MAC'S MAIN MAN
What a difference a week makes, especially if you are the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The last three games for Hamilton have truly been Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Lets review:
Week 12 -- Blasted past Edmonton, scoring 51 points.
Week 13 -- Looked like they shouldn't even be in the CFL, losing 34-12 to Winnipeg.
Week 14 -- Put up a 40-burger in a 41-28 thrashing of Montreal.
One of the main characters being criticized for his inconsistent play has been quarterback Henry Burris. After being shell shocked by the Blue Bombers seven days earlier and a single game out of the playoff picture, the 13-year veteran was again his dominant self as Hamilton hosted Montreal in an important tie-breaking season series matchup this past Friday.
H-Burr strapped the black and yellow to his back, completing a phenomenal 28 of 32 pass attempts for 326 yards, including an incredible five touchdowns to three different receivers. He was also the contest's second-leading rusher with 34 yards on four carries.
When Burris is on, the simple truth is that he makes everyone around him better and becomes an even more effective leader.
Some may look at the performances of wideout Andy Fantuz or power back Avon Cobourne and say that they should get this week's 3rd And Long MVP nod. A pair of TD catches for Fantuz and 111 yards on the ground for Cobourne -- both team highs -- make for a solid argument.
However, look at how this matchup unfolded and all roads point back to Burris.
Cobourne was able to make such progress in the rushing department because of H-Burr's effectiveness through the air, which naturally forces the secondary to hang back. Fantuz got off to a disappointing start this season. But he seems to have finally found the chemistry with his QB and has stepped up when called upon. That said, Burris did not have to rely soley on Fantuz as he connected with six weapons, all for multiple catches.
On our 3rd And Long podcast, Henry told us himself that a major motivator this season is proving that he is still the man who can lead a team deep into the playoffs. It appears that Burris is getting hot at the right time and, if they can gain some overall consistency down the stretch, these underdog Ticats could be a sleeper pick come November.
-- Andy McNamara
What a huge win for the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday night, 27-21 over the reigning and defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions -- the hottest team in the CFL.
The Roughriders have been arguably the most interesting team, for lack of a better word. They began the season in impressive fashion, winning their first three games and leading most to think they can show up and represent the west in the 100th Grey Cup at Toronto.
But what followed was a season-high, five-game losing streak, which brought up the "Here we go again" talk in Riderville.
After those who had them picked to appear in the Grey Cup had jumped off the wagon, the Riders have won four of their last five games, including a clean sweep of their Banjo Bowl rivals from Winnipeg. They also seem to have the recipe to compete with the Lions, having taken two of three games from them.
The CFL will just drive you crazy if you try to figure it out.
Saturday night in Saskatchewan had a big game feel and normally big games bring out the best in big time players. But for Weston Dressler, it was just another day at the office. The face of the "All Dressler" chip caught nine balls for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Dressler is now over 1,000 receiving yards for the fourth time in his five-year career and his nine TD catches is already a career high with five games still to play.
With the pace he is on, Dressler could surpass 100 catches for the season, which would be a first for the young slotback. My prediction is he will accomplish it. The connection he's had with quarterback Darian Durant over the last couple of weeks has left defences in a shambles.
With Dressler playing at such a high level, Kory Sheets running the rock the way he did Saturday and a mistake-free Durant, the Riders could very well make a run and return to the place where they last won the Grey Cup.
Riderville be cautious this time, though. We saw what happened when the wagon got too full.
-- Carlan Gay
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