CFL: QUARTERBACK INDEX: AIR HARRIS HAS LIFT-OFF

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 — Trevor Harris is back to putting up the type of awe-inspiring numbers we’re accustomed to.

The REDBLACKS’ quarterback fell just shy of hitting the 500-yard mark against the Als, torching Montreal’s secondary for 487 yards in a 24-17 win. If not for a couple of fumbles and an ill-timed drop on a deep ball to Diontae Spencer, Harris could have easily gone over 550 in what turned out to be a narrow victory.

Harris has faced his critics since inheriting Ottawa’s quarterback throne following the retirement of Henry Burris given his team’s record the last two seasons. But the 32-year-old continues to produce, and has the REDBLACKS in first in the East with a 5-3 record.


Elsewhere, Matt Nichols maintains his third-place ranking despite struggling through a 29-23 win over the Ticats. If Nichols can’t rebound in Week 10, he may find himself falling as Harris, Travis Lulay and Jeremiah Masoli continue applying pressure.

In Montreal, Johnny Manziel was much-improved in his second career start, avoiding any major hiccups and completing a higher percentage of his passing attempts.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Zach Collaros will look to replicate their efforts of Week 8 as they come off the bye week.

More in this week’s QB Index:

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

With seven straight wins to open the season, Bo Levi Mitchell has stretched his career record as a starter to 63-10-2. The value of wins and losses for QBs is always a contentious matter, but the link between Mitchell’s play and the Stampeders’ success is glaring. With a career-high 9.3 yards per attempt and 13:4 TD:INT ratio, he’s in the midst of his best season yet.

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

Mike Reilly is enjoying another MOP-calibre campaign, his only blemish being a league-worst eight interceptions (tying him with Jeremiah Masoli). Still, with 23 total touchdowns through the air and on the ground, Reilly is on pace for 52 majors this season. By our estimation no quarterback outside of Doug Flutie has ever hit 50-plus in that regard.

MATT NICHOLS WPG
THIS WEEK: 3 | LAST WEEK: 3

Matt Nichols struggled with accuracy in Week 9, completing 13 of 24 passes while missing some open receivers in a win over the Ticats. The two points are all that matters, yet the Bombers need more consistency from their top signal-caller if they’re going to challenge the CFL’s elite. Four of the Bombers’ five wins this season have come against the East.

JEREMIAH MASOLI HAM
THIS WEEK: 4 | LAST WEEK: 4

Despite leading the CFL’s second-most prolific offence (403 yards per game), Jeremiah Masoli has seen ups and downs throughout his first full season as a starter. The production — 308 yards per game and 9.2 yards per attempt — is entering elite territory, but he’s also thrown as many interceptions (8) as touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Ticats are a disappointing 3-5 to start the season.

TREVOR HARRIS OTT
THIS WEEK: 5 | LAST WEEK: 5

With 44 completions in a win over Montreal, Trevor Harris fell just one connection shy of tying Henry Burris for the all-time single-game record. The veteran quarterback is heating up at the right time, pivoting the REDBLACKS to an East Division-leading 5-3 record while ranking third in the league in both passing yards and touchdowns.

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

The Lions are clearly a different team with Travis Lulay behind centre, most recently upsetting the Edmonton Eskimos with a 31-23 comeback victory. A healthy and productive Lulay gives BC legitimate post-season hopes, even against stiff West Division competition. If you haven’t bought in, now might be the time.

MCLEOD BETHEL-THOMPSON TOR
THIS WEEK: 7 | LAST WEEK: 7

What can McLeod Bethel-Thompson do for an encore? All eyes will be on the Argos’ pivot this weekend, as he makes his second career start against the resurgent BC Lions. In his debut, Bethel-Thompson threw four second-half touchdown passes, erasing a 24-point deficit for a thrilling comeback win vs. the REDBLACKS.

ZACH COLLAROS SSK
THIS WEEK: 8 | LAST WEEK: 8

After returning in Week 8, Zach Collaros is the clear-cut starter for the Riders. The 29-year-old has shown flashes in his first season in Riderville, but much is up in the air with just three starts under his belt. He’ll also be working with a young receiving corps without the services of Duron Carter the rest of the season.

JOHNNY MANZIEL MTL
THIS WEEK: 9 | LAST WEEK: 9

With another week to prepare, Johnny Manziel looked far more comfortable in his second career start, an eventual 24-17 loss to Ottawa. Manziel has the arm talent and vision to succeed in the three-down game, but what really stands out is his ability to evade pressure and improvise on the fly. The ceiling is astronomical, the question is if and when he’ll ever reach it.

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