October 13, 2022

Ferguson: A second helping of QB play from Thanksgiving weekend

The Canadian Press

If you don’t already know by now, I love quarterback analysis.

Is it because they’re playing the most important position on the field, touch the ball on every offensive play and have the biggest effect on wins and losses? Sure.

Is it due to the singularity of being, ‘the guy,’ in a way that only goaltenders and pitchers can relate to across pro sports? No doubt.

Is it a strange fascination that I have with statistical performances, and how unfair a box score can be to a losing quarterback, or subsequently flattering to a winning quarterback who doesn’t deserve it? Absolutely.

With that in mind, let’s dive into a wacky Week 18 slate of throwing performances.

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Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats

With just eleven completions, two interceptions and no touchdown passes Dane Evans and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were able to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders to defend the East Division… for now.

The secret sauce here was of course, running back Wes Hills‘ dominance, but one look at this throw chart and you’d likely get 90 per cent of blind voters believing this was the losing quarterback.

Cody Fajardo, Saskatchewan Roughriders

As we know, this was the quarterback who collected a loss in the head-to-head with Evans in Week 18. Cody Fajardo peppered the underneath throws, jet sweeps, screen passes and the occasional crosser, but finished zero for two with two interceptions on throws of 30 or more yards as the Riders playoff hopes took a big hit with a tough Calgary two step dead ahead.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Toronto Argonauts

I had the pleasure of calling what felt like a weird game from start to finish. One made even stranger in hindsight when realizing McLeod Bethel-Thompson had 40 passing attempts and collected 352 yards through the air to extend his CFL lead.

Bethel-Thompson missed some throws, but completed a tremendously accurate dime drop on a corner route down the left sideline at 28-yards in depth while hitting receiver Tommy Nield in the open field for the game winning touchdown strike late in the fourth. A quality performance from the Toronto quarterback.

Vernon Adams Jr., BC Lions

Set back by drops, sacks and penalties for much of the game, Vernon Adams Jr. returned to the scene of his premature benching in Week 2 when still a member of the Montreal Alouettes. He finished a hard fought day with a relatively clean sheet, a couple deep strikes and a developing connection to some young BC Lions receivers who will be leaned on down the stretch if Lucky Whitehead and Bryan Burnham aren’t fully healthy.

Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

In quintessential Zach Collaros fashion the Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback collected his 14th win of the year without having to attempt more than 20 passes, while McLeod Bethel-Thompson needed all 40 of his attempts.

Collaros passing to Nic Demski or Dalton Schoen on targets of 20 or more air yards has quickly become one of the most exciting and dependable plays in CFL football.

Taylor Cornelius, Edmonton Elks

Remember what I said off the top about quirky stat lines and how some quarterbacks deserve credit (Collaros) while others don’t get their full story told by the numbers? Dane Evans had 11 completions and won the ball game against Saskatchewan.

Taylor Cornelius had 11 completions against the Bombers and felt like the doors were blown off before he ever turned his key in the Green and Gold ignition.

Trevor Harris, Montreal Alouettes

Just as Collaros had a prototypical day, so too did Trevor Harris who completed nearly 80 per cent of his passes without a single attempt beyond 25-yards in the air. This season really feels destined for a Harris to have a home playoff performance completing 39 of 40 passes where the only blemish on his outing is a running back dropping a screen.

Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa REDBLACKS

As high percentage a day as we’ve seen from Nick Arbuckle under new offensive leadership in Ottawa. 13 of his 28 completions were behind the line of scrimmage but it didn’t matter to Bob Dyce who got out of Montreal with the win and get set for the rematch this Friday night at TD Place as Ottawa attempts to snap their home loss streak.

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