CFL QB Index – Is Zach Back?

The CFL.ca Quarterback Index is a weekly power ranking of quarterbacks across the CFL. The ranking reflects recent performance, historical value, statistical indicators, team success and overall on-field evaluation.

TORONTO — Call it a comeback for Zach Collaros.

The Riders’ quarterback has set aside any rumours of his demise, finding new life in Saskatchewan in the march to second place in the contentious CFL West.

There’s still work to be done for Collaros, whose 217.5 yards per game and five touchdowns this season are underwhelming. But while he has yet to record a multi-touchdown game this season, or cross the 300-yard mark in an outing, Collaros is doing what many thought he no longer could: winning football games

Sunday’s Labour Day Classic was the perfect example, when Collaros overcame a sluggish start to lead the game-winning drive in the fourth, before putting the Bombers away with a perfectly-thrown dagger to Jordan Williams-Lambert on second-and-three with a couple of minutes to go.

With a 4-2 record as a starter, the Riders are clearly a better team with No. 17 under centre. A rematch with the Bombers is on deck in the highly-anticipated Banjo Bowl, where Collaros looks to continue his road to redemption in 2018.

More in this week’s QB Index:

BO LEVI MITCHELL CGY
THIS WEEK: 1 | LAST WEEK: 1

There were a lot of strange happenings on Labour Day in Alberta, but when push came to shove, Bo Levi Mitchell got the job done with a last-minute game-winning drive to defeat the Esks. Winning percentage isn’t a popular metric for judging QB talent, but proponents can point to Monday’s game as an example of why Mitchell finds himself with the ‘W’ more often than not.

MIKE REILLY EDM
THIS WEEK: 2 | LAST WEEK: 2

Something you don’t hear every day: The Eskimos have been shut out in four of their last eight quarters. Over the span of two losses, Reilly has been held to 500 passing yards on 34-of-53 passing (64%) with four touchdowns and one interception. The Stamps and Ticats are formidable opponents, but this just isn’t the production we’re accustomed to from the reigning MOP.

JEREMIAH MASOLI HAM
THIS WEEK: 3 | LAST WEEK: 3

For the second straight week Jeremiah Masoli demonstrated the ability to finish, something the Ticats and their quarterback have lacked since he became a starter last Labour Day. The fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Brandon Banks to put the game on ice was an incredible demonstration of athleticism and improvisational ability. Masoli’s limit continues to show no bounds.

TREVOR HARRIS OTT
THIS WEEK: 4 | LAST WEEK: 4

After averaging 400-plus yards over his last three games, Trevor Harris fell back to earth with a thud in Week 11, generating just 11 points while averaging 5.9 yards per attempt in a loss to the last-place Alouettes. You’ve heard it before, but consistency continues to be an issue for the REDBLACKS’ starting quarterback.

TRAVIS LULAY BC
THIS WEEK: 5 | LAST WEEK: 6

Travis Lulay is the wildcard in all this, coming out of the Lions’ bye week with a respectable 8.0 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns and four interceptions in six games. The former Most Outstanding Player has proven he can be great in this league, but he’ll have to get back to that form if the Lions are going to make some noise in the hotly-contested West.

ZACH COLLAROS SSK
THIS WEEK: 6 | LAST WEEK: 7

After his offence generated just 97 net yards and eight first downs in the first half on Sunday, Zach Collaros came back with some clutch throws, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Marcus Thigpen and a second-down conversion to Jordan Williams-Lambert late in the fourth. Collaros moves to 4-0 as a starter in Labour Day games while the Riders have won three straight.

MATT NICHOLS WPG
THIS WEEK: 7 | LAST WEEK: 5

No quarterback is safe from critical analysis, something Matt Nichols has learned the hard way throughout 2018. After guiding the Bombers to back-to-back playoff appearances, including their first at home since 2011, some fans are calling for a change under centre. Nichols threw for 166 yards against the Riders and is averaging 221 yards per game in 2018. He needs a big game in the rematch.

ANTONIO PIPKIN MTL
THIS WEEK: 8 | LAST WEEK: 9

Antonio Pipkin‘s youthful exuberance has charmed the three-down league, becoming one of the storylines to watch over the second half of the season. From training camp cut to passing Johnny Manziel on the QB depth chart, the 23-year-old has led the Als to back-to-back victories. There’s still lots to learn, but Pipkin is earning respect.

MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON TOR
THIS WEEK: 9 | LAST WEEK: 8

With Monday’s Labour Day loss to the Ticats, McLeod Bethel-Thompson has matched his teammate and counterpart James Franklin in number of starts, going 2-2 in his first four games. Bethel-Thompson has had his ups and downs, but it was mostly down in Hamilton, where he completed 48 per cent of his passes for 163 yards and a pick in a 42-28 loss.

REMOVED: Johnny Manziel, QB, MTL

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