CFL Takeaways: Andrew Harris continues to dominate


Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris celebrates his touchdown during first half CFL football action against the Toronto Argonauts, in Toronto on Saturday, July 21, 2018. (Mark Blinch/CP)

The CFL is a QB’s league but we’ve seen some ugly QB lines this year and that trend continued in Week 6. And that’s why we saw an in-season blockbuster trade. The biggest news this week was about a QB who has yet to play a down as Johnny Manziel was traded to the Montreal Alouettes. Here are my takeaways from a week where defence and turnovers made the difference despite some big individual offensive performances.

Must read – Chris O’Leary recaps the brilliant career of Andy Fantuz and details how he’s ready for the next stage of his life.


Off the field

Owens rights released
The Edmonton Eskimos released Terrell Owens from their negotiation list despite him saying at the ESPY’s that he was interested in playing. The fact the Eskimos released Owens and didn’t trade his negotiation rights indicates his value across the league is low now that he’s eight years removed from playing in an NFL game.

NFL Window
The CFL has reinstated the NFL window, a provision that allows CFL players going into the final year of their contract to work out for NFL teams. If they didn’t stick down south their rights would revert back to their CFL team. The league got rid of the window in 2010 because they wanted to increase roster stability for fans and didn’t want to encourage players leaving the league.

The issue is that for every player the league lost because of it, they attracted 10 because the allure of having a chance to get back to the NFL attracted many players to come to the CFL in the first place. Previously signed players won’t be grandfathered in, this only impacts contracts that are signed after August 20. High profile players like James Wilder Jr. and Johnny Manziel will not be able to exercise this window during their current deals.


A classy gesture by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who are refunding money for those who bought a Johnny Manziel jersey.

Bye week – Edmonton

Saskatchewan 31 – Hamilton 20

Saskatchewan QB line – Brandon Bridge – 17-22, 165 yards, 1 TD

Hamilton QB line
– Jeremiah Masoli – 20-28, 184 yards, 1 interception


Masoli is now the man
With Johnny Manziel gone Jeremiah Masoli is the sole man in Hamilton, which will hopefully lift some of the pressure off of the 29-year-old. Masoli played well coming into Week 6, as he was in line to set a CFL record by passing for 300 yards in 10 straight games. Instead, he finished with 184 yards, an interception, and a fumble. Hamilton’s offence has struggled of late. They did not score in the final 21:42 this week and only had 263 yards in total offence.

In their two wins, they have 29 second-half points and they’ve only put up nine second-half points in the last two games. In their three losses, Hamilton has 12 second-half points. Masoli has thrown an interception in every game this year and has only thrown one TD pass in his last three games. With Manziel gone, Masoli has the reins and no excuse not to succeed as management has shown this is his team.

Fantuz farewell
This game was also an event because it recognized the official retirement of Andy Fantuz. Fantuz, 34, played 12 seasons with Saskatchewan and Hamilton, the two teams in action. He’s the only Canadian in CFL history to have 4,000 plus receiving yards with two different teams. His 637 catches rank him fourth all-time among Canadians. Fantuz’s accolades include being named Most Outstanding Canadian in 2010 and winning the 2007 Grey Cup with Saskatchewan after being named the third overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Ottawa 25 – B.C. 29

Ottawa QB line – Trevor Harris – 30-44, 363 yards, 1 TD

B.C. QB line – Travis Lulay – 19-32, 325 yards, 2 TDs


Terrific Trevor
Trevor Harris has thrown for 300 plus yards in 22 of his 47 career starts. That’s 46.7 per cent of his starts second only to Doug Flutie who did it 58.7 per cent of the time. Last week he threw for just 93 passing yards. This week, he surpassed that in the first quarter this week with 127 yards. Harris was clutch in this one, leading his team on the final drive with eight plays and 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

Toronto 20 – Winnipeg 38

Toronto QB line – James Franklin – 21-36, 151 yards, 1 interception

Winnipeg QB line – Matt Nichols – 19-27, 245 yards, 2 TDs


Harris does it all
Andrew Harris put up a career-best 161 yards rushing against Toronto. His previous high was 147, set in 2012. In fact, Harris had more total yards than the entire Toronto Argonauts‘ offence combined. Harris has scored four TDs in his last two games and seven this season. The reigning Most Outstanding Canadian has also now put up three straight 100-yard rushing games. It’s the first time he’s done that in his nine-season CFL career.

Harris moved past Jon Cornish for second among Canadian running backs with 6,878 rushing yards. He’s now only behind Normie Kwong who had 9,022 yards over 13-seasons with the Eskimos and Stampeders. Harris also leads the CFL with 610 rushing yards through six games, putting him on pace for a 1,830 rushing yards this season.

Calgary 25 – Montreal 8

Calgary QB line – Bo Levi Mitchell – 25-34, 292 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception

Montreal QB line – Matt Shiltz – 16-25, 160 yards, 2 interceptions


Bo bounces back
So much for Bo Levi Mitchell being injured and questionable to play. Mitchell was 5-for-5 on the opening drive versus Montreal and went on to complete his first 12 passes. He has at least one touchdown pass in each of his last eight games. With his efficient performance, Mitchell passed Doug Flutie for second on the Stampeders’ all-time passing list with 20,679 yards, only behind Henry Burris who had 32,191.

Speaking of Flutie, the Stampeders 5-0 start is their first since the Flutie era in 1995. That record has to be looked at with a grain of salt though as they have yet to play a Western division opponent.

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