CFL Power Rankings: Week 8 | Football | CBC Sports

CFLCFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 | 10:29 AM

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Quarterback Drew Willy and the Blue Bombers, playing on just four days rest, were laid low by the Argos in Toronto. (Chris Young/Canadian Press) Quarterback Drew Willy and the Blue Bombers, playing on just four days rest, were laid low by the Argos in Toronto. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers take a nosedive in our weekly breakdown of the balance of power in the Canadian Football League.
CBC Sports football contributor Malcolm Kelly breaks down the balance of power in the Canadian Football League on a weekly basis.

Overall record: 6-1
Streak: Won 2
Next: at Ottawa

Boy, it's close in the West. Another win for Calgary and the club is piling up points so this is a good time to get a little picky. "Bend but don't break" is a classic approach to defence, but bending too much equals points given up and lets other teams stay in the fight. In Hamilton, the White Stallions were galloping along in the (really) cozy confines at McMaster and seemed to be doing fine. Those Cats, however, were actually picking up some serious yards (449 net in total) and making this game much more difficult than it might have been. It was only when Hamilton QB Dan LeFevour went down in the fourth quarter that the game was decided. Let's go positive with the offence. You can tell the confidence of this group by the way they react when the pressure's on. That second-and-20 with four minutes to go where Mitchell found Simon Charbonneau-Campeau for exactly 21 and a key first down showed how disciplined and drilled this group can be.
Overall record: 5-2
Streak: Won 4
Next: at B.C.

Meanwhile in Regina, home to the World's Largest Gopher Hole (at the new stadium's construction site), the Riders turned again to defensive lineman John Chick, who had four tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble against Montreal. He's already on 12 QB kills for the season and is pretty much unstoppable out there, forcing offences to run the other way. The Riders were excellent on defence, allowing the Larks ground on the other side of centre, but nothing when the ball entered Saskatchewan's half. And a good thing too, because for three quarters the offence was just awful, garnering 94 yards in the first half. Montreal's D is far better than its O, but that was still jaw dropping. Enter Rob Bagg. Bagg the brave. Bagg the reliable. With the game 5-4 for the home side, Bagg caught a pass at :00 of the third for 22 yards, then another for 30 yards a play later for a touchdown. Game. Even with that 125-yard field goal miss return by the Als that put them back in it for a while. That was a mirage.
Overall record: 6-1
Streak: Won 2
Next: vs. Toronto

Here's how bad the Edmonton-Ottawa game was this week -- there were two kickoffs. One to start the game, one to start the second half. A terrible display of Canadian football. Ottawa has an excuse, Edmonton does not. The defence played pretty well, helped by Redblacks mistakes. Then there's the offence, one that produced 26 first downs, 438 net yards and ... 10 points -- four in the first half, six in the second. This has to be the most mistake-filled 6-1 attack I've seen in a long while. They fumble at bad times (such as on the three after an excellent drive), drop balls in the red zone, take dumb penalties, and don't protect the QB when points are staring them in the face. Now six quarters without a TD. They also make strange decisions, like going for it on third and one at the Ottawa 11, late in the game, and then running the QB off tackle with an empty backfield so there was no blocking. And guys, show up for the anthem, it's insulting.
4. B.C. LIONS [Up from 5]
Overall record: 5-3
Streak: Won 3
Next: vs. Saskatchewan

The Left Coast Leos came out blasting, went to sleep for 40 minutes and then turned it on again to run away with the game in Toronto. QB Kevin Glenn made his eighth start as the team slowly worked Travis Lulay, back from injury, in for a few plays here and there (no fun as the first four times Lulay touched the ball he was hammered). Glenn was OK, and he had an ace up his sleeve. Star running back Andrew Harris was out with injury so Stefan Logan (the other star) carried the whole load, hauling the ball a big 19 times for 145 yards. There was a sense of inevitability about this one, even when Argo QB Ricky Ray somehow got his club in front early in the fourth quarter. That light at the end of the tunnel for Toronto turned out to be the Tim Brown Express coming the other way as the returner went for 25 yards on the kickoff and then 70 on a later punt as part of a 249-yard total night. B.C. held Toronto to 229 yards in net offence. Lions are coming together nicely.
Overall record: 5-3
Streak: Lost 2
Next: vs. Montreal

