Week two of the Canadian Football League got off to a surprising start and there was more to follow through the rest of the week.
The big underdog B.C. Lions (1-1) astounded just about everyone, apart from maybe their supporters, with an unexpected 15-9 win against the Calgary Stampeders (0-2) in Calgary on Thursday night.
Read More: Lions Defeat Stampeders In Defensive Affair
The game got off to a wrinkled start when B.C. quarterback Michael Reilly got the nod as he wasn’t expected to play at all due to an elbow injury that limited his appearance in Week one. But he saw out all four quarters and steered the Lions to victory.
Canadian QB Nathan Rourke had been widely tipped to be under centre just as he was in Week one.
The final result went against conventional form based on B.C. having lost a week earlier on the road and the fact that the Stamps were playing at home. On top of that, most pundits have been, and usually are, high on Calgary’s offence with Bo Levi Mitchell at the helm, but as was the case in the opening week, the Stampeders looked to be out of sync for much of the contest and have now dropped their first two games at home.
If there was any doubt about the ability of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-0) to be able to live up to their run of 2019 before the season started, they have surely quashed that by now. Hot on the heels of their win against Hamilton on opening night, the in-form Bombers surprised no one by dispatching Toronto (1-1) 20-7 on Friday night at IG Field.
Winnipeg scored first and never relinquished the lead. And again, quarterback Zach Collaros took control of proceedings. The guy threw bombs all over the place, two of which resulted in spectacular touchdowns.
“We scored enough to win the game, but we want to continue to get better and we’re going to,” Collaros told bluebombers.com, and that should sound a warning bell to the other eight teams in the league.
Wide receiver Nic Demski had a stellar game, as did the whole Winnipeg defence who made life difficult for Argos’ QBs McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Nick Arbuckle. The Bombers’ defence forced four turnovers.
The much-anticipated season debut of the Montreal Alouettes (1-0) was the early game on Saturday, and they certainly caught everyone’s attention. Playing on the road in Edmonton, the Als inflicted the second straight loss for the Elks (0-2) with a convincing 30-13 scoreline.
“I don’t want to say it surprised me really how they came out and how they played just because that’s what I’ve been seeing in practice,” said Alouettes head coach Khari Jones.
While the result may not be seen by some as an upset, at the very least it was a bit of a surprise given Montreal’s form was unknown going into the game, they were playing away, and Edmonton was desperate to prove its first-week loss was an aberration.
What it showed is that the Alouettes are for real, and the Elks have plenty of work to do to ensure they don’t drop out of contention early on.
In the final game of Week 2, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-0) took care of business against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-2) with a comfortable and not unexpected 30-8 win at Mosaic Stadium.
Despite falling behind early, the Riders never looked to be in trouble and their defence was on song forcing several turnovers. Admittedly, it was the Ticats’ second straight road game and while maybe that can be factored in, they did have extra rest between fixtures.
Oddsmakers have been drinking the Hamilton Kool-Aid since the CFL Draft right back at the beginning of May. On top of that, the Tiger-Cats were a lot of people’s early-season favourites to win the Grey Cup, but so far, they have fallen short of expectations.
So, after two weeks of the 2021 season, the highly fancied Hamilton, Calgary and Edmonton are already on shaky ground.