SOME RECORDS ARE MADE …
Toronto Argonauts kick returner and wide receiver Chad Owens was shy when he talked about it, but his head coach shouted loud enough so everyone could hear. “[Owens] has done something no man in pro football history has ever done!,” Jim Barker said with a big smile. Before Friday night’s 31-24 loss to Edmonton, Owens needed 119 combined yards to become the first player in professional football history to accumulate 3,000 all-purpose yards in back-to-back seasons. The 29-year-old set the mark after a 36-yard punt return in the second quarter. The Argos designed a bright, video game cover logo — OWENS3K — in the hopes the record is the only thing fans remember after a terrible season.
… SOME WILL BE BROKEN
Lions wide receiver Geroy Simon is closing in on the league’s all-time receiving record. The 36-year-old Simon caught a 25-yard pass from Travis Lulay in the first quarter Saturday night in Hamilton to pass former Stampeders great Allen Pitts for second in career receiving yards. Simon, a 13-year veteran import, now has 14,927 yards, 226 yards away from Milt Stegall’s mark (15,153). Tiger-Cats kicker Justin Medlock also nearly tied the CFL record for field goals in a game (eight), but had to settle for a season-high seven in Hamilton’s 42-10 win.
SOMETHING FROM NOTHING
In the end the hole was too deep, but the Toronto Argonauts almost miraculous comeback in the fourth quarter Friday against Edmonton was an encouraging sign quarterback Steven Jyles is straightening his shoulders under centre. Helped by a clever onside kick, the Argos scored 21 unanswered points in the final six minutes with Jyles making good throws to receivers Jeremaine Copeland, Mike Bradwell, Brandon Rideau and running back Jeff Johnson. That stubborn performance was needed after rumours surfaced this week the Argos might want to acquire disgruntled Calgary quarterback Henry Burris in the off-season. “I thought [Jyles] played well pretty much the whole game,” Toronto head coach Jim Barker said. “He was engineering the offence.”
A NASTY END TO THE LIONS’ STREAK
After weeks of injuries and inconsistent play, Hamilton linebacker Rey Williams was pleased with his team’s domination of the B.C. Lions, who came to Ivor Wynne Stadium riding an eight-game winning streak. Hamilton’s defence did not just punish B.C. quarterback Travis Lulay, Williams said his teammates were “nasty.” “We haven’t been nasty all year but guys are buying in,” the fourth-year import said. “Guys are learning the defence and seeing what [defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin] wants to do.” Lulay, whose ability to scramble has lifted B.C. up the West Division standings, was harassed all night. “That was the emphasis all week, keep [Lulay] in the pocket and if he runs we have to get to him,” said Williams, who had a game-high six tackles and one sack.
A SMILE CAN QUICKLY BECOME A BITE
Suddenly the backup, Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris wanted to remind the media he was still in the locker room Friday after new starter Drew Tate led Calgary to a 25-13 win over lowly Saskatchewan. “I’m not done. I’m not done,” Burris said. Tate played well in his first start, throwing for 251 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown. But Burris, who was benched for the second half last week against Toronto, still does not understand why he is not starting. “I’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks throw two interceptions. There’s been games where I’ve had three interceptions and came back with great games. I don’t know what it is.” Burris told the Calgary Herald. The 36 year-old, fourth in the CFL with 3,687 passing yards, still believes he will guide Calgary in the playoffs. “The bottom line for me is that I still believe in myself,” Burris said. “I’m a guy who plays to win championships. I helped this team get into the playoffs before this all happened.”
THE RETURN OF SWAGGERVILLE
If the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win the 99th Grey Cup, players will probably talk about Saturday’s 16-point, fourth-quarter comeback against the Montreal Alouettes when asked to pick a defining moment of their season. With two wins in their previous five, the Bombers championship credentials had taken a hit in October. But when, midway through the final period, linebacker Merrill Johnson tipped Anthony Cavillo’s pass into the arms of defensive back Jonathan Hefney, noise shook Canad Inns Stadium. It was the Montreal quarterback’s third interception of the day. Running back Chris Garrett ran in two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute, to send Winnipeg back to the top of the East Division. “When all the odds are against us, and everyone’s turning their backs on us and jumping off the Swaggerville bandwagon and everything, then it’s just us — just as it’s been all season, defensive end Kenny Mainor told the Winnipeg Free Press. “And then we come out and fight.”