I was told in the comment section that I was too negative last week. I said that I will try to make this week's post more positive. I think I have accomplished that. It is not all positive (hard to be when one team loses 42-10), but this is generally an upbeat post. So having said all that here is "What I Learned... In Week 3."
(1)Drew Tate done for the year
It was really unfortunate to find out on Sunday that Drew Tate has opted for surgery and is likely out for the season. That mean's Calgary is now Kevin Glenn's team. Tate was playing very well for the Stampeders up until he got hurt and he was making my preseason prediction of his benching look pretty foolish. I have been a Drew Tate fan for a long time (going back to his days at Iowa) and I do think he has a bright future in the CFL. I hope this is the last time I have to write abotu Drew Tate and an injury. He has all the tools to be a big-time quarterback, he just needs to stay healthy.
(2) Home-field advantage means something this season
Interesting stat came out after the final games this week: home teams have won 11 of 12 games so far this season. The Tiger-Cats' loss to the Roughriders in Week 1 stands as the lone road victory so far in 2012. That's pretty amazing when you think of it. I will keep an eye on this trend and see how it holds up over the full season.
(3) Swagger is dead
The home-field advantage that I mentioned above might partially explain Winnipeg's ugly start. The Bombers have been exclusively on the road to start the season, and have one more road test before finally heading back to the friendly confines of CanadInns Stadium in Week 5. But it's not the only reason the Bombers have not looked sharp. Frankly, they just don't look like a good football team right now. If not for Steven Jyles' horrendous accuracy, they could have lost by a lot more than 32 points to the Eskimos. Aside from a few players, one I will touch on in the next point, this Winnipeg team has been as bad as any I've ever seen.
(4) Matthews is a stud
One bright spot for the Bombers and their fans is the play of receiver Chris Matthews. The rookie from Snoop Dogg's hometown of Long Beach, California has 350 yards and three touchdowns in three games so far. He looks like he is getting better every week. Matthews' emergence shows that Bomber GM Joe Mack was right to let Greg Carr leave via free agency. It's hard not to like the way Matthews has played so far this season and he is definitely an early contender for top rookie.
(5) Nik Lewis' still got it
Even though he is the size a small house – 240 lbs for a receiver... really? – Nik Lewis continues to make plays. He now has a catch in 143 straight games, good for fourth all time. The man of many nicknames will get his ninth straight 1,000 yard season and surpass the 10,000-yard mark this year, and he has shown no signs of slowing down.
(6) Bratton shows his football IQ
Have to give a big hand to Alouette receiver Brian Bratton for his heads-up play against the Calgary Stampeders. Bratton fell to the ground to catch a pass, realized he wasn't touched and got back and scored a touchdown. It was a very heady play and turned out to be an important one in Montreal's one-point win over the Stamps.
(7) Sheritt's hit on Brink was boarderline at best
I understand where Bomber fans are coming from in calling it a dirty hit. I think it was a legal hit, but it darn sure was borderline. It was similar, but not the same, as the hit on Steven Jyles last season. TSN did a great job in highlighting the differences. If Sheritt gets suspended or fined, I wouldn't argue it.
(8) Could Chris Williams win MOP?
I know it is extremely early, but is Chris Williams the leader right now for MOP? His five total touchdowns have come through the air (two), on punt returns (two) and from a missed field goal return (one). He has epitomized the word "outstanding" and if he keeps it, he will be adding some more hardware to his trophy case.
(9) Argos need to rely on Cory Boyd
Despite the loss, Cory Boyd had the best game of his career. If the Argos are going to become a great team, not just a good one, they need to feature Boyd heavily. I know the acquired Ricky Ray to get the passing game going, but that offense should still try to run through Boyd as much as possible. He has his short comings as a back (basically, he's not that fast), but his punishing style will help the Argos wear down opponents, which will lead to better things for the offense.
(10) Refereeing left a lot to be desired
I think I did a pretty good job of being positive this week, but I will end with something negative: the officiating. I thought that the reffing this weekend was terrible. The clock problems in Montreal, the disqualification debacle in Edmonton and the inconsistent calls in Hamilton all cast a pall over what was a pretty good weekend of football. I try not to be too hard on the officials because I know they are not perfect, but there are some things that need to be corrected. Fans are quick to point out when players and coaches make mistakes, so refs should be under the same scrutiny. Probably the worst of the weekend was the stuff in Edmonton. They DQ'd four players, but got one of the numbers wrong for a Winnipeg player. They took a long time to try and sort out who did what and who deserved to be ejected and screwed it up. While it didn't have a significant impact on the game, it is still a screw-up that cannot be allowed to happen. For the most part I think refs do a pretty good job, but that doesn't mean they can't do a better job.