HAMILTON — The Saskatchewan Roughriders became difficult to stop when Brandon Bridge finally settled in at quarterback.
The Mississauga, Ont., native started the third straight game for Saskatchewan and took most of the snaps against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field on Thursday night, rallying the Roughriders from a 17-7 first-half deficit to a 31-20 win.
Bridge finished the night with 17-of-22 pass completions for 165 yards and one touchdown.
That wasn’t the game plan going in, though.
Saskatchewan head coach Chris Jones planned to continue what he had been doing since Zach Collaros went down in Week 2 — switching up quarterbacks between Bridge and backup David Watford as the game necessitated.
In Saskatchewan’s last game, at home against Hamilton, Jones changed between Bridge and Watford drive-to-drive six times. This time, it was Bridge’s game, save for Watford’s 2-of-3 passing for 13 yards.
Jones said Bridge looked comfortable and he didn’t see a need to make the switches.
“Brandon did a real nice job,” said Jones. “He threw for a very high completion (percentage) and took care of the football.”
“We just had opportunities and we were having pretty good success on first-and-10 doing what we were doing and so we just hung with it.”
In the first half, Bridge completed 8-of-12 pass attempts for 82 yards and the Roughriders were down 17-7. But he was near-perfect in the second half, completing 9-of-10 attempts for 83 yards and one touchdown, a 24-yard pass to Naaman Roosevelt. It was Bridge’s first TD pass of the season.
Bridge said he felt like he was in a rhythm, especially after the TD pass.
“Definitely after that second drive of the second half,” Bridge said. “We started to get a couple of passes in and then we got that shot play out to Naaman. After that, I felt like I was in my groove and I started to feel it.”
That’s when Bridge figured the game plan would change.
“After the touchdown I really felt I was actually probably going to get the rest of the game depending on how we did,” Bridge said. “I know how coach Jones is. If something isn’t broken he’s not going to fix it. He kind of left us all out there and we started rolling.”
Both teams return to the field next Saturday. Hamilton hosts Ottawa while Saskatchewan welcomes Calgary.
Carol Phillips, The Canadian Press