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109th Grey Cup Playoffs: Division Finals Recap

The Toronto Argonauts avenge their Eastern Final loss from last year, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers earn a chance at history

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 months ago 5 min read

I entered this year's Division Finals very excited. I always love the Grey Cup Playoffs, and I enjoy the Division Finals because it's that final step before the big game; similar to the Conference Championships in the NFL. But my main reason for my excitement comes from my Toronto Argonauts fandom. While this is the second straight year that the Eastern Final emanates from Toronto, I felt that this year would be different. Last year was disappointing. The Argonauts left too many points on the board, and it ended up costing them on their own home field. That loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats left me sour and angry, and even as the bracket was set, I had that feeling: "This year would be different."

Boy, was it!

Unlike last year, the Argos decided not to mess around in this year's go-around against the Montréal Alouettes, as their first drive ended with an Andrew Harris running touchdown in his first game back in action. The Als answered with a field goal, but afterwards, AJ Ouellette (the other half of the two-headed rushing monster) scored on a pass play, and just like that (and unlike the Argos' first two scoring drives from last year's Eastern Final), 14 points were scored. It was 14-3 Argos after one, and the Boatmen made it 21-3 at the start of the second quarter. The Alouettes would go on an 18-3 run during the remainder of the second and the beginning of the third quarter, but even though they wittled their deficit to three points, that would be as close as they would get. After trading field goals, Kurleigh Gittens, Jr found the end zone late in the fourth, and after Montréal's field goal, the Argos drove deep down the field to seal it. Final score: Argonauts 34, Alouettes 27.

The Toronto Argonauts are in the Grey Cup Game for the first time since winning the whole thing in 2017, and they did it with offense. It was a complete 180 from their loss in last year's Eastern Final, which immensely pleased this Argonauts fan. It was a dominant victory; Toronto never trailed in the game, and they weathered the Alouettes' brief storm in the second half to hold on. As for the Alouettes, this was an amazing season that saw them end up as one of the CFL's Final Four. As an overall CFL fan, I hope that the Als remain a strong team in the East Division. Unless the Ottawa Redblacks suddenly have a resurgence, Montréal should continue to be a force in the East.

The Western Final in Winnipeg, Manitoba was quite interesting; both the BC Lions and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers traded touchdowns early, but the Bombers missed their convert, BC didn't. So British Columbia had an early 7-6 lead, but the Bombers regained the lead with a field goal late in the first. It was all Bombers after that, as they outscored the Lions 10-1 in the second quarter, resulting in a 19-8 lead at the half. Sean Whyte's field goal made it a one score game, but the Bombers would find the end zone once again. However, after they missed the extra point, Terry Williams returned it 125 yards for the two-point convert, the very first such return in Grey Cup Playoff history. That only made it 25-13, and after a Bombers field goal, BC found the endzone late to make it 28-20, but their last gasp attempt in the final moments would not be successful. Final score: Blue Bombers 28, Lions 20.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in the Grey Cup Game for the third straight year, and similar to last year, it was a very dominant season. As for the BC Lions, this year was a vast improvement from missing the playoffs the year before. They went from that to nearly making things interesting in the Western Final. The Lions have a lot to be proud of, and if they play their cards right, they could give the Bombers fits in the West for years to come.

So the 109th Grey Cup is all set. The championship contest will take place in Regina, Saskatchewan, and will feature the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. This is the seventh Grey Cup meeting between the clubs, but the first since the 38th Grey Cup all the way in 1950. The Argos won all six of the previous meetings, and in the case of these participating teams, both are looking to make history. The Boatmen are looking to add to their Grey Cup lead, as they are going for their 18th overall trophy. As for the Bombers, they are looking to win their third straight Grey Cup; a feat that hasn't been accomplished since the then-named Edmonton Eskimos won five straight (66th-70th).

This is the Argos' first time playing the Grey Cup in a Western city since 1997 (85th in Edmonton), while Winnipeg's back-to-back championships took place in Calgary (107th) and Hamilton (108th). This is only the fourth time that Regina will host the Grey Cup, with the last time seeing their hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders capturing the trophy in 2013 (101st). The first Grey Cup to emanate from Regina was the historic 83rd game in 1995, which was won by the Baltimore Stallions--the only year that an American club won the Grey Cup. The 109th Grey Cup will take place on Sunday, November 20, and will air on TSN in Canada, and ESPN2 in the United States.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy

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