Riders’ Cody Fajardo finds holes in the boat, sinks Argos and clinches playoff spot

Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Cody Fajardo sunk the bad ship Argo.


Fajardo passed for three touchdowns and added one on the ground to lead the Riders to a clean 41-16 victory at BMO Field. Fajardo’s first start against the double blue — his first CFL team — saw Saskatchewan’s starter pass for 430 yards, two touchdowns and one rushing major in a 32-7 win.

The Riders’ franchise quarterback distributed the football efficiently to his playmakers, completing 23-of-27 passes for 278 yards to seven different targets.

Kyran Moore scored a 28-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, giving Saskatchewan a 10-3 lead.

Breakout receiver Shaq Evans found the end zone early in the second half to widen Saskatchewan’s lead.

Fajardo displayed his rushing ability, leading the team with 80 yards.

And delivered the knockout blow.

The offensive line kept Fajardo mostly clean with Brendon LaBatte making his 2019 debut at left guard. His veteran presence adds to a front line that’s deep and stout. Dan Clark, Dakoda Shepley, and Dariusz Bladek form the national backbone of the offensive line. Tackles Terran Vaughn and Thaddeus Coleman have been reliable.

Perhaps taking reps against Charleston Hughes for an extended period of time has helped the big men up front. Hughes continues to consistently get after the opposing quarterback.

After being put on the one-game injured list with elbow and knee soreness against Montreal, Hughes had fresh legs and notched two sacks in Toronto. He leads the league with 15 sacks in 12 games.

A strong defensive effort combined with Fajardo’s slicing and dicing clinched a playoff spot for the green and white. Fajardo improves to 9-3 as the Riders’ No. 1 quarterback with his team in position to potentially secure first place in the West Division.

Fajardo’s one-year contract with the Riders runs through the 2019 season and it’s a bargain. Should Fajardo make every possible dollar on his contract he would earn $150,000, which isn’t much for a starting quarter. As Fajardo piles up the wins and accolades his leverage tilts more as discussions have been initiated by Saskatchewan’s front office on a long-term deal.

General manager Jeremy O’Day and the Riders are going to have to pay. It’s going to be a lot of green if Fajardo keeps playing at a high level like he’s done against the Argonauts.