The Canadian Press
Week 3 in the Canadian Football League offered up a hearty dish full of variety and fun for us to analyze.
From trying to figure out how Trevor Harris leading the Alouettes offence will trend, to the return of Bo Ball and of course Kid Canada somehow producing a sequel for the ages.
There is all of that and yet, still so much more as we look at my top five target charts of interest from last week’s action.
Bo Levi Mitchell, Calgary Stampeders
What target charts can’t show you is emotion, and Bo Levi Mitchell had all of it in yet another Calgary comeback win, this time over provincial rivals Edmonton.
While Reggie Begelton has been mostly stifled to my surprise thus far, Malik Henry is proving to be a very real weapon. Luther Hakunavanhu continues to increase his role in the offence, giving Bo plenty of options to spread the ball around to. While incorporating Kamar Jordan, Richard Sindani and KaDeem Carey out of the backfield.
What jumped out to me was how much this chart looks like the Bo Levi Mitchell I know and love watching. The free wheeling, pocket shifting downfield artist with a special knack for knowing when to air it out. If the Hamilton comeback has brought on swagger like this for the whole season, watch out.
Cody Fajardo, Saskatchewan Roughriders & Nick Arbuckle, Edmonton Elks
While Mitchell returned to form for the better, two of his West division counterparts did so for the worse.
Arbuckle had a very solid game while pushing the ball into tight windows with accuracy and finding Kenny Lawler in a variety of tough spots, but the home run play just wasn’t there and some longer shots in the fourth came off as desperation more than progressions. Who can blame him and the Elks as they sit at 0-3 with a game in Hamilton this Friday.
As for Fajardo, he got hit way too much in this game and by the middle of the third, looked worn down, which really took away from his athletic superiority and willingness to throw vertically.
If it weren’t for a miraculous Duke Williams catch on the right sideline that hung in the air forever, Fajardo would have been 0/6 with an interception on all passing attempts beyond 15-yards.
Shades of 2021 are revealing themselves in what needs to be a much different year for the Riders long bomb.
Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
What in the world is happening on those nasty bounces?! Twice in this game Evans had a well placed football get punched, popped or deflected into the most dangerous situation possible as Hamilton still couldn’t slay their nemesis from Winnipeg.
The running game was non-existent and all the work load was on Evans as he hoisted 42 attempts, but the Ticats’ quarterback couldn’t pull it off by throwing his way back into the game as Hamilton has to find answers quickly to avoid dropping to 0-4 on the season.
Trevor Harris, Montreal Alouettes
In his first official start of 2022, Harris and the Alouettes had control right from the start.
In what became a typical Harris game of working the flats off play action and finding Geno Lewis down the sideline multiple times for chunk gains that changed the temperament of the game anytime Saskatchewan got some momentum.
Harris appears to have full control of this offence, and will continue to make it his own long as he holds the starting spot.
Nathan Rourke, BC Lions
I’m stuck somewhere between, ‘what else can I say?’ And, ‘how much time do you have to read me ramble on about every intricacy of Rourke’s early season success?’
On one hand he makes it look so simple, peeling through layers of the defence with ease, moving defenders with his hips and eyes, that the game looks rudimentary and he just needs the time to deliver the football accurately.
On the other hand the degree of difficulty he’s executing with isn’t simple at all, as shown by plenty of tremendous end zone camera angles of Rourke climbing the pocket and making his way from one, to two, to three and sometimes four receivers before pulling the trigger. This is really special, as is his 87% completion rate for 700+ yards, 7 touchdowns and no interceptions through two games.