Week 3 in the CFL. What did we learn?
The CFL is back baby! And it is glorious. After a cancelled season in 2020, and a shortened season in 2021 the 3 Down league is back on track. Setting pulses racing and giving us plenty to chew over from Week 3.
Now we’ve made it through three weeks of the season. Everything feels like a full season back in full swing. And that feels amazing! So what did we learn from the games in Week 3?
What did we learn? Week 3
The week started in Montreal, as the Montreal Alouettes picked up their first win of the campaign. And they did it in style with a 37-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders. What did we learn from this one? For the first time this season we learnt that an East Division team can beat a West Division opponent. (Up to this point the West was 5-0 against the East).
We also learned, as we so often do, that special teams matter. Montreal played well in all three phases of the game. But their Week 3 win was set underway by the special teams unit.
The Alouettes shot out of the gate with a touchdown on the opening play. Thanks to Chandler Worthy, who stormed to the end zone on an 88-yard kickoff return. It was the second-fastest touchdown to open a game in CFL history at 12 seconds. Kicker David Côté then added to the lead later in the first quarter with field goals of 21 and 48 yards, putting the Als up 13-0.
The Roughriders were shell-shocked and 23-3 down by the half. It was the start on special teams that lay the foundation and inspired the team. Special teams always matter.
More things we learnt in Week 3
The ‘Win’ part of Winnipeg’s name is really reflected in the team’s ability to pull out victories time and again. Because this time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers pulled out a 26-12 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Winnipeg has now won 11 straight games at home. They may not look nearly as dominant as over the past 2 seasons, but so far this season they have worked their way to 3-0 off the back of winning know how.
Speaking of knowing how to win, Week 3 also saw the Calgary Stampeders go to 3-0. This time they won 30-23 against a much improved Edmonton Elks team. The Stamps have won 3 games by a grand total of 13 points. Either they will regress to the mean or this is a team that knows how to win in tight situations. Time will tell.
The final game of Week 3 saw the BC Lions pick up where they left off from their Week 1 performance. Following a bye they were more than ready for the Toronto Argonauts who they demolished 44-3. what have we learned from the Lions so far? That they know how to win at home. And that they have plenty of offensive weapons. Not to mention a great D. But most of all we learned that their young Canadian QB, Nathan Rourke looks entirely comfortable in the pro ranks.
What did we learn? The week 3 Key take away
A key take away? It might just be that if Nathan Rourke keeps going at this pace the CFL would do well to market around him and promote a blossoming superstar. I’ve already seen people online talk about getting his jersey despite not being on their team.
How good is he? This week Rourke set a CFL record for the most passing yards thrown in a single game by a Canadian quarterback. (436 yards). Not because of an all out passing attack from behind either. This was controlled, as he went 39 of 45 for 436 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Rourke’s season stats are 65 of 74 for 718 yards and no interceptions. Alongside 28 carries for 204 yards and 7 touchdowns. Can he keep that level going? Doubtful over a full season. Real tests are coming. He will start on the road for the first time in Week 4 as the Lions travel to face the Ottawa REDBLACKS. And in Week 5 will be up against the ultra experienced, savvy and efficient Winnipeg D. We will know a lot more about him after those games. But you can only face what is in front of you, and so far he has done that brilliantly.
Finally, the West is still highly dominant. So far the West is 7-1 against the East. It is going to be interesting to see how that plays out over the course of a full season.
Enjoy your 3 Down football everybody. Week 4 is coming!
Featured Image: Week 3 saw Nathan Rourke continue his blistering start to CFL life. Image from agassizharrisonobserver.com