There’s something about facing the Toronto Argonauts that brings out the best in Bralon Addison.
The five-foot-nine, 197-pound sophomore receiver had 11 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns while rushing five times for 23 yards in Hamilton’s 38-27 home win over Toronto on Monday afternoon. That’s after Addison recorded six receptions for 107 yards and three TDs in the Tiger-Cats 64-14 road victory over the Argos on June 22.
All of Addison’s touchdown catches this season have come against Toronto. And while Addison is averaging 11.2 yards per reception in 2019 (740 yards on league-high 66 catches), he’s up to 16.1 yards per catch versus the Argos.
“I don’t think it’s them, I think it was just my day today,” Addison said. “It’s a credit to the guys in the front office, they do a great job of getting guys here who can make plays.
“Tommy (offensive co-ordinator Tommy Condell) and his staff do a good job of getting Dane (quarterback Dane Evans) prepared and Dane dishes it up and we just try to make plays for him. I do whatever I can to help this team win. I like to win so whatever they ask of me I’ll do it and that’s the consensus around the locker room.”
Addison gives Hamilton a potent 1-2 receiving tandem with star Brandon Banks (65 catches, CFL-high 862 yards, five TDs). And with veteran slotback Luke Tasker injured, rookie Jaelon Acklin has certainly stepped up with 33 catches for 463 yards and two touchdowns.
“All-pro performance, he’s that guy,” Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer said of Addison. “Sitting here talking about individual things would just take away from the other things he did great.
“Everybody is going to shine at different times and Bralon has shown he can do that time and time again. Outstanding game, All-Pro performance is all I can say.”
But it will be a while before Hamilton fans see Addison back in action at Tim Hortons Field. The East Division-leading Ticats (9-2) are on a bye week, then play in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg before returning home to face the Eskimos on Oct. 4.
BIGGER CROWDS: It was a successful Labour Day weekend at the turnstiles for the CFL.
The league’s contests in Regina and Hamilton were both sellouts while over 30,000 spectators took in the Calgary Stampeders-Edmonton Eskimos game Monday at McMahon Stadium.
And that’s significant given the CFL’s average attendance heading into the Labour Day contests was 22,784. Following the three weekend games, that’s increased to 23,272.
At Regina, a Mosaic Stadium gathering of 33,356 watched Saskatchewan edge Winnipeg 19-17 on Brett Lauther’s 26-yard field goal on the game’s final play Sunday. That moved the Roughriders (7-3) to within two points of the first-place Blue Bombers (8-3) in the West Division.
On Monday, 25,093 fans jammed into Tim Hortons Field as Hamilton (9-2) outscored Toronto 27-3 in the second half en route to a 38-27 victory. The attendance was a Ticats record at the venue as the Argos (1-9) remain winless there on Labour Day (0-6) since it opened in 2014.
Then at McMahon Stadium, 32,350 spectators watched Bo Levi Mitchell’s triumphant return in Calgary’s 25-9 home victory over Edmonton. Last year’s league and Grey Cup MVP threw for 263 yards and a TD in his first action since suffering a pectoral muscle in the third week of the season.
Mitchell got plenty of help, though. Ka’Deem Carey ran for a game-high 143 yards on 16 carries (8.9-yard average) while Reggie Begelton had 10 catches for 138 yards and a TD for Calgary.
BETHEL-THOMPSON RISING: The Toronto Argonauts continue to struggle but starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson is rising up the CFL passing ranks.
Bethel-Thompson stands second among CFL quarterbacks with 2,593 yards. Edmonton’s Trevor Harris is tops with 3,697 yards.
But Bethel-Thompson has a league-high 16 TD passes after throwing two in Toronto’s 38-27 Labour Day loss to Hamilton on Monday. Bethel-Thompson finished 22-of-42 passing for 337 yards and no interceptions against the Ticats.
Bethel-Thompson has thrown for 300 or more yards in six of his eight starts and hasn’t surrendered an interception in 178 pass attempts. However Bethel-Thompson’s record as a starter dropped to 1-7 this year and 3-13 overall.
He’s also 0-3 versus Hamilton.
COACHING RECORDS: The Calgary Stampeders continue to be a thorn in the side of Edmonton head coach Jason Maas.
Maas’ record against Calgary (6-4) fell to 2-7 with the Stampeders’ 25-9 home win over Edmonton (6-5) on Monday. The defending Grey Cup champions moved into a third-place tie with the Eskimos in the West Division with a game in hand.
But as tough as the Stampeders have been on Maas, they’ve been even harder on Edmonton starter Trevor Harris. His head-to-head record against Calgary is 0-8-2.
By comparison, Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson improved to 7-2 versus Edmonton while starter Bo Levi Mitchell notched his 11th win in 15 career matchups against the Eskimos. The two teams square off again Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
STILL LEADING: When Andrew Harris completes his drug-related suspension, he could return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ lineup in the same position he was when he left: As the CFL’s rushing leader.
Harris received a two-game ban from the league last month after violating its drug policy. That meant he’d miss Winnipeg’s home-and-home series with Saskatchewan, not exactly bad news for the Riders with Harris having run for a CFL-high 908 yards and averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Harris won’t play Saturday when Winnipeg (8-3) hosts Saskatchewan (7-3) after the Riders won Sunday 19-17 in Regina. But he remains atop the CFL rushing race, 153 yards ahead of Edmonton’s C.J. Gable.
Gable ran for 35 yards on 10 carries in the Eskimos’ 25-9 Labour Day loss to Calgary, with the two teams slated to meet again Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Both Edmonton and Winnipeg have bye weeks following their respective weekend games.
Harris will be eligible to resume playing for Winnipeg on Sept. 21 in Montreal. The 32-year-old Winnipeg native, the CFL’s top Canadian in 2017, is chasing a third straight league rushing title.