Week three of the Canadian Football League’s 2021 season was a case of upsets galore. In fact, only one game went according to expectations. It started with the first game on Thursday night and just continued from there.
The Edmonton Elks (1-2) came from behind to beat the more fancied B.C. Lions (1-2) 21-16 in the first game of the week on Thursday night in Vancouver. The final result went against the odds as the Lions were favoured to win their 2021 home opener.
However, it wasn’t to be as Elks quarterback Trevor Harris had a blinder throwing for just shy of 300 yards. Wide receiver Greg Ellingson had 148 yards on the night while running back James Wilder Jr. racked up 127 yards on the ground.
“What I asked the team to do this week was to come in with an edge, come with a little bit more of an attitude, like we own this field,” said Elks’ head coach Jaime Elizondo. “I thought they responded in that way.”
On the other side of the ball, Lions quarterback Michael Reilly got more up close and personal looks at the turf than he would have wanted. The Edmonton defensive line sacked him twice and forced a safety, and that was just in the first half.
Continuing with the bucking the trend theme, the Calgary Stampeders (1-2) outlasted the Montreal Alouettes (1-1) 28-22 in Friday night’s game at McMahon Stadium. Not only were the Stamps coming off two straight losses, but they started American rookie quarterback Jake Maier in place of the injured Bo Levi Mitchell.
Calgary opted for Maier rather than Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor, much to the chagrin of many fans, but he got the job done.
“I’m super blessed, super grateful,” said Maier.
Montreal had its moments and was in the hunt right until the end but couldn’t reproduce the form of the previous week to score a second straight win on the road.
Perhaps the biggest upset of the week was Toronto (2-1) downing the high-flying Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-1) 30-23 at BMO Field on Saturday. It was Winnipeg’s first loss of the season.
The Bombers had dominated the Argos the week before in the ‘Peg, but this time they couldn’t get it together. Toronto quarterback Nick Arbuckle stamped his authority on the game and marked his first start with Toronto with a W.
On a positive note for Winnipeg, Mike Miller became the CFL’s all-time leader in special teams tackles. He now has 191, surpassing former B.C. Lion Jason Arakgi who ended his CFL career with 190 special teams tackles.
And the week ended with the only game going the way the oddsmakers had suggested it would with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0) downing the Ottawa Redblacks (1-1) 23-10 at Mosaic Stadium.
Maybe the only unexpected part of the game was that it came down to a defensive struggle that gave Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther a chance to show how accurate he is with the boot. He went 5-5 on the night and was probably the biggest difference-maker.
So, after three weeks, Saskatchewan is the only undefeated team left standing, while Hamilton is the only team without a win so far.