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Green leads Tiger-Cats to late victory, while Bombers boost hold on second

September 25, 2017

By: Andrew Bucholtz

Week 14 in the CFL saw plenty of interesting results. Let’s break it all down.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24, B.C. Lions 23: East Division teams have historically struggled in B.C. Place, especially in late-starting games, so the 2-9 Ticats looked in trouble against the 6-6 Lions in a game that didn’t kick off until after 11 p.m. Eastern Friday. However, they came up witn an impressive victory, and a lot of that was thanks to newly-signed running back Alex Green.

Green had a solid career at Hawaii in 2009 and 2010 (this was after now-Ticats head coach June Jones left the Rainbow Warriors for SMU in 2008), and had NFL stints with the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets from 2011-14, but then didn’t record any high-level football appearances for a few years. He signed with Hamilton this February and was cut at the end of the preseason, but was brought back this week following an injury to C.J. Gable, and he didn’t look too rusty at all. Green finished with 140 rushing yards on 13 carries (10.8 yards per) and two catches for 15 yards, and while he had occasional missteps in pass protection, he gave the Ticats a strong ground game they’ve long been missing.

Green’s performance, plus a long 50-yard field goal from Sergio Castillo in the final minute (part of his three for five showing on the night), meant that Hamilton improved to 3-1 under new head coach June Jones. They’re still a ways out of the playoffs right now with a 3-9 overall record that puts them third in the East (and vulnerable to the crossover), but it’s certainly possible they could catch 5-8-1 Ottawa and maybe even 6-7 Toronto. Meanwhile, the Lions lost their second straight and fell to 6-7, and they’re on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment. We’ll see where both teams go from here.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 29, Ottawa Redblacks 9: This one was further proof that starting a quarterback with no CFL experience often goes poorly. Ottawa had to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley following injuries to Trevor Harris and Drew Tate, and while Lindley has significant NFL experience (with Arizona, San Diego, New England and Indianapolis from 2012-2016), he hadn’t played professionally in quite a while before joining Ottawa. And while he received some preseason action, this was his first regular-season start. It didn’t help that it was in a downpour:

Even more than the weather, the lack of experience went a long way to explaining Lindley’s poor performance of 16 completions on 36 attempts (44.4 per cent) for 151 yards with an interception. Of course, the conditions in Winnipeg mattered too, but Bombers’ counterpart Matt Nichols still threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns with a 69.7 per cent completion rate. And to his credit, Lindley refused to blame the rain:

Lindley may improve with time, but Ottawa will be hoping to get Tate and/or Harris back soon.

Toronto Argonauts 33, Montreal Alouettes 19: Firing head coach Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe didn’t lead to improvement this week, as the Alouettes still struggled under general manager and interim head coach Kavis Reed. Quarterback Darian Durant completed 25 of 38 passes (65.8 per cent) for 231 yards, but tossed three picks, and Tyrell Sutton’s 105 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (7.0 per) were largely wasted. Meanwhile, Ricky Ray was in highly-efficient (18 for 24, 75 per cent) form for the Argos, even if he only threw for 182 yards and a touchdown, and James Wilder rushed 10 times for an astounding 141 yards and a touchdown (14.1 per carry). Former Montreal head coach Marc Trestman’s Argos still have problems, but they’re in first in the East at 6-7, while the Alouettes are in the basement at 3-10.

Calgary Stampeders 15, Saskatchewan Roughriders 9: The Stampeders have been the CFL’s best and most consistent team this year, but the Roughriders gave them a run for their money Sunday in Regina. In fact, Saskatchewan had a chance here late, but their final drive was stopped when Brandon Bridge (who came in for Kevin Glenn late, with Glenn dealing with an injured hand) was strip-sacked by Calgary defensive end Ja’Gared Davis. That was one of Davis’ three sacks on the day, and he also recorded the fumble recovery. It was part of the Stampeders’ impressive defensive effort, which helped them record a ninth-straight victory here despite a not-that-great offensive showing.