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Monday, October 1, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: COLLAROS OUTSHINES MANZIEL

Photos: CFL.ca
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

If you were told one team Sunday afternoon in Montreal won the turnover battle, scored 14-points off those turnovers and had a punt return for a touchdown, you would think that team would have won.

Uh uh.

It was the Montreal Alouettes who pulled that off but everywhere else on the field, they showed why they are just a 3-win team as the Saskatchewan Roughriders held on for the 34-29 road win over Les Alouettes in Week 16 in the Canadian Football League.

Saskatchewan had their best offensive game through the air this season as Zach Collaros completed 70% of his passes for 396 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. It was his best game since July 15th, 2017 when he had 361 yards and a touchdown as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a 41-26 loss to B.C.

The last two weeks Collaros looks like he is finally returning to form. He had a lot of help Sunday with both Kyran Moore and Shaq Evans picking up 100-yard games while Tre Mason was fantastic with 86-yards on just 13-carries and a touchdown.

A quick note about Mason: It would be easy for him to have come to the CFL and treated this league like it was even less than a minor league game, like many names that have come before him. However, Mason looks like he is having fun! He hits the hole hard, makes a catch or two out of the backfield, and even though he isn’t the greatest blocker in the world, he will stick his nose into oncoming blitzers. While Marcus Thigpen is the home run hitter, Mason is the bell-cow runner and is an unsung hero in the Rider offence.

Kansas City at Denver tonight at 6:20 pm at Famoso Downtown!
The four touchdown scoring plays were all great (a trio of six play drives along with an eight play) but the best two drives of the game came in the fourth quarter and it only ended up in three points.

With the Alouettes down just two points, the Green & White grinded out two beautiful time-killing drives. The first one was a 10-play, 3:29 drive that ended in a field goal and the second drive was a 9-play wonder that ended the game.

There is one thing that would be a set-back for the offence; Collaros saw a lot of pressure and took a ton of punishment from the Montreal defensive front. He did take advantage of the blitzes and made plays while getting popped, but he was hit way too often.

Defensively, the Riders were solid, especially against a wretched Alouette offensive line. Johnny Manziel was under fire all day and was sacked five times.

Sunday, we didn’t see Johnny Football, we saw Jonathan Paul Manziel. It was interesting to intently watch him and see if he has progressed in the Montreal offence. It’s tough to pin point what is wrong. Manziel doesn’t get the ball out of his hands fast enough, doesn’t make many read progressions (he doesn’t have much time to do so as the offensive line is awful) and most of the time it’s one read and run, even when he has time.

It was so bad, his first ever CFL touchdown came on a gadget double-reverse-pass-play.

His best play of the game was when he slipped Jovon Johnson on a corner blitz and hit an open receiver for the score. Other than that, there is still a lot of work to be done on the Alouette offence.

With the win, the Riders have all but sewn up second in the CFL West and the crucial home playoff date. They have a four-point lead on both Edmonton and Winnipeg and can put the Eskimos away with a win over them Thanksgiving Monday at Mosaic Stadium.

Edmonton is hitting a late season swoon and it was highlighted by a miserable 30-3 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In that game, Mike Reilly was very ordinary throwing two interceptions and he was replaced late in the game by Danny O’Brien and who proceeded to throw another pick.

Edmonton has lost four of five games and are sinking fast.


This Week in Canada West:

They made it interesting, but the Regina Rams (3-2) were able to put away the Manitoba Bisons (2-3) in overtime 32-31 on Saturday.

Regina had a commanding 25-8 lead halfway through the fourth quarter, but touchdown catches from Shai Ross and Macho Bockru tied the game and sent it to overtime.

The Rams scored on a record breaking 35-yard Noah Picton pass to running back Kyle Borsa to take the 32-25 lead. The 35-yards made Piction the USports all-time leading passing yard leader with 11,497 yards.

Manitoba scored on their series, but decided to go for two, and missed handing the Rams the victory.

The Calgary Dinos (5-0) continue to steamroll though the Canada West. Their latest victim was the Saskatchewan Huskies (3-2) in a 33-13 victory at McMahon Stadium.

Adam Sinagra was fantastic again with 432-yards passing and four touchdowns. Sinagra is making a case for a Hec Creighton nominee out of the Canada West. He currently leads the country in passing yards, yards per pass and has 17 touchdowns to just a pair of interceptions.

The Alberta Golden Bears (1-4) won their first game of 2018 by knocking off the UBC Thunderbirds (1-4) 26-21 at Foote Field in Edmonton. The Golden Bears were bolstered by a solid ground game led by Jonathan Rosery’s 150-yards and one touchdown.

There is something wrong out in Vancouver as the usually dominant Thunderbirds are on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

There are no games in the Canada West this week as they take their annual Thanksgiving break.


This week in the PFC:

The Saskatoon Hilltops (6-0) have all but wrapped up first in the PFC with a 36-16 victory over the Edmonton Huskies (4-2). Josh Ewanchyna was stellar with 201 yards rushing and a touchdown in the victory.

The Regina Thunder (3-3) escaped Mosaic Stadium with a 27-26 win over the Edmonton Wildcats (2-4). The ‘Cats had a chance to win the game on a long, last-second field goal, but came up inches short.

The Winnipeg Rifles (3-3) made easy work of the Calgary Colts, rolling over the cellar dwellers 39-6. This sets up a battle for third next week in Winnipeg when the Thunder and Rifles meet up for a chance to avoid the Saskatoon Hilltops in the first round of the playoffs.

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA

Dejon Brissett
Wide Receiver – Richmond
6’2”, 195lbs.
Missisauga, Ont.
High School – Lake Forrest Academy (Illinois)

Dejon Brissett’s 306 yards currently leads the Richmond Spiders in receiving yards so far in 2018. Those all came in the first three games of the season as he has missed the last two games (both losses) because of injury.

Brissett broke out in 2017 with 896-yard receiving and seven touchdowns. Those numbers were good enough to garner all-CAA honours. He is also ranked sixth in the first CFL Scouting Bureau rankings put out in August.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

1 comment:

Bill Salloum said...

The Saturday/Sunday games both show Edmonton Huskies. Should one of those be the Wildcats?