It didn't take long for instant replay to again become a hot-button topic in the CFL.
In the league's opening two regular-season games, questionable calls following review took centre stage in two closely-contested encounters. On Thursday night, the Montreal Alouettes nipped the Saskatchewan Roughriders 17-16 before the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks battled to a 31-31 overtime tie in a Grey Cup rematch the following night.
Saskatchewan tied its game 7-7 on Kevin Glenn's 19-yard touchdown pass to Bakari Grant. Grant lost possession of the ball on the play, with television replays showing he'd fumbled before scoring.
As per league rules, the CFL's command centre reviewed the play but surprisingly upheld the call.
Montreal secured the narrow victory after Saskatchewan kicker Tyler Crapigna missed a 45-yard field goal on the game's final play.
On Friday night, Calgary got the benefit of two replay calls.
The Stampeders tied the score 11-11 when Bo Levi Mitchell hit Kamar Jorden on a nine-yard TD strike. Jorden lost the ball on the play, with Ottawa's Khalil Bass recovering it and returning it for an apparent Ottawa touchdown.
The on-field officials originally ruled Jorden had scored, a decision a call that was supported by the command centre.
Jorden was again the centre of attention in the fourth when he fumbled before being downed on a completion. Ottawa challenged, but again the call was upheld.
Four plays later Jerome Messam's three-yard TD run made it 28-28.
Ottawa linebacker Taylor Reed took to social media to voice his displeasure.
"Please @CFL what we gotta do to fix this. I just need clarity!'' Reed tweeted.
Glen Johnson, CFL senior vice-president of football operations, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.
Last season, the CFL admitted its officials made two mistakes on a key play in Edmonton's 24-21 East Division semifinal win over Hamilton. With the game tied 21-21, Ticats quarterback Zach Collaros completed a pass before being hit by Eskimos defensive end Odell Willis.
A holding penalty against Hamilton tackle Brandon Revenberg negated the 17-yard gain but the Ticats challenged Willis's hit, looking for a roughing-the-passer call. Upon review, the challenge was denied, but Johnson said later not only should Revenberg not have been flagged but replay official Jeff Harbin should've upheld the Ticats' challenge.
ATTENDANCE CONCERNS: It was a triumphant start to the 2017 season for the Toronto Argonauts. Ricky Ray threw for a career-best 506 yards and a TD in leading the squad to a 32-15 home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Marc Trestman's Argos head-coaching debut.
But the contest drew just 13,583 spectators at BMO Field. Last year, almost 25,000 fans watched Hamilton dismantle Toronto 42-20 in the Argos' first-ever contest at the refurbished venue.
Ray said at least most of the fans present Sunday were vocal.
"I mean, there was energy there at the end of the game making it tough on Hamilton,'' Ray said. "We're just trying to come out and win each game, and we'll see where it goes from there.''
Granted, Sunday's football game went head-to-head against the Pride parade in Toronto. But Ticats fans traditionally make the trek to Toronto to support their squad against the hated Argos.
The Argos' next home game is Friday night against the B.C. Lions, a team that usually doesn't draw well in Toronto. The Toronto Blue Jays are also at Rogers Centre that night facing the New York Yankees, and it's also the start of Canada Day long weekend.
Toronto averaged 16,380 fans in its first season at the 27,000-seat BMO Field with no sellouts. A 2-7 home record certainly didn't help matters.
INJURY WOES: The Edmonton Eskimos' linebacking corps has taken another hit.
The Eskimos announced Monday that veteran J.C. Sherritt suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in their 30-27 win over the B.C. Lions on Saturday. Edmonton lost linebacker Cory Greenwood, an off-season free-agent acquisition, to a season-ending knee injury during training camp.
Hamilton receiver Terrence Toliver was injured early in the club's 32-15 road loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Sunday, Toliver left the game early in the first half with an apparent knee injury.
Losing Toliver is a big blow to Hamilton. He had 65 catches for 1,036 yards and nine TDs last year despite missing five games.
Meanwhile Calgary Stampeders receiver DaVaris Daniels isn't expected to play in Thursday's home-opener because of an apparent shoulder injury.
The CFL's rookie of the year in 2016 was injured in Friday's 31-31 tie with the Redblacks in Ottawa.
Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said Monday that the 24-year-old wideout was "not likely'' to be in the lineup for Thursday's rematch at McMahon Stadium.
The CFL announced Monday that Finch tested positive for a banned substance (D-amphetamine).
"I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility,'' Finch said in a statement. "I want to make it clear that there was absolutely no intent on my part to cheat as I was taking the medication to treat attention-deficit disorder.
"At the same time, I know that I'm responsible for what goes into my body and I should have asked more questions. I apologize to the fans, the coaches and my teammates for the embarrassment I have caused.''
Players receive a two-game suspension for a first doping violation.
A second offence results in a nine-game suspension. The penalty is a year-long suspension for a third violation with a fourth resulting in a lifetime ban.
While Finch can't play in Calgary's next two games, it's up to the club to determine if he'll be allowed to practise and attend team meetings while suspended.
"The Calgary Stampeders were very disappointed to learn about Roy's violation of the policy on drugs,'' said John Hufnagel, Calgary's president/GM. "We understand the medication taken by Roy was to treat a legitimate medical condition however, by failing to follow procedure and obtain a therapeutic-use exception, Roy is subject to this penalty.
"While I believe this was an honest mistake on Roy's part, it was a mistake nevertheless and it's important that he and all players learn from this episode.''
THIS 'N THAT: Montreal quarterback Darian Durant was 20-of-31 passing for 233 yards with two TDs against his former team. Durant spent 11 seasons in Regina before being dealt to the Als in the off-season ... DeVier Posey (seven catches, 147 yards, one TD) and S.J. Green (seven catches, 124 yards) were both sensational in Toronto's win over Hamilton but Edmonton's Brandon Zylstra was the CFL's top receiver last week, registering seven catches for 152 yards against B.C... Lost in the win over Hamilton was a Toronto defence that didn't allow a TD and just 221 net yards while recording five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Linebacker Marcus Ball, back with the Argos after three seasons in the NFL, had a team-high six tackles ... Defensive back Jovon Johnson, signed by Saskatchewan following his release from Montreal, had a team-high seven tackles against the Als ... Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton recorded a league-best nine tackles against Ottawa.
(With files from The Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)