Vaxing (yes, pun intended) might be the best way of describing Week 4 of the Canadian Football League.
It got off to a rocky start with the game between Edmonton (1-2) and Toronto (2-1) being postponed on Thursday night, and possibly eventually being scratched altogether, because of COVID-19.
A bunch of Elks players tested positive for the coronavirus leading up to the fixture and consequently, in line with CFL requirements, they, along with coaches and staff were put into isolation for 10 days and the game was put on hold.
The Tiger-Cats (1-2) hit the road Friday night for their clash with the Montreal Alouettes (1-2) and finally produced the form that just about every pundit and wannabe tipster had predicted they possessed before the season started. The result was not unexpected as Hamilton was due to break out of its form slump and did so emphatically.
The visitors beat the Als in their home opener convincingly 27-10. Dane Evans made his first start of the season at quarterback and turned in a solid performance, while the O-line, in general, had the Montreal defence’s number. On the other side of the ball, cornerback/returner Frankie Williams had a big influence on the game for the Ticats with some momentum-changing plays.
Another team that had its 2021 home-opening celebrations dashed was Ottawa (1-2). The Redblacks were outplayed by the B.C. Lions (2-2), who won the TD Place matchup 24-12.
On a rainy Saturday evening in the nation’s capital, Lions quarterback Michael Reilly threw for just over 300 yards and a touchdown. He also picked up a rushing TD. His opposite number Matt Nichols had a less than stellar game tossing for a little over 200 yards and an interception.
“I appreciate this town. It’s always big to get a win on the road, but definitely appreciate the time I had here,” Lions head coach Rick Campbell said afterwards talking about his days as coach of the Redblacks before heading out west.
The game was highlighted by a goalkicking clinic by B.C.’s Jimmy Camacho, who went 3-3, and Ottawa’s ‘Mr. Reliable’ Lewis Ward, who slotted all four of his shots through the uprights.
The final matchup of the week was played on Sunday night in Winnipeg where the hometown Blue Bombers (3-1) almost blew it against Calgary (1-3). In the end though, the home team came from behind to clinch an 18-16 victory in the dying stages of the game.
Confounding the critics, the Stampeders led 16-15 late in the fourth quarter, and if it weren’t for the steady leg of Bombers’ rookie kicker Marc Liegghio they may well have gone home with a very unlikely W.
However, it wasn’t to be as Liegghio nailed a 45-yard field goal with a little over 30 seconds left on the clock to win the game.
“I missed (convert) early on and I wanted to make sure I was going to be perfect from that point forward,” Liegghio told bluebombers.com. “I’m just glad I helped the team out the way I did.”
Calgary’s backup quarterback Jake Maier almost stole the show for the visitors with his second straight impressive outing under centre throwing for more than 300 yards, but the star of the game was reigning Grey Cup MVP, Andrew Harris.
The running back had a stellar season debut rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
So, after four weeks, questions can reasonably start to be asked about Montreal and Ottawa, while Hamilton would appear to have shaken off the unexpected cobwebs. And it could be argued that B.C. is the surprise packet of the league so far.