 when overtime during the regular season was first instituted, there have been only two occasions where there were two overtime games on the same day: August 3, 1995 (BC Lions vs. Birmingham Barracudas and Toronto Argonauts vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats) and July 9, 1992 (Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ottawa Rough Riders vs. Toronto Argonauts).
- Since 1986, 95 games have required overtime in CFL regular season history.
- In those 95 OT games, the home team owns a record of 45-37-13.
- It’s early and unpredictable, but with three overtime games under our belt so far this year we are on pace for a record year.
- The most overtime games in a single season is eight, which occurred in 2002 and 1992. In 2015 five games went into overtime and over the past two seasons (2015-2016), there have been eight in total, as many as there were in 2010-2014 combined.
TIE ONE (HUNDRED) ON
- The 26-26 tie between the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Calgary Stampeders was the 100th tie in Canadian Football history dating back to our roots in 1907.
- It was the first tie in the CFL since October 17, 2009 when Calgary and Saskatchewan were even at 44-all at McMahon Stadium.
- There have now been only two ties since 2008, a span of over 600 games.
- The Toronto Argonauts have the most ties in CFL history with 26.
- Last Friday’s tie was the 20th tie in Stampeders history and the 18th for all Ottawa clubs.
CHRIS WILLIAMS’ SIZZLING START
- Ottawa receiver Chris Williams snagged 10 receptions for 130 yards and a trio of majors in the REDBLACKS’ tie with Calgary.
- Through three games, Williams has accumulated 25 receptions for 493 yards including six touchdowns. His 493 receiving yards is a CFL record through the first three games of a season, just ahead of Blue Bomber Alfred Jackson, who notched 483 yards in the first three games of 1994.
- Jackson’s 483 yards through three games included a 308-yard game on seven receptions on July 4, 1994.
- Jackson’s quarterback, current CFL on TSN analyst Matt Dunigan, passed that day for a record 713 yards, 112 yards more than any other player in a single game.
- The pace Williams is currently on would have him finish the season with 150 receptions. That would be the second-most receptions in CFL history behind only Derrell Mitchell’s 160 receptions with the Toronto Argonauts in 1998.
- Williams has 493 yards from scrimmage – an average of 164.3 yards per game.
- That is well ahead of the CFL record held by Mike Pringle, who generated 134.1 yards from scrimmage per game twice, with Baltimore (1994) and Montreal (1998).
SEAN WHYTE: IT’S GOOD
- While CFL kickers have generally struggled this season, Edmonton’s Sean Whyte last week extended his streak of completed field goals to 18.
- He is 7-for-7 so far this season, the only kicker in the league to not miss a field goal.
- Over his last seven games Whyte has made 24-of-25 with the only miss being a blocked kick against BC on October 17, 2015.
- His last two field goals tied and won the overtime game versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night.
- Kickers not named Sean Whyte have combined to go 51-of-72 (70.8%) on field goal attempts through 12 games this season.
- Last season, kickers made 82% of their field goal attempts.
ALL THE WAY, A LONG WAY
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats returner Brandon Banks set a personal best in returning a missed field goal 120 yards against Winnipeg last week.
- The longest return of his career was also the longest kick return so far this year.
- BC Lion Chris Rainey has the only other kick return TD this season and he leads the CFL in both kickoff (26.0) and punt return average (16.6).
DODGING TACKLERS, CHASING LEGENDS
- Toronto Argonaut returner Larry Taylor is more accustomed to being chased by tacklers but he is currently bearing down on a major milestone and some big names.
- Currently third in the CFL with 408 kick return yards, Taylor has 9,771 all-time, putting him within striking distance of the prestigious 10,000-yard mark, and placing him fifth on the list of all-time CFL return men behind:
#1 Henry Williams 20,227
#2 Michael Clemons 13,082
#3 Marvin Coleman 11,545
#4 Chad Owens 10,282
#5 Larry Taylor 9,771
- At 166 yards per game, rushing totals are at an all-time low for any season in CFL history.
- Rushing yards per game are down 12% compared to 2015 and down 24% compared to 2014.
- While rushing is down, passing yards are significantly up.
- Compared to last year’s final passing average, passing is up 20% to 637 passing yards per game.
- For the second week in a row, penalties averaged just 18.3 per game.
- Accepted penalties are running at 18.8 per game this year, an 8% drop from last year’s final numbers and a 23% decrease from this point in the season a year ago.
- Trevor Harris continues to be the hottest QB in the CFL and has thrown three TD passes in three straight games. That feat was accomplished only once across the 2014 & 2015 seasons (by Zach Collaros in August 2015 with four games of 3+ TD passes in a row) – and only eight times in the last 11 years. Harris is just the second Ottawa QB to do this and the first since Russ Jackson had 3+ in 1968 and 1969. The CFL record is five consecutive games with 3+ TD passes set by Doug Flutie in 1993, and four games in a row has been done only nine times since 1950.
- Last year, 23 teams overcame a third-quarter deficit to win a game. This year, only BC in Week #1 has come back to win a game after trailing for three quarters.
- Road teams continue to find success. Visiting clubs are 8-3-1 this season winning 67% of the time. Overall, road teams won just 44% of their games last year.
- In 2016, only 10 quarterbacks have started a game for their teams.
- Scoring continues to be up 4% while net offence is up 13%.
- Ian Wild of Winnipeg and Adam Bighill of BC are the only players to have 20 or more tackles through three weeks this year and both are well on their way to the 100 tackle mark for the season.
- Wild leads the league with 22 defensive tackles.
- Hamilton’s Frederic Plesius notched two more special team tackles this week and took over the league lead with six.
- Calgary’s Charleston Hughes and Winnipeg’s Alex Bazzie each have three sacks to lead the league. Hughes pushed his career total to 75 moving him up to 25th all-time tied with Tim Cofield (1991-1996).
- Ricky Ray heads into Week 4 with 53,237 career passing yards and now only needs 19 yards to pass Danny McManus (53,255) for 4th all-time.
- Ray’s record as a starter is 102-91-1.
- The Canadian Football League continues to see increased television ratings.
- Average audiences for CFL on TSN and RDS combined are up nearly 10% this year compared to all of last regular season.
- Audiences are also up 22.5% in the 18 to 49 demographic.
- Last week’s highest-rated CFL game was the thrilling Saskatchewan Roughriders at Edmonton Eskimos contest. The average Canadian TV audience for the game eclipsed the 780,000 mark.