This week, Adam Bighill collected his first two-interception game, Brad Sinopili posted his first 11-catch game and James Franklin earned his first win as an Argonaut. The contenders and pretenders started to reveal themselves after one month of action in the CFL season. Here are my takeaways from Week 4.
Hamilton 13 – Saskatchewan 18
Hamilton QB line – Jeremiah Masoli – 23-for-43, 333 yards, 1 interception
Saskatchewan QB line – Brandon Bridge – 11-for-13, 101 yards
The Riders got the win but they still don’t have a clear picture at QB. Canadian signal caller Brandon Bridge once again started as Zach Collaros is on the six-game injured list due to a concussion. But the shuffling of QBs continued. Backup David Watford was sent in as a change of pace in the third series of the game. Chris Jones is using Watford to spells Bridge for at least one series per quarter. Watford finished the game going 3-for-6 for 47 yards.
It’s not like Watford is providing a change of pace or running a different offence than Bridge is. Both men have big arms and are mobile QBs. They have similar strengths. Why not just stay with one QB and allow them to gain confidence and allow your offence to gain continuity? It’s different when Bridge would come in for Kevin Glenn a year ago. They were literally opposites in stature and playing style. There is a saying in football, “if you have two quarterbacks you don’t have one.” The Riders are still trying to find offensive success even though their team is having success despite their offence.
Ottawa 28 – Montreal 18
Trevor Harris – 28-for-42, 342 yards, 3 TDs
Jeff Mathews – 18-30, 280 yards, TD
No Rivalry, yet
One of the bonuses of an Ottawa franchise returning to the CFL was the return of a geographical rival for Montreal. Unfortunately, it hasn’t panned out. In fact the two franchises are heading in opposite directions. Montreal swept Ottawa in the Redblacks’ inaugural year in 2014. Since then, Ottawa is 9-1 versus Montreal.
A big reason for that success is that Harris feasts on Montreal. In nine games against the Alouettes, he has a 6-1 record, 14 touchdowns, a 71.6 per cent completion rate for 2,030 yards.
Week 8 last year was the last time Montreal won at home. Montreal is now 1-14 in its last 15. Montreal hasn’t won back-to-back games since 2016.
Toronto 20 – Edmonton 17
Toronto QB line – James Franklin – 16-for-24, 217 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception, 1 rushing TD
Edmonton QB line – Mike Reilly – 28-for-40, 370 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception
Franklin got his first start as an Argo against his former team. Looking prepared, he started the game with a nine-play, 76-yard drive, which he capped off with a rushing TD. He finished hot, marching the team down the field on a 12-play, 75-yard drive to score on a pass to fullback Declan Cross to seal the victory. With Franklin at the helm, the Argos got their first win of the season. Franklin gets another shot at the same defence full of his former teammates as the Argonauts play in Edmonton on Friday.
Winnipeg 41 – BC 19
Winnipeg QB line – Matt Nichols – 16-for-29, 162 yards, 1 TD
B.C. QB line – Jonathon Jennings – 15-for-24, 105 yards, 2 interceptions
B.C. needs a QB
Once again, Jennings had issues protecting the ball. He threw two interceptions to his former teammate Bighill, the second of which was returned for a major. Jennings hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in a game this season. Travis Lulay has dressed but is yet to play after having knee surgery after he finished last season on injured reserve.
Cody Fajardo is also an option. Fajardo came in in relief with the game no longer in reach and was 5-for-6 for 68 yards. The only issue was the one incompletion was also an interception. The biggest storyline in B.C. is now who will be Wally Buono’s QB next week and how long will they last?
Big on social
Derel Walker was the latest CFL player to slip making the transition from grass to field turf in the BMO Field end zone on the north side of the stadium. Instead of a TD pass for the Edmonton Eskimos, the play ended up being a Toronto Argonauts interception by Ronnie Yell. Quite the turn of events in what at the time was an eight-point game and ended in a three-point win for the Argos.
Carlos Verde takes a look at couples who have fallen in love due to their love of the CFL, for CFL.ca.
Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette wrote this piece about how Jeff Mathews has forged a career as a motivational speaker after his sister, Katie, was paralyzed in a 2006 automobile accident.