Week 13 wasn’t so lucky for some in the Canadian Football League, with plenty of news on and off the field.
A coaching change in Montreal
The big week of news got started on Thursday, with word that head coach Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe were let go by the Alouettes organisation.
There were rumours of Chapdelaine being at odds with the front office most of the year and the Als haven’t exactly set the world on fire, so he probably deserved the boot.
But Thorpe’s firing is a head-scratcher, given that Montreal’s defence is the one unit on that team that’s actually played mostly-decent football this year.
General manager Kavis Reed will be the interim head coach through the end of the season. Greg Quick replaces Thorpe as defensive coordinator, and Anthony Calvillo, one of the greatest quarterbacks in Canadian Football League history, takes over as offensive coordinator.
Alex Singleton is a beast
The Calgary linebacker is fast becoming a superstar in the CFL, and Saturday night was one of the best games we’ve seen from a guy who regularly plays lights-out.
He set a league record with his third straight game, recording double-digit tackles, and was basically unstoppable. He’s fantastic to watch.
A Canadian quarterback starred in the Canadian Football League
How great was it to see Brandon Bridge, a Canadian kid, at the controls of the Saskatchewan offence in relief of the injured Kevin Glenn?
It was a good night for the 25-year-old, who went 21-31 for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
For the record, he was the first Canadian quarterback to start and win since Greg Vavra way back in 1984.
Another quarterback injury in Ottawa
The Redblacks are starting to resemble the Eskimos as far as the injury ward they’ve got going. A week after starter/face of the franchise Trevor Harris went down, backup Drew Tate was forced from the field late in the first half of the 29-11 victory over Montreal, whose new coaching staff didn’t seem all that different from their old one.
Third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley is likely to start this week. Friday night, on the road at Investors Group Field against Winnipeg? My goodness, that’s a heck of a start to your career!
James Wilder went wild
The Toronto running back from Florida State had himself quite a day out at BMO Field on Saturday afternoon, as the Argos beat a reeling Edmonton 34-26, behind 457 yards of total offence.
Most of that was Wilder’s doing. He led the team in both receiving and rushing yards, amassing 257 yards and a touchdown. He had 190 yards on the ground, the most by any Argo running back in seven years, including a spectacular 76-yard scoring dash.
Just quietly, with Ottawa’s well-documented quarterback issues, the Argos look ready to claim first place in the beleaguered East division. They get Montreal this Sunday afternoon, in Toronto.
Jonathan Jennings didn’t look great against Calgary
When Travis Lulay went down with a season-ending injury early in BC’s home win over Montreal, Jennings reclaimed his starting spot and looked pretty good.
Of course, it was against the Alouettes, so let’s hold off electing him to the Hall of Fame.
Saturday evening against Calgary – as good a defensive unit as there is in the CFL – Jennings was back to his old self, throwing three interceptions while running for his life from a Stampeder defence that collectively seemed to spend as much time in Lion backfield as any running back on the BC roster.
Jennings ended the 27-13 loss with a stat line – 15-29 for 167 yards and three interceptions – more along the lines of what we’ve seen from him this season.
Last week’s performance against Montreal was clearly an aberration. Jennings is lucky there isn’t a viable threat to his job, or he might be in trouble this week.