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The East was expected to belong to the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes and it did. Hamilton was expected to provide a bit of a stiffer test for the Als in 2010, but they got off to a slow start and they ended up a .500 team at 9-9 and their season ended abruptly in a loss in the East Semi-Final to Toronto. To call the Argos a great team or even a good team might be stretching things a bit, but they were definitely an improved team. Perhaps satisfactory might be the best word to describe the Argos and their first year CFL Quarterback Lemon. Lemon wasn't outstanding, but he did do a competent job and got the Argos into the playoffs and an upset over Hamilton before losing to Montreal in the East final. The real story on offence for the Argonauts was rookie running back Cory Boyd who finished second in the league behind Fred Wreid of Winnipeg in rushing with 1359 yards, and often carried the Argo offence on his back. It was a more peaceful year in Winnipeg, but not much more successful. The Bombers started off well and Pearce looked like a possible MOP until he got hurt and then the Bombers floundered until settling on Steven Jyles as their quarterback. The Bombers lost a lot of close games, but they were still losses and they once again ended up out of the playoffs.
In the West, the division was very much split into two. The Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders dueled for first place for much of the year, while Edmonton and BC fought it out for last place through the first half of the season. The Riders faltered down the stretch and Calgary took first. BC and Edmonton after horrible starts both improved tremendously in the second halfm byt ut was the Lions who made it through into the playoffs. Calgary QB Henry Burris won the Most Outstanding Player award and JOffrey Reynolds was once again the top rusher in the West to lead the Stampeder offence. Their defence was led by two outstanding, if somewhat overly flamboyent cornerbacks in Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson. For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant proved he was indeed a #1 QB though a few too many interceptions in the second half of the season helped Calgary go past them into first. Slot back Andy Fantuz had a season without injury that saw him breakout and lead the league in receiving yards, the first Canadian to do so in many years. The Rider defence was questionable at times, partly due to the loss of defensive ends John Chick, the Outstanding Defensive Player in 2009, and Stevie Baggs to the NFL. Baggs would return to the CFL later in the season, but with Hamilton. The Lions had the most new palayers in theri line-up and that helped account for thei rslow start, but as the season progressed, many of those young players showed dramatic improvement and that promises big things for the Lions in 2011. The biggest surprise might have been the emergance of Travis Lulay as the #1 QB with the departure of Pierce to Winnipeg and the lack of success by Casey Printers. A temper tantrum by Printrers with one of his receivers during a game saw the exit of the former Most Outstanding Player. The Eskimos, like BC, were brutal in the first half, but much improved in the second half of the season.
If 2009 had been the year of hte running back, 2010 was the year of the kick returner with plenty of long kick returns for touchdowns. The two most outstanding in a strong field were players who swtiched teams just before the season started. Chad Owens was let go by the Montreal Alouettes and picked up by the Toronto Argonauts where gave an average offence a spark with his returns for touchdowns and good field positoin. Marcus Thigpen was picked up by Hamilton from Saskatchewan when the Riders elected to go with veteran Wes Cates at runnning back. Thigpen became the first player in CFL history to score touchdowns in five different ways in a single season. Thigpent returned a kickoff for a TD, a punt for a TD, a missed fieldgoal for a TD, rushed for a TD and caught a pass for a TD. Honorable mention for outstanding kick returner also has to go to Yonus Davis of BC as the backup running back played a big role in the Lion's resurgance in the second half of the season.
In the playoffs, Toronto upset Hamilton in the East Semi-Final thanks to a last minute interception when it looked like Hamilton was in a position to at least tie the game and send it to OT. There was to be no Cinderella story for the Argos, however, in the East final as they were crushed by the defending champion Alouettes. Out West, the resurgant Lions took Saskatchewant into overtime before bowing out, and setting up a Rider-Stampeder show down in Calgary. Durant and the Riders prevailed in a hard fought game in brutally cold weather to trigger a rematch of the 2009 Grey Cup. Unfortunately for the Riders, the end result was the same, if not quite a heart breaking as the last play loss for too many men on the field had been in 2009. The Montreal defence shut down Durant for most of the game and snuffed out Rider hopes with an interception in the last minute as the Riders tried to drive down the field.