After the biggest single-game outing in his CFL career, helping Hamilton to a 38-36 win over the Alouettes, Tiger-Cats receiver Brandon Banks had nothing but praise for both his quarterback and offensive coordinator.
“Dane Evans and Tommy Condell,” Banks quickly answered when asked what the key to success was for him. “I’m just a recipient of the offence and just the way he was calling the game, he was getting me open and I was able to catch the balls.”
Banks was simply fantastic from beginning to end as he finished Saturday’s game against Montreal with a career-best 201 receiving yards as well as three touchdowns.
Banks was included early and often in the Ticats’ passing game, catching the first toss of all three of Hamilton’s opening drive of the game. He’d also finish off that third drive personally, catching a pass at the Montreal 30, crossing up Als defensive back Jarnor Jones, and running to the pylon for the 55-yard touchdown.
With that catch, he also set the team’s single-season record for passes caught.
“I’m just happy that I’m able to win the ball game first. It’s definitely a blessing and humbling experience to have that record,” Banks said.
He wasn’t even remotely close to finished, however. He added another touchdown reception in the third quarter when he found himself open in the back of the end zone. Quarterback Dane Evans spotted him and floated a ball over the defence and into the hands of his No. 1 target.
In the fourth, it was Banks again, this time, he got free down the left sideline, turning what was originally an 18-yard pickup into a gain of 44. Four plays later, Evans would dump the ball over the line of scrimmage for Banks, who had an easy catch for his third major of the afternoon.
The connection between Evans and Banks has only gotten stronger with every game the pair has played together. Banks had zero worries when Jeremiah Masoli went down because he knew the quality of player that Evans was.
“He’s a gunslinger,” Banks said of his quarterback. “If you know him from his college days, he was putting up numbers, slinging the rock, and giving everyone a chance. When Jeremiah went down, he stepped right in and did a hell of a job. I’m happy that I’m able to be a receiver for him.
“… It’s the beauty of our sport and professional athletes being professional athletes and maximizing their opportunity. That’s the nature of football and when one guy goes down, it’s next man up.”
Banks’ outstanding game headlined a great outing from the Ticats as a whole. The defence came up with three sacks and a pair of interceptions on the game and special teams stepped up when they were needed most.
“We came in the game expecting to win; that doesn’t mean it always happens,” Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer said following the win. “But (I’m) proud of how we drew a line in the second half and moved the ball up and down the field. I thought we played some complementary football in the second half, pinning them deep on a kick-off, turnovers, the offence punching it in for touchdowns and not field goals.
“From that standpoint, I’m extremely proud. It’s a road win and we’ll keep building.”
Steinauer’s squad has 14 wins on the campaign and will be doing their best to make it 15 to close out the campaign.
The Tiger-Cats will return home for their final game of the regular season to take on the Toronto Argonauts for the third and final time in 2019. They’ll likely rest most of their best players in the final tuneup before the postseason, but with his performance against the Als, Banks may have cemented himself as one of, if not the favourite for the league’s Most Outstanding Player award.