Nine thoughts on nine teams: Labour Day classics rematch weekend

Nine thoughts on nine teams from Labour Day classics rematch weekend in the Canadian Football League.

B.C. Lions: The league’s leading rushing attack went to work against Montreal, 25 carries for 252 yards – 10.1 yards per attempt – and four touchdowns total. Jeremiah Johnson went for a single-game, career-high 159 yards to record his third 100-yard rushing effort. Chris Rainey chipped in with 61 yards on the ground, the most he’s put up in a CFL contest. The Rain Man could see more offensive touches as games get more meaningful.

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Edmonton Eskimos: A packed Commonwealth Stadium and return of the Eskimos explosive offence was not nearly enough for Edmonton to exact revenge on Calgary. Seven penalties for 84 yards on the ‘D’ ultimately did the Esks in, two coming in overtime including a 32-yard pass interference call on Cord Parks.

Calgary Stampeders: Bo Levi Mitchell displayed exactly what his Eastern Washington head coach, Beau Baldwin, said about the quarterback’s ability to focus on the moment: “He always had that ability to flush something that didn’t go right and come back and find a way.” Multiple times with the game on the line, Calgary’s franchise pivot delivered precision throws to lead the Stamps to a double-overtime victory on the road. Bo knows clutch.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Fourth quarter mistakes cost the Riders in the Banjo Bowl. A Caleb Holley fumble when Saskatchewan was in position for go-ahead points led to the deciding Bombers touchdown. And a failed fake field goal with Brandon Bridge halted a possible game-tying drive. Coughing up the ball inside Winnipeg’s 20-yard line must irk Rider faithful who are desperate for a win.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Richie Hall’s defence held the blue and gold in the game and produced the game-changing play, forcing a Caleb Holley fumble. Winnipeg’s ability to come up with takeaways has been well documented during the team’s six-game winning streak. That said, Winnipeg has allowed just 239 points, two more than Calgary’s league-leading scoring defence.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Hamilton’s tackles, Brian Simmons and Jeremy Lewis, allowed the pocket to be disrupted from the edges too many times on Sunday. Zach Collaros was forced to move around a lot more than he wanted and it clearly threw off the timing and rhythm in the Ticats’ offence. Better play from the men on the outside of Hamilton’s front line will be crucial down the stretch.

Toronto Argonauts: Dan LeFevour and Toronto’s trade for Drew Willy immediately after the win over Hamilton might have been the headliners for Sunday, but the Argos defensive front should be getting some ink for that performance. Ricky Foley, Ken Bishop, Bryan Hall, Justin Hickman, Daryl Waud and in particular Shawn Lemon wreaked havoc for 60 minutes.

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Ottawa Redblacks: Marcel Desjardins was busy during the bye week signing international kicker Sergio Castillo. That could be a message to Chris Milo: improve or else. The Canadian three-point specialist has hit 75 per cent of his field goals (27-for-36), which ranks eighth out of the nine main field goal men in the league right now.

Montreal Alouettes: Rakeem Cato was efficient completing 21 of 29 passes, but Montreal could only muster six first-half points and the Als defence was left out on the field too long in the opening 30 minutes. If the offence can produce around 27 points consistently, the Alouettes could get back in the East Division playoff picture.

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