By the Numbers: Comparing Kelly's season to past Argonauts QBs
Through 14 weeks of the 2023 Canadian Football League season, Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly is putting together a year worth remembering.
Not only has the Buffalo native helped the Argonauts (10-1) punch their playoff ticket amid a Grey Cup repeat bid, but the second-year pivot did so emphatically, throwing for 278 yards against the Montreal Alouettes in a 39-10 win on Saturday.
Entering Week 15, Kelly and the Argonauts have an opportunity to lock up the East Division in the second game of a home-and-home with the Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday.
Watch Kelly and the Toronto Argonauts take on Cody Fajardo and the Montreal Alouettes in the rubber match to kick off a Friday Night Football doubleheader on TSN starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT LIVE on TSN3/4, TSN.ca, and the TSN App.
Sitting fourth in the CFL in passing with 2,881 yards and third in touchdowns with 18, it's Kelly's production on the ground that's transported fans back to the late '90s, when Doug Flutie manned the pocket.
The Argonauts have had a bountiful quarterback room over their nearly 150-year history, with names like Hall of Famers in Flutie, Damon Allen and Ricky Ray, to name a few, all shining under centre.
But how does Kelly's current season stack up against those past Double Blue greats?
All three of the aforementioned QBs have their names forever enshrined in the Argos' record books for the most passing yards in a season.
Flutie holds the distinction as the Argonauts’ single-season passing leader with 5,720 yards in 18 games during the Boatmen's magical 1996 Grey Cup-winning season. He also owns the third-most passing yards record with 5,505 a season later.
The Boston College icon, known for the famous 'Hail Flutie' play against Miami in 1984, also holds the single-season passing record for the Calgary Stampeders (6,092) set in 1993.
Ray posted the second-best season by an Argonauts quarterback (5,546 yards) in 2017 during the team’s Grey Cup run. Allen's 5,082-yard season in 2005 and Kerwin Bell's 4,991 passing yards in 1998 round out the top five seasons.
While Kelly is unlikely to surpass Ray for the single-season passing record, there are two areas he could see his name in the record book: single-season rushing touchdowns and passer efficiency.
The current record for the most rushing touchdowns in a season belongs to James Franklin, whose 14 touchdowns in 2018 surpassed the previous record of 12 touchdowns shared by Gill Fenerty (1987) and Robert Drummond (1997).
Earning a CFL-best eight rushing touchdowns so far this season, Kelly needs just six more to tie Franklin and seven to take the crown.
Kelly’s 70.1 completion percentage is best among CFL starters, and his 114.5 passer efficiency is only bested by three-time Grey Cup champion Zach Collaros.
If Kelly can maintain his play he has a chance to challenge one of Ray’s four records (77.2 in 2013, 74.5 in 2016, 71.0 in 2017, and 68.6 in 2012) and Trevor Harris’ 71.0 season in 2015 for one of the most efficient seasons put together by an Argonaut quarterback.