CFL 'Quick Kicks': Week 1 - What Did We Learn?

By Chris Lawton

Welcome to a new weekly review of each CFL game week for the 2024 season. ‘Quick Kicks’ will bring you week to week news of how the games went, scores, surprises, and a general feel of ‘what we learned’ from the games.

Let’s dive right in. Even before a ball was kicked there was a great deal of excitement. The league has done a phenomenal job of hyping up the new season this year. At the heart of that is the ‘Keep it Unreal’ campaign from Juliet Creative. As Kati Snell, head of strategy as Juliet is quoted as saying, “The CFL is all about huge plays, rivalries, skill and above all else, fun”. And of course, fun was had in Week one.

Everything kicked off with a win for the defending champion Montreal Alouettes, who came out of Winnipeg with a 27-12 win over the Blue Bombers. This was the first time an Als/Bombers’ game had opened a CFL season since 2016. They have met in Week 1 on seven occasions, and perhaps the signs were there, because the Als are now 7-0 against Winnipeg in Week 1 matchups.

One of the things that Montreal rode to their Grey Cup win last year was a solid defensive platform. That was on show again in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers, who are known for their offensive success, they held the hosts to 12 points and forced three turnovers. Of note too, Tyson Philpot who caught the winning TD in the 2023 Grey Cup caught the first TD of the 2024 season. This really was a statement win for the Als who now haven’t lost since the 15th of September last year, and have won 9 games in a row, including 3 playoff wins.

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That was followed by a 32-24 win for the Calgary Stampeders against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. With the win Calgary became the first team to reach 700 wins as a franchise. (They are now 700-556-21 in the regular season making them one of the most successful regular-season teams in league history). This was also Calgary Head Coach Dave Dickenson’s 80th career win (80-41-2).

Key for the Stamps was an accurate performance from QB Jake Maier who went 21 of 26 for 252 yards and 2 TD’s, while kicker Rene Paredes was super-accurate going 6 of 6 on his Field Goal tries.

The third game of the week saw a fourth quarter comeback land the Saskatchewan Roughriders land a 29-21 win over the Edmonton Elks in Edmonton. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here was how good the Elks looked through three quarters before letting it slip. This may have been a case of Edmonton snatching defeat from the draws of victory. They are not that far removed from setting a record for consecutive home defeats, and still need to move the needle to that winning mindset when in charge in a game.

On the flipside, debut Head Coach Corey Mace will have been happy to see his Riders show the character to come back from 21-8 down in the final period and put up 21 unanswered points.

Saskatchewan QB Trevor Harris who finished 22 of 31 for 305 yards with 3 majors and 2 picks became the 19th player to pass 30,000 yards passing in a CFL career. The main beneficiary was WR Shawn Bane Jr who had 5 catches for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns. Which included 40- and 33-yard scores in the fourth quarter.

The Roughriders have now won 10 of their past 12 matchups with Edmonton. All those games have been decided in the last 3 minutes of gametime and by less than a single score on average. Edmonton fans will take hope for the team’s 75th season in the way they handled business right up until the comeback.

Rounding out Week 1 were the Toronto Argonauts hosting the BC Lions. Despite not making the Grey Cup the Argos were coming off an amazing year, while the Lions who will host the Grey Cup this year, are looking to take a step further in the playoffs. Toronto put down a marker with a 35-27 win while both team showed they cold be competitive this season.

With this win Toronto have now won 10 consecutive regular-season games at home. They have also now beaten the Lions for the fourth time in a row at BMO Field.

Despite Saskatchewan pipping Edmonton by a single score, this may have been the best game of the weekend. It swung back and forth and had plenty of big play action. Both teams had dominant periods. After Toronto opened the scoring, BC put up 20 unanswered points only for it to be tied at 23 each halfway through the third quarter. The Lions had their last lead at 27-26 in the fourth before Toronto finished it all off.

The Argos held the Lions to 7 second half points, all from kicks. They recorded six sacks, and despite being outdone for most stats forced 5 turnovers to just 1 lost. “Win the turnover battle and you win the game” is an adage for a reason, and it applied again here.

Cam Dukes made an efficient showing at QB for the Double Blue going 21 of 27 for 254 yards and 3 TD’s as well as running in the score that sealed it. Vernon Adams Jr. also showed good form for BC going 25 of 33 for 363 yards and 1 TD – but he did throw a pick.

MOP's - Week 1:

O – Tyson Philpot (Montreal), 10 catches on 11 targets, for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns.

D – Demerio Houston (Calgary), 7 tackles and 1 pick returned 24 yards.

ST – Renee Paredes (Calgary), 6 for 6 on Field Goals and 8 for 8 on all kicks.

Interdivisional Standings Week One: East Division 2, West Division 1



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK