More exciting action in Week 11 of the Canadian Football League saw the Blue Bombers punch their ticket to the playoffs, the Alouettes play themselves into contention, and the Redblacks and Elks all but capitulate.
It wasn’t their prettiest game by any stretch, but Winnipeg (9-1) did enough in their match against Edmonton (2-7) to become the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the 2021 CFL season.
The Blue Bombers scored a less than impressive 26-16 victory over the Elks in front of a good crowd of nearly 25,000 (or so they say) Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Bombers’ offence stalled at times, but the defence stepped up yet again, particularly in the fourth quarter, to ensure the win. One of the highlights was the performance of running back Brady Oliveira, who notched a 100-yard game after replacing Andrew Harris, who picked up an injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.
Related: CFL Power Rankings – Week 11
“I don’t think we played a great game. I don’t think any of us do,” said Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros. “We know we have to be a better football team if we want to move forward and if we want to get to where we want to go.”
The Montreal Alouettes (5-4) improved their position in the East Division with a solid 27-16 win against the Ottawa Redblacks (2-8) in Ottawa in Saturday’s early game.
Quarterback Matthew Shiltz was called up to the starting lineup late in the piece following an injury to Vernon Adams Jr. during the lead-up to the game and made every post a winner. In his first start since the 2019 season, he threw for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Als were unrelenting recording ten sacks on Ottawa’s quarterbacks. The win lifted Montreal into second place in the East behind Toronto.
And in the final game of the round, the Calgary Stampeders (5-5) thumped the B.C Lions (4-5) 39-10 in Vancouver.
In a game that by rights could have gone either way, the Stamps got out to an early lead and were never headed. It was Calgary’s third straight win and the Lions’ third consecutive loss.
The Stampeders took a stranglehold on the game when kick returner Roc Thomas ran back the opening kickoff of the second half 101 yards for a touchdown. The Lions couldn’t recover from that major setback and from that point onwards, it was pretty much all over red rover with Calgary marching on to the W.
So, with just three weeks left in the regular season, the only things we know for sure is that Winnipeg is in and Edmonton and Ottawa are most likely out of the playoffs. But because of the way the CFL playoffs are structured, the Redblacks have a slightly better chance of making the postseason than do the Elks, but they must win all of their remaining games to have a shot.
Based on form in the East, Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton shape up as the top three with the Argos probably in the box seat. If the Ticats lose their remaining games and Ottawa wins theirs, the Redblacks could give themselves a chance, albeit extremely unlikely.
In the West, it comes down to who will finish second and third behind Winnipeg. Saskatchewan, Calgary and B.C. will fight that one out with the Roughriders and Stampeders appearing to be the likely candidates. However, if the Lions win a couple of their last games and Calgary loses theirs, B.C. could clinch the third spot. Or, if Hamilton loses most of their last few games, B.C. could be the crossover team.
This is all conjecture of course, as the playoff picture will become clearer over the next two to three weeks.