CFL Weekly Blitz

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

The CFL is supposed to be passing league but the statistics don't prove that a month into the 2007 season.

The B.C. Lions are perfect with a 4-0 record but are last in passing yards with 814, a full 95 behind the winless Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

How are the Lions getting it done? Their defence has held opponents to 13.3 points per game and have a CFL-best 16 takeaways. They also have a solid rushing game led by Joe Smith. But they are beat up at QB with Dave Dickenson out with a concussion and Buck Pierce nursing a bruised throwing hand and banged up ribs.

However, sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story about the Canadian version of football and this week there were a few more examples.

Winnipeg's Kevin Glenn and Montreal's Anthony Calvillo combined for an 87% completion percentage but neither team scored an offensive touchdown until late in the third quarter.

Saskatchewan's Kerry Joseph was only 16-of-32 passing against the Eskimos but his receivers let him down, dropping at least a half-dozen catchable balls, plus he threw another four or so away.

The Stampeders had four long plays -- a 66-yard catch by Jeremaine Copeland, a 70-yarder by Marc Boerigter, a 39-yarder by Brett Ralph and a 39-yard fake field goal by Trey Young -- that made up 46% of their offence.

OPENING DRIVE

Things sound like they're getting nasty in Riderville, as GM Eric Tillman replied to a fan's criticism on the message board with a 570-word rant. The voice of the Roughriders, Rod Pedersen, posted Tillman's reply on his blog and the response is getting mixed reviews on the 'Riders fan site ... Ashlan Davis made a nice season debut, showing great ability on a one-handed grab for the Alouettes before getting his first CFL touchdown. The Als are going to need more playmakers than just Ben Cahoon, who leads the league with 41 receptions. The outstanding Canadian is on pace for 184.5 receptions this season, which would shatter Derrell Mitchell's amazing record of 160 from 1998 ... Speaking of Mitchell, his next catch, unless it's for minus yards, will put him past Paul Masotti for the Toronto franchise record ... Give full marks to Sean Fleming for kicking a 47-yarder that put the Eskimos over the 'Riders. It was an impressive kick seeing as how Saskatchewan's Luca Congi hit the upright on a 14-yard try to end the first half. What is it about 'Rider kickers missing from that length from the left hash? ... The Argos have signed RB Dominique Dorsey and WR Rashaun Woods.

ENDZONE TOSS

Maybe it's because the name Diamond Ferri could pass for a WWE handle that the Alouettes lineman decided to suplex Winnipeg's Charles Roberts. For some reason, Saskatchewan's Reggie Hunt tried the same thing to Kamau Peterson a day later. Both were hit with unnecessary roughness calls ... You won't see a harder hit in the CFL than the one JoJuan Armour laid on Jason Clermont. How tough is Clermont? He went a full play before admitting he needed to grab a breather after Armour drilled him with a clean shoulder. Armour turned around a couple of plays later and make a great tackle on Clermont to stop him from getting a first down, just to rub things in. With Armour and Zeke Moreno, the Ticats have the basis for a strong defence ... Nik Lewis celebrated with teammates after they beat the Argos but don't expect him to be a healthy scratch for long. If the Stamps keep Lewis on the bench, expect someone in the East Division to make a successful trade pitch ... Amazingly, Roberts just needs 429 more yards to become the leading rusher in Bombers history, which at his rate should be hit before the bye ... Betting men shouldn't take the 'Riders to win in Edmonton or vice versa. The Eskimos haven't lost to Saskatchewan at home since 2000, and this week came back from a 19-point deficit. The Eskimos have won once in Regina since 2002 ... The answer is Obed Cetoute. The question is: What is the coolest name of anyone to catch their first CFL touchdown this season.

EXTRA POINTS

As expected, the balance of power this season is in the West Division. Through four weeks of games, the West has a 6-1-1 record against the East Division teams. The only loss was Calgary's blowout in Toronto on the back half of a two-games-in-five-day road trip ... If the playoffs started today, Calgary would play in Toronto ... When Alondra Johnson and Terry Vaughn signed one-day contracts with the Stamps and officially retired, the biggest question was 'Why didn't Vaughn want to retire as an Eskimo?' There are several theories, including that Calgary was the only team that didn't cut him, but the man known for YAC said there was a simple answer. "I never thought I should have left," said Vaughn, who got into a contract dispute with GM-head coach Wally Buono. "Me and Wally joke now about how he thinks letting me go was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made."

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QUOTABLE

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

My legs went numb, but everything's good ... I don't know what happened."

Lions RB Joe Smith

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GO FIGURE

PLAYIN' THE NUMBERS GAME

224

Total yards for Hamilton RB Jesse Lumsden in loss to the Lions, including a 66-yard run and a 44-yard catch.

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THREE STARS

WEEK'S TOP PERFORMERS

1. Winnipeg RB Charles Roberts -- Had 162 yards from scrimmage in win over Montreal.

2. Eskimos DT Robert Brown -- Scored a TD as a tight end and recorded a sack.

3. Stamps SB Jeremaine Copeland -- Main target in win over Argos.

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RANKINGS

(WITH PREVIOUS WEEK IN BRACKETS)

1. (1) B.C. Lions -- Still unbeaten but quite beat up.

2. (5) Winnipeg -- Starting to get healthier with the soft part of the schedule ahead.

3. (4) Edmonton -- Character comeback over 'Riders.

4. (2) Saskatchewan -- Little mistakes blew 19-point lead.

5. (7) Calgary -- Big plays on offence connected but Argos were depleted in rematch.

6. (3) Toronto -- Argos will struggle without top QB and two best receivers.

7. (6) Montreal -- Red-zone offence couldn't pound through Bombers defence.

8. (8) Hamilton -- Jesse Lumsden is for real.

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CRYSTAL BALL

OUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

Montreal at Toronto -- Return of Arland Bruce helps Damon Allen. Argos by 3.

Hamilton at Winnipeg -- Stegall finally gets record at home. Bombers by 4.

Edmonton at Saskat-chewan -- Home-field advantage gets 'Riders on track. 'Riders by 3.

B.C. at Calgary -- Stamps jump on hurting Lions. Calgary by 3.


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