Week 2 welcomes the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who had a bye last week, to the party.
And we do mean party, because this weekend will feature #Canada150 celebrations across the league and the grand opening of the new Mosaic Stadium in Saskatchewan, where the Roughriders will host the Bombers.
Canada Day weekend starts early when the Calgary Stampeders host the Ottawa REDBLACKS tonight at 9 pm ET. It’s a rematch following their thrilling overtime tie in Ottawa last week, which was, of course, a rematch of last year’s 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
Friday Night Football features a double header: at 7 pm ET, the Toronto Argonauts look to build on the home field momentum they grabbed with last week’s opening win when the BC Lions, hoping to bounce back from a narrow loss in their first game, come to BMO Field. At 10 pm, the Montreal Alouettes visit the Edmonton Eskimos in a clash of two more teams hoping to remain unbeaten.
Saturday July 1st brings Canada Day and that big game between rivals in the incredible new venue that is Mosaic Stadium. With kickoff set for 9 pm ET, you can wave the flag all day and still get home in plenty of time to point the remote at TSN, if you’re not lucky enough to be in Regina to celebrate an historic moment for Rider Nation.
- Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray had an astounding Week 1, completing 32 passes for 506 yards in the second 500-yard game of his career.
- Ray became the first Argonaut to pass for multiple 500-yard games.
- In his 12th 400+-yard game, Ray passed 55,000 career yards, becoming just the fourth quarterback in CFL history to do so, joining Anthony Calvillo (79,816), Damon Allen (72,381), and Henry Burris (63,639).
- Ray is just three touchdowns away from becoming the sixth QB in CFL history to throw for 300 career touchdowns. The 300 TD club currently includes Anthony Calvillo (455), Damon Allen (394), Henry Burris (373), Ron Lancaster (333) and Matt Dunigan (303).
- In his 15th year in the CFL, Ray completed five passes for 30+ yards and completed 78% of his passes, including a 79-yard major to teammate DeVier Posey.
- With his five receptions in Week 1, Montreal Alouette Nik Lewis now has 982 career receptions, just 47 short of tying Canadian Football Hall of Famer Geroy Simon for the all-time CFL lead in receptions (1,029).
- Only three receivers all-time have reached the 1,000-reception club: Geroy Simon (1,029), Ben Cahoon (1,017) and Terry Vaughn (1,006).
- After securing 60 receiving yards in the opening game, Lewis now has 13,189 career yards. He only needs 10 yards to surpass Ray Elgaard (13,198) for seventh all-time and is 113 yards away from surpassing Ben Cahoon (13,301) for sixth all-time.
- Lewis, who is entering his 14th season in the CFL, recorded 102 receptions, 1,136 yards and three touchdowns in 2016.
EYE TO EYE FOR A TIE
- The Ottawa REDBLACKS and Calgary Stampeders’ highly-anticipated Grey Cup rematch in Week 1 ended in a 31-31 stalemate after overtime.
- This was the 101st tie in Canadian Football history, dating back over 110 years to 1907.
- The Stampeders and the REDBLACKS have historically been tightly-matched: they also tied each other in Week 3 of the 2016 season, 26-26.
- Before the tie in 2016, the most recent tie in the CFL was in 2009 when Calgary and Saskatchewan finished at 44-all on October 17th at McMahon Stadium.
- There have now been just three ties since 2008 in over 600 games.
- The 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw – featuring the Stampeders and REDBLACKS – was also tied at the end of the fourth quarter, 33-33. The REDBLACKS won in overtime, winning 39-33 on an Ernest Jackson touchdown.
- The Toronto Argonauts have the most ties in CFL history with 26.
- Friday’s tie was the 21st in Stampeders history and the 19th for all Ottawa clubs.
THREE MINUTE DRILL
- The first three games in Week 1 had a cumulative margin of victory of four points, one of the most competitive starts ever to a CFL season.
- The closest first three games of each season by combined margin of victory and point differential (plus the three individual game margins):
- 2017: 4 (1, 0, 3)
- 1990: 8 (5, 3, 0)
- 2007: 11 (2, 0 , 9)
- 1998: 12 (3, 1, 8)
- 1997: 12 (1. 1, 10)
- Kickers were vitally important in Week 1, with the first three games coming down to a final play by the kicker.
- The fourth game, Toronto vs Hamilton, also featured crucial plays by the kicker, with Lirim Hajrullahu making five field goals and accounting for 18 of the Argos’ 32 points.
- Penalties in Week 1 were down 6.2% from 2016 and 25% from 2015.
- In his first game in the CFL, Hamilton’s Will Hill became the first CFL player with two blocks in a single game since Donnavan Carter on October 26th, 2002. This feat has now been achieved 10 times in CFL history.
- Stampeder Charleston Hughes, in his 10th season in the CFL, could break Will Johnson’s Stampeders franchise record of 99 career sacks. Hughes currently has 88, and notched 16 sacks in 2016.
- The Argos had three receivers eclipse the 100-receiving yard mark in the game versus Hamilton: DeVier Posey (147), SJ Green (124) and Jeff Fuller (104). It was the first time that Toronto has had three 100+ receivers in one game since June 27, 1997 (Michael Clemons 137, Paul Masotti 106 and Derrell Mitchell 103). Doug Flutie threw for 438 yards and four TDs that day – also, coincidentally, on Toronto’s first game of the season in 1997. Sunday’s game was Ricky Ray’s second career game with three 100-yard receivers.
- Edmonton’s Brandon Zylstra recorded the most receiving yards in Week 1 with 152 yards on seven receptions.
- At the old Mosaic Stadium, the Riders played 611 games and had a record of 329-269-13.