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Who played in week 1? CFL’s top performers on offense, defense and special teams

It was a strong opening weekend for the CFL as three of the four games were decided by one possession. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were the only team not to score more than 20 points in their loss to the Montreal Alouettes, with the rest of the offenses clearly visible.

There were plenty of highlights this weekend, but we’ve limited ourselves to the top players on offense, defense and special teams.

June 9, 2024;  Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Toronto Argonauts quarterback Cameron Dukes (11) appears to make a pass against the BC Lions at BMO Field.  Mandatory credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

June 9, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Argonauts quarterback Cameron Dukes (11) appears to make a pass against the BC Lions at BMO Field. Mandatory credits: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

With quarterback Chad Kelly out and Cameron Dukes running the show, not many pundits gave the Toronto Argonauts a chance to beat BC on Sunday. Little did anyone know, Dukes would light it up, completing 77.8% of his passes for 254 passing yards and four total touchdowns in the Argos’ 35-27 victory over the Lions. Outside of his fumble in the second quarter, Dukes played well and that shouldn’t be doubted as long as he starts.

March 3, 2019;  Tempe, AZ, USA;  Arizona Hotshots linebacker Nyles Morgan (55) against the Atlanta Legends during an AAF football game at Sun Devil Stadium.  Mandatory credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 3, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Hotshots linebacker Nyles Morgan (55) against the Atlanta Legends during an AAF football game at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyles Morgan was all over the field making tackles in a losing effort. Morgan finished with nine tackles and two tackles for loss, nearly contributing to an interception of Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Trevor Harris, which was called back on a penalty. The Riders had just 40 rushing yards in the 29-21 loss to the Elks, thanks in part to Morgan’s presence.

August 25, 2022;  Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN;  Calgary Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes (30) scores a field goal in the first half against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Field.  Mandatory credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

August 25, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Calgary Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes (30) scores a field goal in the first half against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports / Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Stampeders were in a close battle with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their 32-24 win on Friday night. As the Stamps offense moved the ball down the field, they struggled to get into the end zone. Kicker Rene Paredes chipped in with six made field goals, including a long 52 for the second-longest field goal of his career. Without those 18 points, Calgary would have lost to Hamilton.

You can follow Anthony Miller on X @ByAnthonyMiller.

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