In my humble opinion, one of the big differences between how Canadian football and American football are played is the way quarterbacks do their jobs. With the longer, wider field, if a QB finds an opening, he's going for a run. And those runs rarely end with him sliding feet-first to avoid the hit.
Bo Levi Mitchell of the Calgary Stampeders is a perfect example.
As the starter for the Stamps this year, Mitchell is making a case for consideration as the CFL's MVP. He's currently third in passing (2,426 yards), second in touchdown passes (15) and first in QB rating (100.5).
Mitchell has also set a CFL record as of Saturday's decisive 41-34 win over the Edmonton Eskimos—he has now started his career with a 12-1 record, which no one has ever done. Not Warren Moon, not Ron Lancaster, not Joe Thiesmann, not Doug Flutie and not Jeff Garcia.
Another facet where he has excelled this year has been running the ball. He has rushed 25 times for 186 yards and four touchdowns, in spite of the fact that backup QB Drew Tate has been handling most of the short-yardage duties this season.
Part of what Mitchell is doing when running the ball—what many CFL quarterbacks do—is putting his head down and going for the extra yardage while scrambling, rather than wimping out and trotting to the sidelines or sliding when the defense gets close.
This was the case once again on Saturday in Edmonton.
In the third quarter, with Calgary already up 24-10, Mitchell took the snap on Edmonton's 20-yard line. Seeing no open receivers, Mitchell scrambled through a seam in the pocket. Slipping a tackle at the line of scrimmage, he scampered forward, beating three more Eskimos by juking and powering forward before finally diving at the goal line to sneak the ball past the goal-line pylon for the major.
See the play on CFL.ca here.
And that's not the first time this year Mitchell has powered through the defense for a touchdown. Check out this play on a faked field goal where Mitchell takes the snap, sprints left around the O-line and takes three pretty good shots on his 10-yard run to the end zone.
And that, to me, is just classic CFL-style football.
In spite of the fact that the league has always played a pass-first style, in spite of how critical it is to have a quality passer under centre to win games, QBs in the CFL game are rarely pure pocket passers. If you can't scramble and use the big field to your advantage, this is not the league for you.
Bo Levi Mitchell seems to have that part of the Canadian game pretty well figured out.
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