September 7, 2023

Team Grades Powered by PFF: Riders’ passing unit rising

Arthur Ward/

TORONTO — OK Tire Labour Day Weekend delivered four exciting games of football with memorable performances on both sides of the ball.

The BC Lions kicked things off by beating the Alouettes in Montreal with a slightly different offensive approach. The Roughriders meanwhile have seen the emergence of Jake Dolegala provide the team a boost as they continue in pursuit of the Blue Bombers and Lions in the West.

Monday’s doubleheader also didn’t disappoint with the Toronto Argonauts going into Hamilton to take down the Tiger-Cats with a swarming defence and the Calgary Stampeders putting together a 22-point fourth quarter to complete a comeback win against the Edmonton Elks.

That means we have a lot of units to go through – both good and bad – here on’s Team Grades Powered by PFF.

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PFF utilizes extensive review of game footage to provide additional context for every action on the field. Highly-trained PFF staff break down every game, player and play to provide over 200 unique data points, which are used to compile Player Grades – a numerical representation up-to-100 of performance at their specific position.

For more information on PFF, Player Grades, the Grading Scale and more, please visit

*All player grades required a minimum of 15 snaps played in Week 13 of 2023

BC Lions (74.8 offensive grade, 67.4 defensive grade)

Key area: 83.1 rushing grade

BC’s passing game is often highlighted here as the strength of this offensive unit. This week the running game also stepped up with nine rushing first downs on a 5.3 yards per carry average.

Running back Taquan Mizzell had three of these first downs but the majority came through the legs of quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. with six, most across all players in Week 13.

Montreal Alouettes (66.1 offensive grade, 56.2 defensive grade)

Key area: 82.2 rushing grade

Montreal had an astonishing 9.8 yards per carry on the ground in their loss to the Lions. That’s with 20 attempts for a total of 196 yards, second best mark of the week.

The Alouettes also led in yards per carry after contact with 6.3 as running back William Stanback finished second in rushing grade with 84.1.


Saskatchewan Roughriders (61.2 offensive grade, 65.4 defensive grade)

Key area: 76.8 passing grade

Quarterback Jake Dolegala was third in passing grade (70.0) and led the league in yards with 326 in the Riders win over the Bombers on Labour Day Weekend.

More importantly, Saskatchewan’s pivot and the offence as a whole took good care of the ball with zero turnover-worthy plays despite having the second highest average depth of target with 12.5.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (70.7 offensive grade,  72.6 defensive grade)

Key area: 68.3 receiving grade

Winnipeg’s offence continued their trend of pushing the ball down the field in their game against the Roughriders.

They finished with the highest average depth of target receiving (22.4), yards per reception (21.5) and yards per route run (9.96). Nic Demski had the highest grade amongst receivers with 83.8 and was second in receiving yards (118) behind only Alouettes’ pass catcher Austin Mack (143).

Toronto Argonauts (72.1 offensive grade, 66.8 defensive grade)

Key area: 71.6 coverage grade

The Argos had the best coverage grade on Labour Day Weekend. Toronto led the league in yards per reception allowed (9.8) while ranking second in yards per coverage snap (5.67).

Defensive back Jamal Peters has the fourth highest coverage grade in Week 13 while allowing only two catches for seven yards and registering an interception.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (64.8 offensive grade, 57.3 defensive grades)

Key area: 58.1 coverage grade

The Tiger-Cats defence struggled to contain Toronto’s passing game in their home loss against their division rivals.

Hamilton allowed a first down or a touchdown on 54.2 per cent of their coverage snaps and eight plays of 15 or more yards, both ranked second worst in Week 13.


Calgary Stampeders (71.8 offensive grade, 64.7 defensive grade)

Key area: 87.9 rushing grade

Calgary’s run game came to life in their win against the Elks. Even though they had fewer rushing attempts than anyone else in Week 13 (17), they led the league in touchdowns (three), while ranking second in first downs (10).

Running back Ka’Deem Carey who has been dealing with injury all season had a 75.0 grade and three first downs on the ground and is starting to look like his old self for a Stampeders team that got back to their winning ways.

Edmonton Elks (68.5 offensive grade, 62.6 defensive grade)

Key area: 85.1 rushing grade

The Elks also excelled on the ground albeit on a drastically different way. Quarterback Tre Ford led all players in rushing yards (134), while ranking second in yards per carry (12.2), first downs (five) and missed tackles forced (five).

As a team, Edmonton went for 239 yards with 132 coming after contact, while also leading the league in rushing first downs with 13 and explosive plays with six.

Toronto Argonauts 72.1 66.8 81.7 86.8
BC Lions 74.8 67.4 76.4 89.9
Montreal Alouettes 66.1 56.2 73.8 87.4
Saskatchewan Roughriders 61.2 65.4 65.9 83.0
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 70.7 72.6 84.2 87.4
Calgary Stampeders 71.8 64.7 67.2 82.2
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 64.8 57.3 69.3 76.0
Ottawa REDBLACKS Bye Bye 67.1 79.3
Edmonton Elks 68.5 62.6 68.0 59.6

*Grades based on team-performance in Week 13 of 2023

**Cumulative grades based on team-performance in Weeks 1-13 of 2023

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