By Luke Vermeer
Home cooking proved effective Sunday as the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders won on home soil to advance to their respective division finals.
Toronto rolled past Edmonton Eskimos, who were plagued by sub-par quarterbacking.
Toronto only trailed once in the game, falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter before posting a CFL record 31 points in the second quarter and coasting to victory after that.
Sean Fitz-Gerald is a National Post columnist, and said the problems for the Eskimos started from the beginning of the game.
“The primary concern is the quarterback they started [Kerry Joseph] is awful, and has been awful for a long time,” Fitz-Gerald told Humber News.
“He certainly has skill, he’s a smart guy, he just can’t put it together. He was something like 4 of 12 for 64 yards at halftime and in the Canadian Football League, even with improved defenses, that’s just not good enough.”
Edmonton replaced Joseph with backup quarterback Matt Nichols at halftime, but Nichols was hit by Argonauts defensive end Ronald Flemons with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, dislocating his ankle, effectively ending hopes of an Edmonton comeback.
In Calgary, the Stampeders and Roughriders came down the wire.
Roughriders receiver Greg Carr caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left to give the Riders a 1 point lead, but Calgary quarterback Drew Tate tossed a 68-yard touchdown to Romby Bryant with 20 seconds left on the clock to win the game for the Stampeders.
Despite late game heroics, concerns swirl around Tate after he was hit hard by Roughrider defensive tackle Tearrius George early in the second quarter.
Tate appeared to be hurt but stayed in the game. However, at halftime, Tate told TSN he did not remember the first half, sparking concerns he may be concussed.
Al Cameron, a reporter for the Calgary Herald, said the team maintains it followed procedure.
“I’m told by the team they followed the proper protocols after the hit, at halftime and after the game and they plan on following through today,” Cameron told Humber News. “With head injuries you’ve got to treat them with kid gloves.”
Andrew Bucholtz, editor of Yahoo’s 55 Yard Line CFL blog, is not as confident that Tate should have been left in the game.
“I’m a little surprised that he was left in the game, especially after that sideline interview where he admitted that he didn’t remember the first half. If he was serious, and it sounds like he was from his post game comments, that’s a little concerning,” Bucholtz told Humber News.
“Tate obviously played well, he obviously had a great game but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t concussed and that it’s not going to be a problem for him down the road.”
Toronto defensive tackle Adriano Belli told Humber News he was happy with the team’s performance and said the fans’ passion drives the team.
“Amazing going to war in front of the true Argo fans. We welcome even the fair weathered ones that are yet to jump on board. We can use all the support,” Belli said.
For both teams, the win means they will move on to their divisional finals.
Toronto will be heading to Montreal to take on the Alouettes, where they hope to book a spot in the Grey Cup on their home field. Calgary will be visiting British Columbia, where the Lions hope to continue their quest to defend the Grey Cup.