With the playoff picture still very much up in the air, teams had plenty to play for this week. What I found interesting, was that the 'healthiest' team, the team that had the most on the line or the most to gain did not win.
At this time of the year, it is critical to be consistently playing your best football in order to develop the confidence that you need to have success through the playoffs.
Over my years of playing, what I came to appreciate is the length of the season. Day after day, your body takes a pounding. Week after week you ride an emotional roller coaster ride. At this time of the year, practice tends to feel like a formality rather than an essential part of weekly preparation.
The repetition gets the best of you and you start to go through the motions. The danger is that if you are not careful, will get sloppy and develop bad habits.
I believe that we are all tired of trying to figure out the Hamilton Tiger Cats. The sad truth about the loss against the Stampeders this week, was that I wasn't surprised. Although it was an amazing game with an amazing finish, I wasn't surprised to see the ball slip off the tee during the game winning field goal attempt.Hamilton: A great bad example
The Ticats are a perfect example of the habit of losing.
While Hamilton continues to struggle to get out of their losing funk, there are a few teams that are close behind.
I have enjoyed watching the development of the Toronto Argonauts this season. Just prior to Ricky Ray's injury, Toronto was looking like a contender. Although the Argos had struggled offensively of late with Jarious Jackson behind centre, I thought that their defence had developed into one of the best in the CFL.
With the return of Chad Kackert in the backfield and Ray behind centre, the Argos had a perfect opportunity to showcase their team's talents in front of the home crowd. The team had plenty to play for as a win against the visiting Blue Bombers combined with a Ticat loss to Calgary would have clinched a home playoff game.
While the Argo offence put together a gutsy performance coming back from a fast Winnipeg start, the defence was man handled. Not only did they give up 44 points, they allowed the Bombers to rush for 260 yards!
Over the past three weeks, Toronto has given up an average of 35 points per game. Unfortunately, the lack of effort that started during the Saskatchewan loss two weeks ago, has started to develop some bad habits. Edmonton looking average
After a convincing 37-20 victory over Saskatchewan last week, the Eskimos looked like they were getting hot at the right time. A strong performance against a depleted Lions roster would have kept them in the hunt for a home playoff spot and gone a long way towards convincing them that they had finally found the right mix of players to make a run at the Cup.
I wasn't as much surprised by how dominant the Lions defence was, but by how B.C.'s offence made the Eskimo defence look average.
There is nothing more humbling for a defence, than to have an offence rack up rushing yards. B.C. finished the game with 161 yards rushing and 437 yards of total offence behind a quarterback who had not taken a meaningful snap since 2010.
The Riders have a young defence that would like to be considered one of the best. Well, they just got served by one of the best. Anthony Calvillo, proved once again why he is a champion because he continually finds ways to win games ... even if it is by doing the unthinkable, like rushing for two touchdowns.
The worst mistake a team can make is to cash in the last few games prior to the playoffs. Whether you have secured a playoff spot or not, you can't afford to start getting sloppy because you will acquire bad habits that could leave you wondering 'what if' once the season ends.
The expectation to win inside of an organization is rooted in the accountability that players have with one another to prepare themselves for success.
There are a few teams that are right on the edge of slumping at the wrong time of the year. If these teams want to challenge Montreal and B.C. for the 100th Grey Cup, they will need clean up the bad habits.
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