It is incredible to me that we are already done with Week 4. I will say this at least three more times this season (minimum), but it feels like yesterday that I took in Tiger-Cat training camp for the first time. Now we're almost down the first month of the season. Incredible. Anyway, here are the "10 Things I Learned..."
(1) Khalif Mitchell crossed the line
By now we've all had a chance to see Khalif Mitchell's attempt to rip Simeon Rottier's arm off during Friday night's game. It was a despicable act and complete indefensible. Those types of actions have no place in the game. Football is violent enough without having to worry about goons like Mitchell tearing your arm out. The CFL suspended Mitchell for two games; that is the equivalent of 18 games in MLB, and nine in the NHL and NBA. Before I did the math, I thought the two games was too low. But not one player was suspended for nine games in the NHL last season, so two games now seems like fair and reasonable number.
(2) Home-field advantage is getting ridiculous
Another week where the home teams won more than they lost. Only the BC Lions lost as the hosts, joining the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as the only two teams to drop games at home. For those keeping track, home teams have won 14 of the 16 games played. Never has home-field advantage meant so much.
(3) A stunning stat about the Bombers
We all know about Winnipeg's 0-4 start, but an even more surprising stat is the fact that Winnipeg didn't take their first lead of the season until 1:36 left in the second quarter of their Week 4 game against the Toronto Argonauts. That streak lasted over 208 minutes and explains why the Bombers have yet to win a game this season.
(4) I really like Chad Simpson
While it wasn't an Earth-shattering performance, I liked what I saw out of new Bomber running back Chad Simpson. He finished the game with 122 total yards – 91 rushing and 31 receiving – and gave the Bombers a spark. He was clearly still working himself into shape, and looked tired at some points later in the game, but Simpson could looks to be poised for a very good season.
(5) Calgary's comeback win was one for the ages
I'm not a fan of those "No Lead is Safe" ads because, honestly, some leads are safe. But on Thursday night, one lead was not safe. The Calgary Stampeders, led by former Tiger-Cat Kevin Glenn, came back from 17 points down with about fives minutes left to stun the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The game ended up going to overtime, where Glenn connected with Nik Lewis for the winning score. It was a game I missed live (I love the CFL, but The Dark Knight Rises only screens at midnight once), but got to see thanks to TSN's website. It was a game for the ages and is the front runner for best game of the year.
(6) Andrew Harris is on course to be 2012's top Canadian
If things keep going the way they are, Andrew Harris will be the runaway winner of the Most Outstanding Canadian award this year. Harris has been magnificent all season and picked up another 65 yards on the ground and 120 through the air. He is currently on pace for 1,776 rushing yards and 1,440 receiving yards. I doubt he'll finish the season with those types of numbers, but if he becomes the first 1,000-1,000 man in CFL history, he'll be a shoe-in for the top Canadian award and might even be the league's top player, period. On a team filled with offensive talent, none have been bigger and better than Harris.
(7) Edmonton's defense has the look of an all-time great unit
While their offense still leaves a lot to be desired, the 3-1 Edmonton Eskimos have what could turn out to be one of the best defenses in CFL history. After four weeks, the most points the Eskies have allowed in a game is 17. They have given up just 56 points on the season. They are 3-1 for a reason and that reason is their defense.
(8) Montreal's defense has the look of an all-time terrible unit
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Montreal Alouette defense. This unit is just terrible. The least amount of points they have surrendered is 30, and they have already given up a whopping 139 points. When you watch them play, they don't look like they can stop anyone. This defense could end up going down as one of the worst in the history of the CFL.
(9) Punt placement should be challengeable
I understand not wanting to bog down the game with endless challenges, put ball placement is always something I thought should be reviewable. In the Hamilton-Montreal game, Sean Whyte landed a punt on the two-yard line, but after seeing a replay, it looked pretty clear that the ball went out of bounds after crossing the goal line. It should have been one point for the Als and the ball at the 35-yard line for the Ti-Cats. While the incorrect call by the refs had no serious repercussions, it could in the future.
(10) My guesses for Players of the Week
So, I've decided to add this as my permanent No. 10 spot. I don't make game predictions anymore, so I need to do something that allows people to call me a moron. So each week I will take a guess at who the Players of the Week will be.
Offensive player came down to two: Kevin Glenn and Henry Burris. Glenn orchestrated that amazing comeback and put up great numbers, while Burris completed 90 per cent of his passes. I'm going to pick Burris.
Defensive player is a no-brainer. Joe Burnett of the Edmonton Eskimos intercepted two passes and ran one back over 100 yards for a touchdown. No doubt he wins it.
Canadian player came down to Andrew Harris and Andy Fantuz. Fantuz had his best game as a Tiger-Cat, hauling in eight passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. I already outlined what Harris did above, and despite another great outing by him, I think this goes to Fantuz.
Special teams player was tough because no one really stood out. Chris Williams would have been a lock had he not gotten a little too cocky, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say the award will go to Winnipeg's Justin Palardy. Palardy hit all five of his field goal attempts and was a main reason why the Bombers nearly notched their first 'W' of the season.