CFL Takeaways: Travis Lulay was certainly missed


B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay gestures during the first half. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Week 5 of the CFL season has come and gone and once again the focus is on quarterbacks. In an abbreviated three-game week, each game had implications based off the health and depth at the quarterback position. The West remains the superior division and with over a month of the season in the books, the defending champion Toronto Argonauts continue to struggle.

Here are my takeaways from Week 5:

Calgary 27 – Ottawa 3

Calgary QB line – Bo Levi Mitchell – 16-of-21, 166 yards, 1 TD

Ottawa QB line – Trevor Harris – 14-of-22, 93 yards, 2 interceptions

Another QB down
Bo Levi Mitchell took a low hit from Danny Mason in the second quarter. He finished the drive but didn’t return due to a right knee injury. His leg got caught in the turf and the play didn’t look good. Calgary had a 20-point lead at the time, so his removal could have been precautionary. Dave Dickenson is great at preparing quarterbacks, so Stampeders fans shouldn’t fret regardless of the injury timeline. Nick Arbuckle came in in relief and got his first career passing touchdown pass.

Mitchell originally got his chance when Drew Tate was unable to stay healthy. Tate was the backup for Henry Burris before him. The Stamps have proven this is a two-QB league if you want to win consistently. The league might suffer most from this development as the two Grey Cup starting QBs and first-ballot Hall-of-Famers in Ricky Ray and Mitchell have been reduced to spectators. On the plus side, despite being hurt, Mitchell now has the title of fewest starts to 60 wins, doing it in just 72 games.

Attendance: 22,103

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Edmonton 16 – Toronto 15

Edmonton QB line – Mike Reilly – 21-of-36, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception

Toronto QB line – James Franklin – 26-of-36, 296 yards, 1 interception

Duke Dominates
D’haquille Williams is wrecking the league. The man known as “Duke” has dominated the last four games with 27 receptions, 482 yards and three TDs in that time. That’s a good season for most receivers, never mind a month. Williams has four straight games over 100 yards receiving. He had four such games all of last season. With four touchdowns he’s just one behind his total from last season. He had 715 receiving yards in 13 games in 2017. Through five games this season he already has 556 receiving yards.

His nine catches versus Toronto is a new career high, surpassing the eight receptions he received the week prior versus the Argonauts. Mike Reilly targeted Williams 17 times throughout the most recent contest. Reilly has been blessed with Adarius Bowman, Brandon Zylstra, and Derel Walker but he may have found a new favourite target in Williams. With this quick start it’s not out of the realm of possibility Williams could get to 2,000 receiving yards this season.

Attendance: 31,056

Winnipeg 17 – B.C 20

Winnipeg QB line – Matt Nichols – 17-of-28, 214 yards, three interceptions

B.C. QB line – Travis Lulay – 28-of-41, 326 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception

Travis Lulay’s timely return
Travis Lulay was certainly missed. Lulay brought the BC Lions back from a two-score deficit in the second half versus Winnipeg. Lulay didn’t look fully healthy but it didn’t matter. He used his poise and leadership to help B.C. gut out a victory when it would have been understandable if it packed it in at halftime after the normally sure-handed Bryan Burnham dropped a TD as time expired in the first half.

When Lulay is healthy he’s a MOP-calibre quarterback. Jonathon Jennings has shown promise but his ceiling isn’t yet that high and his floor has been bad. Already falling back from the pack in the uber competitive West division, the Lions couldn’t afford to lose two straight to the Bombers after the Eskimos and Stampeders have gotten off to great starts. Now the Lions are still in the thick of the race thanks to Lulay and his continued mastery of Winnipeg. In Lulay’s last two games against Winnipeg, he’s thrown for a combined 730 yards and three touchdowns. He’s won five of his last six starts against Winnipeg since 2012. Lulay isn’t back to 2012 form yet, but he’s back and for BC that’s all that matters.

Attendance: 19,541

Bye week – Montreal, Hamilton, Saskatchewan

Most read

– Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator looks at how Ike Brown went from Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker to strength coach.

Off the field

– What’s beef? Current CFL player Kyries Hebert and former player Jon Cornish took their dispute over Hebert’s play to Twitter.

Big on social

– The Edmonton Eskimos are the latest public figures to post a video of the “in my feelings challenge” based on the recent Drake song. It’s safe to say Keke loves the CFL.


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