After the Bombers were hammered by Toronto this week, Drew Willy was first to the interview area where he refused to accept the excuse that his club was on only four days rest. Impressive. With a number of key players injured (there were 11 names on the one game list this week), the Bombers came out fast and looked pretty good for 35 minutes before the Argos adjusted and took off. Willy threw two pretty touch-pass majors right in over receivers' shoulders, but the defence began to get in his face and that was it. Winnipeg, tiring, gave up five sacks and too many backfield incursions by guys in two-tone blue. They especially could not pick up Dwight Anderson, who got to Willy twice on DB blitzes. Newcomer Troy Stoudermire was a positive addition, running back kicks and punts for 273 total yards. Receiver Romby Bryant had a tough evening with a key fumble, a huge touchdown called back by a penalty and then having the snot knocked out of him on a hit by Toronto's Shea Emry. Bombers don't have the depth to handle a lot of injuries and are coming back to the field after a fast start.
Overall record: 3-5
Streak: Lost 1
Next: at Edmonton

You could tell by the look in the eyes of the offensive linemen in Toronto's room after they plastered Winnipeg on Tuesday that those big guys had a great time. And why not? If you're going to play an inside game on offence, as the Argos have to do with no healthy receivers, that means the O-Line has to block and the runners need to hit those holes. How does 174 yards on the ground grab you? Better than the Bomber defenders, apparently, because they had trouble grabbing anybody all evening. Then came Sunday, five days later, when the Lions let the Argos stay close despite cutting off the inside game and forcing Ricky Ray to go deep and to the outside. When the special teams collapsed and allowed Tim Brown to run wild, this was pretty much over. You could see the defence lagging in the fourth, starting to miss tackles badly. Every team has to go through it, as the Bombers did this week too, and every team is going to struggle with it, guaranteed. Two more receivers went down, one came back. Terrible luck.
Overall record: 1-6
Streak: Lost 3
Next: Bye

One stumble by Dan LeFevour has turned the Cats' quarterback situation from a possible controversy to a possible tragedy (the sporting kind, not the real kind). LeFevour had played well for injured starter Zach Collaros since Week 2, but he caught a cleat in the McMaster backyard football stadium and may be out for the year. There's no word on Collaros coming back from his concussion, so the Kitties have Jeremiah Masoli, fourth stringer Stephen McGee and whomever they can shake out of the bushes during the bye week. Hamilton did everything they could to pull off a win, including sending LB Erik Harris on a fly pattern for a major score in the first half. They were ahead in most of the offensive categories, but it didn't matter. The defence continues to have trouble containing on the corners, and they still can't tackle. Hard days for the Cats, who haven't played an actual home game since the fall of 2012.
Overall record: 1-6
Streak: Lost 4
Next: vs. Calgary

Yeah, the offence stunk the packed joint out against Edmonton, but let's talk about the defence. They had the RBs in a position to win on a night when they gave up a lot of yards and first downs, but came up with the big plays. They also had three sacks, two fumble recoveries (one on their own three) and a key pick. What a game for Canadian DB Antoine Pruneau, who had 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. The club also kept its penalties down to eight, though the two roughing the passer calls and one roughing flag in the second half were dumb. Now, take let's take the offence. Anywhere will do. QB Henry Burris was 18-for-28 and it could have been 24-for-28 if the receivers could hang onto the ball. And wouldn't you know it, the only fumble of the entire year came as Matt Carter coughed it up deep in Edmonton's zone on a drive that could have ended this one.
Overall record: 1-6
Streak: Lost 5
Next: at Winnipeg

Montreal came out trying to win rather than trying not to lose and it made a big difference in Saskatchewan. New starter Alex Brink (19 completions for 187 yards) took over from Troy Smith at the helm, and the Als were able to move the ball against a strong defence. Unfortunately, it was all on the wrong side of centre. There was, however, a sense of organization about the Larks this week. WR Duron Carter had a strong game, including a spectacular 123-yard missed field goal return. However, the mistakes continue to kill. RB Brandon Whitaker's fumble as the Als were heading for a score really hurt. And the "attack" came up with just three points of its own, again leading one to wonder if the defensive guys talk to the offensive guys during the week or if they're just too upset. Defence had three sacks, tackled nicely and played well all night. Note to the offence: If you'd stop yelling at each other you might be able to concentrate on scoring.

Follow Malcolm Kelly on Twitter @sportsnag

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