Game Notes: A look at Week 4

TORONTO — New faces at quarterback are getting the chance to shine this weekend, as Week 4 kicks off in the Canadian Football League.

It begins in Montreal on Thursday for the Alouettes’ home opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beginning 7:30 p.m. ET. Montreal will be looking for its first victory on the season, while attempting to even the home-and-home series with the Tiger-Cats. Hamilton will be looking to start 4-0 for the first time since 1989. As part of the Thursday Night Football Concert Series, Zach Zoya, an up-and-coming singer/rapper/songwriter from Montreal, will take the stage at halftime.

Friday Night Football features two undefeated teams in the nation’s capital with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET. Winnipeg last opened a season 3-0 in 2014 during Mike O’Shea’s first year at the helm of the Blue Bombers. Likewise, Ottawa will be looking to start 3-0 for the first time since re-joining the league.

Week 4 wraps up with a double-header on Saturday – first up, Toronto plays host to the BC Lions at 7 p.m. ET with both teams in search of their first victory of the year. With James Franklin injured, the boatmen will look for McLeod Bethel-Thompson to lead the way at BMO Field. BC is hoping to bounce back from a late loss to the Calgary Stampeders last week.

The Calgary Stampeders will visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Week 4 finale. Calgary is coming off a furious late-game comeback win versus the Lions, while Saskatchewan looks to carry forward momentum following its first victory – a Canada Day win over the Argonauts at Mosaic. The Roughriders took the 2018 season series versus the Stampeders 2-1.

All games this week will be on ESPN+.


  • With a win over Montreal, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will begin 4-0 for the first time since 1989.
  • In team history, the Tiger-Cats have started 4-0 on five occasions; 1951, 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1989.
  • The team’s best start came in 1961 when the Tiger-Cats began the season 7-0.
  • In their past two games, Hamilton has scored 106 points with a differential of 82 points – which is the largest combined margin of victory over the course of two games since 1999, when they notched back-to-back wins by 46 points each against Edmonton and Saskatchewan.
  • Hamilton sits first in the following categories:
    • Sack allowed (1)
    • Points for (42.7)
    • Touchdowns scored (15)
    • Fewest points allowed (13.7)
    • Average yards per play (8.4)
  • The Tiger-Cats are averaging 9.2 yards on first downs this season.
  • Defensively, Hamilton leads the CFL with 12 quarterback sacks; seven different players have registered a sack.
  • Hamilton has made six long gainers more than the next best team.


  • The Winnipeg and Ottawa game features the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked offensive teams in the league with Ottawa at 37.5 and Winnipeg at 30.5.
  • Winnipeg has allowed just one offensive touchdown in two games so far this season.
  • This game also features the No. 1 and No. 2 run defences in the CFL.
  • In his first start, Dominique Davis recorded four interceptions and no touchdowns; in his second start, he tallied three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
  • In Week 1, Davis went for 0-for-4 on deep throws, before going 6-of-9 for 176 yards and two TDs in Week 2.
  • Matt Nichols has started the season with three TD passes in each game and is tied for the CFL lead with six.


  • Winning teams this year have averaged 7.6 yards on first downs.
  • Winning teams have 40 ‘big play’ long gainers compared to 23 by losing teams
  • The gap in net offence from winning to losing teams is nearly 100 yards (425 vs. 334)
  • Winning teams are converting on 56% of second downs, while losing teams average 48%.
  • Winning teams have allowed a combined 11 sacks, while losing teams have allowed 34.
  • This has helped overcome the six occasions where the losing team had more time of possession than the winner.


  • Charleston Hughes has registered a sack in 81 of his 167 career games, including two each in the last two games. He now has 118 career sacks and sits 9th all-time (eight behind John Bowman and Stewart Hill).
  • Calgary is 0-2 in its last two games without Bo Levi Mitchell.
  • Calgary overcame a 21-point deficit against the BC Lions last week. It was the team’s largest comeback since September 13, 2014 when they erased a 26-point difference against Toronto.
  • McLeod Bethel-Thompson will start for the Argos this week. He was 2-6 as a starter last year, including 1-1 against the Lions
  • Mike Reilly owns a career mark of 3-6 against the Argonauts. Toronto is the only East team to have a winning record against the 2018 MOP.
  • Montreal’s BJ Cunningham has 189 yards and 15 receptions in his first two games. At this point last season, he had seven catches for 66 yards.
  • Despite sitting 0-2, the Montreal Alouettes lead the league in turnover ratio at +4; Toronto and BC are last with -4.
  • Edmonton leads the league with 422 penalty yards – nearly 200 yards more than the No. 2 BC (239).
  • Through three games, Edmonton and Hamilton have allowed only one sack each.
  • Home teams are 8-3 this season.
  • Teams leading after the first quarter this year are 4-6. BC has led after the first quarter of each game and lost.
  • 55% of games have been decided in the final 3 minutes.
  • 64% of drives in which teams make a ‘big play’ result in a touchdown. Without making a ‘big play’, only 12% of teams’ drives end in a major.
  • Teams are converting 82% of two-point conversions (18/22). Of the 22 two-point converts, only two have been rushes.
  • Both Brandon Banks and Greg Ellingson are averaging more than 100 yards a game.

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