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Harris, Jorden lead top performances of 2018

TORONTO — Trevor Harris threw six touchdown passes in a game, Kamar Jorden racked up 249 receiving yards and McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw four touchdown passes in a half to lead his team back from a 24-point deficit.

The 2018 CFL season had no shortage of awe-inspiring, record-breaking performances, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Before switching calendars, CFL.ca looks back on the season that was with the top 10 performances:

1. TREVOR HARRIS | EASTERN FINAL VS. HAM

Harris sets playoff record with six touchdown passes as REDBLACKS advance to Grey Cup

 

In a matchup of two of the CFL’s most exciting offences, with a ticket to Grey Cup on the line, you just knew there were going to be fireworks on Nov. 18 at TD Place. No one could have anticipated this, though.

REDBLACKS quarterback Trevor Harris scorched the Ticats’ defence, throwing six touchdown passes in a 46-27 victory. Harris had owned the Ticats all season, compiling a 3-0 record along the way, but saved the best for last, completing 29 of 32 passes (90.1%) for 367 yards and no interceptions to pick up his first career playoff win.

It was a statement game for Harris, moving him out of the shadow of Henry Burris and into his first Grey Cup as a starter.

2. KAMAR JORDEN | WEEK 11 VS. WPG

With 10 catches for 249 yards, Jorden sets a Calgary franchise record for receiving yards

 

It was Aug. 25 and the 5-4 Bombers, still trying to find themselves in the highly-competitive West, had a chance to make a statement against the Stamps at McMahon. With Calgary coming off its first loss of the season, Kamar Jorden had other ideas.

The Stamps’ top receiver was Bo Levi Mitchell‘s No. 1 target all game, and he saved the best for last, scoring a 68-yard touchdown to give Calgary a two-possession lead and the eventual 39-26 victory. Already quickly rising as an elite CFL pass-catcher, Jorden fully announced his arrival with a team record 249 yards.

3. MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON | WEEK 8 VS. OTT

Bethel-Thompson erases 24-point deficit; throws last-second TD to stun REDBLACKS

 

McLeod Bethel-Thompson‘s first career start is a lesson in perseverance. After just getting the promotion in favour of James Franklin, the Argos’ new pivot struggled out of the gate, generating just seven points in the first half and also throwing an interception.

As the old saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That’s what Bethel-Thompson did, throwing four touchdown passes in the second half to erase a 24-point deficit, culminating in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Armanti Edwards with one second left to win 42-41.

That victory wouldn’t turn the Argos’ season around, but it no doubt serves as a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable campaign in Toronto.

4. ROMAR MORRIS | WEEK 13 VS. CGY

Stamps’ speedy running back breaks out, finding the end zone four times in the highest-scoring game of 2018

 

After Labour Day produced a last-play game-winning field goal, the rematch was no less exciting as the Stamps and Eskimos combined for 1,052 yards and 90 points in the most offensive game of 2018. Speedy running back Romar Morris was a big part of that, racking up 157 yards from scrimmage and scoring four touchdowns.

Despite an eventual 48-42 win by the Eskimos, Morris proved himself as one of the league’s fastest and most explosive players that evening, sprinting past the Edmonton defence for a 75-yard touchdown on the way to a career game.

5. BRYAN BURNHAM | WEEK 15 VS. HAM

Burnham comes up clutch on back-to-back plays, tying the game with a last-play TD and two-point convert

 

Down eight with half a minute remaining, the Lions drove into position to tie the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the game’s very last play. There, Jonathon Jennings threaded the needle to Bryan Burnham, setting up a chance to force overtime with a two-point convert.

The ensuing play was even more remarkable, as Burnham’s outstretched catch and ability to stay in bounds marked one of the most thrilling plays of 2018. After a lengthy review, it was determined that Burnham came down in bounds, setting up an eventual overtime win for the home team.

In arguably the most thrilling outcome of the season, the Lions’ top receiver came up big in every situation, finishing with 10 catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

6. ERIC ROGERS | WESTERN FINAL VS. WPG

Rogers’ hat trick sends Stamps to third straight Grey Cup

 

Already considered a clutch playoff performer, it was all Eric Rogers in the Western Final, with Calgary’s top receiver scoring all three of the team’s touchdowns to book a trip to the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw. In a three-point with time winding down in the fourth, Rogers made an acrobatic catch in tight coverage to put the Stamps up 10, a lead that would not be relinquished.

Rogers struggled with a knee injury all season, but his performance in the Western Final was one for the books — a critical turning point in the story of the Stampeders’ 2018 Grey Cup Championship.

7. WILLIE JEFFERSON | WEEK 13 VS. WPG

Ninety-seven yards later, Jefferson provides critical turning point for Riders

 

The Banjo Bowl is a date Riders and Bombers fans have circled for months, and in the one of the biggest games of the year, defensive end Willie Jefferson seized the spotlight. With the Bombers already up 10-0 and in position to strike again, Jefferson picked off Matt Nichols and ran it back 97 yards.

Taunting the crowd at Investors Group Field along the way, Jefferson’s play changed the game for the Riders, eventually leading to a 32-27 victory. Jefferson finished the game with three tackles, a sack and the touchdown, making life difficult for Nichols all afternoon.

Rarely does a defensive player make such a profound impact, something Jefferson accomplished often in 2018.

8. MIKE REILLY | WEEK 7 VS. MTL

The reigning MOP combines for five total touchdowns in a route of the Alouettes

 

Days after being traded, Johnny Manziel watched from the sideline as the reigning Most Outstanding Player did his thing. Mike Reilly threw four touchdown passes and ran for another, throwing for 415 yards in a 44-23 win over the Montreal Alouettes. On a night when Manziel was supposed to make his CFL debut, it was all about Reilly, who continued his torrid start to the season.

In the win, the Eskimos piled up 508 total yards and 28 first downs, averaging 9.1 yards per play and controlling the football for 35:11 of the game.

9. LEWIS WARD | WEEK 7 VS. HAM

Ward makes all seven field goal attempts as REDBLACKS edge Ticats

 

It was a blustery day at Tim Hortons Field, but the winds were no match for the leg of Lewis Ward, who made all seven of his field goal attempts in a 21-15 win. In a defensive struggle, Ward accounted for all 21 of the REDBLACKS’ points, including successful strikes from 42, 43 and 47 yards.

Ward’s performance marked his emergence as one of the CFL’s most accurate kickers, part of what would eventually become a record-breaking seasons for the dual Most Outstanding Rookie and Special Teams Player.

10. DEVIER POSEY | WEEK 19 VS. EDM

Lions’ late-season addition Posey scores three TDs in 7:48

 

After a relatively quiet start, DeVier Posey ‘arrived’ at exactly the right time for the BC Lions. In the fight for their playoff lives, the Lions got three touchdowns in the span of 7:48, using a third quarter hat trick to defeat the Edmonton Eskimos and book a trip to the post-season.

The three touchdowns of 65, 32 and four yards came in succession, making him the first player in 25 years to accomplish such a feat. Posey finished the game with five catches for 113 yards, showing glimpses of his elite playmaking ability in his return to the three-down game.