The second game of week five was a game that everyone was excited to see as evident by the 980,000+ average audience on TSN for the Sunday evening affair. The Blue Bombers came into the game struggling somewhat despite winning their most recent game against the Stampeders, and the Roughriders came in riding their high after starting 3-0 before their bye week. This was for West division supremacy, and it felt like a game that the players knew they needed to win.
Fajardo Still Elite Despite Struggle
This game was highlighted by Cody Fajardo’s worst performance as a starting quarterback in the CFL, but this isn’t the defining moment in his carreer. There have been plenty of people questioning his abilities as a starter in the league because of one game where he looked bad. But here is the reality, that happens. People seem to have conveniently forgotten that big-name quarterbacks in football like Bo Levi Mithcell, Trevor Harris, Michael Reilly, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning all have had their fair share of terrible outings. So why is Fajardo being treated any differently?
I won’t mince words on his performance, however. It was downright terrible. One of the worst games by a quarterback in the CFL this season. He never looked settled in the pocket, his throws were terribly inaccurate, and he couldn’t create with his legs, but it was one game. Prior to this, he has been elite this season. The Riders have marched along to the tune of 342.5 yards per game and Fajardo has passed for nearly 1,000 yards in just four games. For reference, that’s third in the CFL behind only Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros who has played one more game than Fajardo.
I get it. He was really bad in the Riders’ loss to the Blue Bombers and it was accentuated because of the level of importance of the Labour Day classic, but let’s take a step back and be real for a minute. This game does not define Fajardo. He is an elite quarterback in this league, and it looks like he will continue to give the Roughriders Grey Cup hopes for a very long time.
Riders Wont Cruise to Grey Cup
Despite the Riders’ amazing start to the season where it looked like no one would be able to beat them for a little while, we learned very quickly on Labour Day weekend that their path to the Grey Cup isn’t cut and dry. The rival Blue Bombers came out looking to prove a point, and they did just that.
Related: CFL Power Rankings – Week 5
They dropped the hammer on the Roughriders and took control of the game early on and never looked back. The Bombers’ defence put the pressure on Fajardo and hit him hard when they had the chance, and it clearly impacted his game. The road to the Grey Cup will likely pit these two teams against one another again this season, and it’s really going to put these two teams to the test again.
Bombers Reclaim Crown
After spending a couple of weeks below the Roughriders in the 13th Man Sports Power Rankings, the Blue Bombers have gone and reclaimed the crown and took over the top spot once more. Their dominance over the Riders has put the CFL on notice.
Obviously, this is may only be temporary, especially with these same two teams clashing again this weekend for the Banjo Bowl, but for the time being, you can say that the Blue Bombers are the best team in the West division at this moment in time. Now the key for them is beating the Roughriders again this weekend and putting a stranglehold on things.
Blue Bombers’ Defence Came to Play
While Fajardo struggled and many fans blamed him for it, you have to give credit to the Blue Bombers’ defence for playing as well as they did. The Roughriders failed to establish much of a running game as they were held to just 65 yards on the ground with only 44 of those yards coming from William Powell.
In the air, the Riders couldn’t do much of anything. Fajardo was just 23/39 passing with 211 yards. The key was three interceptions that changed the momentum of the game. The Blue Bombers’ defence came to play in this game, and there was never a moment where they looked like they had been figured out by the Roughriders.
Passing Yards: Zach Collaros (WPG): 245
Rushing Yards: Andrew Harris (WPG): 95
Receiving Yards: Kyran Moore (SSK): 79
Touchdowns: Sean McGuire (WPG): 2
Tackles: Mike Jones (WPG), Loucheiz Purifoy (SSK): 6
Special Teams Tackles: Mike Miller (WPG): 4
Sacks: Deatrick Nichols (WPG), Willie Jefferson (WPG), Jackson Jeffcoat (WPG), Anthony Lanier (SSK): 1
Interceptions: Brandon Alexander (WPG): 2
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Brandon Alexander
4 tackles, 1 special teams tackle, 2 interceptions