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55 Yard Line

Saturday’s games saw some solid quarterbacking performances from the recently-doubted

Andrew Bucholtz
55 Yard Line

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Travis Lulay went the extra yard Saturday, delivering a great quarterbacking performance.

Things change quickly in the CFL. Only two weeks ago, the dominant league-wide storyline was how just about every team was facing quarterback questions. When you look at Saturday's games, the common thread running through Hamilton's 35-34 victory over Saskatchewan and B.C.'s 34-8 thumping of Calgary was the redemption of many of those recently-questioned quarterbacks. The Tiger-Cats' Henry Burris and the Lions' Travis Lulay both turned in dominant performances and led their teams to victory, but the Riders' Darian Durant was also remarkable in a losing cause, and even the Stampeders' Kevin Glenn wasn't all that bad despite his team's low point total. B.C., Hamilton and Saskatchewan fans should all be pretty happy with what they saw from their quarterbacks Saturday, and even Calgary fans have some other areas in need of improvement to focus on first. That's a good sign for the state of the league's quarterbacking.

It was Saturday's first game between the Riders and Tiger-Cats that really turned into a quarterback-driven shootout. On the night, Burris completed a remarkable 28 of 38 passing attempts (73.7 per cent), throwing for 355 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Durant was almost as impressive in a losing cause, though, posting 24 completions on 39 attempts (61.5 per cent) and passing for 380 yards and two touchdowns (although he did have an interception and lost a fumble). In a league that's only infrequently seen one remarkable quarterbacking performance per night, it was impressive to see this kind of aerial fireworks. That's certainly a positive omen for both teams' offences, especially considering that it wasn't all that long ago there were significant questions about both of these pivots.

It was the late game that held perhaps the night's best quarterbacking performance, though, as Travis Lulay absolutely carved the Calgary defence up. Lulay threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, which would be impressive enough on its own, but it was his efficiency that really stood out. He completed 30 of 37 passes (a sky-high 81.1 per cent), which would be remarkable for anyone, but was even better when you consider Lulay's previous record of typically-low completion percentages (partly thanks to the Lions' deep-ball-oriented offensive scheme, but also due to a few mistakes on his part). He didn't throw an interception, spread the ball around to a wide variety of receivers and also made some crucial plays with his legs, picking up 41 yards on six carries. Lulay hadn't been terrible to date, but he hadn't really shown off the ability that earned him the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award last season. He certainly did that Friday, and that augers well for the Lions.

It's seeing all of these quarterbacking performances together that bodes the best for the CFL as a whole, though. Even Glenn's overall showing (28 for 37, 75.7 per cent, 245 yards but one interception) wasn't bad, although it wasn't up to some of the standards he'd previously set. Solid league-wide aerial offences are great for the CFL, as they provide a lot of excitement, make for great television and help convince fans to go out to future games in person. There are still passing issues with some teams, to be sure, but Saturday's games showed that even the recently-criticized can turn it around under the right circumstances. That promises more aerial offence to come, and that's promising for the league.

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