Special Delivery; CFL Special Teams Roundup - Week 16
With 16 weeks of CFL football in the books, I'm shaking things up here at Between The Goalposts. This week you're getting 2 articles! In this edition, "Special Delivery," we'll be highlighting key plays from the latest week's games. Don't fret, the Special Team Power Rankings are still here for you. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the biggest CFL Special Teams plays in this week's review;
Mario Alford's Electrifying 107-yard Punt Return Touchdown;
The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a rough outing this week against the Ottawa REDBLACKs. It was a forgettable loss, but one player who stood out was Mario Alford. With just 01:50 left in the Fourth Quarter and the Riders trailing 36-14, Richie Leone punted a 42-yarder to the Roughrider 3-yard line. Alford fielded it cleanly and took off, making several REDBLACK defenders miss. He sprinted all the way to the Ottawa 45-yard line, where he encountered REDBLACK's safety net, Richie Leone. Unfortunately for Leone, his horsecollar tackle wasn't enough to bring Mario down, and he finished his glorious return by avoiding 2 more would-be tacklers for his third Punt Return Touchdown of the year!
Michael Domagala's Impressive Debut;
With Lewis Ward sidelined due to injury, the Ottawa REDBLACKs urgently needed a kicker, and they found one in Canadian Michael Domagala In his 2023 debut, Domagala showcased his skills, going 2/3 on field goals and a perfect 3/3 on PATs. While he missed a 44-yarder in the Third Quarter, he displayed precision and "clutch factor" with a crucial 42-yard field goal at the end of the First Half, giving Ottawa a 19-13 lead. Domagala's 9 points played a pivotal role in the REDBLACKs' victory over Saskatchewan, and his performance leaves us hopeful for more success in 2024.
BC Lions Block Another Punt;
Last week, the BC Lions blocked a punt against the Roughriders, and they repeated the feat in their win over the Edmonton Elks this week. Josh Archibald, #94, was unblocked and charged at Punter Jake Julien, who had no chance of getting the punt off. BC recovered the blocked punt and sealed the game with a 37-29 win. The Lions continue to lead the CFL with an impressive 4 blocked punts this season.
Korsak's Onside Kick Attempt;
Facing a 16-point deficit in the Fourth Quarter and fresh off Mario Alford's 107-yard punt return touchdown, the Saskatchewan Roughriders attempted an onside kick with a twist. They opted for trickery, faking a Brett Lauther attempt and giving Adam Korsak a shot at his first-ever kickoff. The kick wasn't the prettiest, but it found its target, hitting Ottawa's #58 in the calf and becoming a live ball. Korsak displayed quick thinking and courage as he chased down and recovered the ball, giving his team another shot at victory.
As always, there were plenty more highlights than I could mention in this article. Here are my Honourable Mentions for this week;
The Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats Coverage Units excelled in containing Javon Leake and Tyreik McAllister, two of the CFL's top returners, averaging less than 5.6 yards per return on 12 attempts.
Punters Joseph Zema (MTL) and Cody Grace (CGY) both notched a Rouge on back-to-back drives.
Boris Bede had an exceptional night punting the football, averaging 47.4 yards with a net of 37 yards per punt across 8 attempts. He consistently pinned his opponents deep, with 3 punts inside the 20-yard line and 2 inside the 10-yard line.
Thank you for taking the time to read my work.
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