Two CFL footballs sat on a shelf in Anthony Calvillo's locker, one for each touchdown pass that elevated him to a plateau only a select few quarterbacks in the history of professional football have reached.
Calvillo became the fourth professional quarterback to reach 400 touchdown passes with a pair of first-half strikes to Jamal Richardson, sending the Montreal Alouettes on to a 27-4 win over the Edmonton Eskimos on Thursday night.
He's the only quarterback to throw all 400 touchdowns exclusively in the CFL. The NFL's Brett Favre and Dan Marino and Warren Moon, who starred in both leagues, are the other quarterbacks to reach the milestone.
Calvillo joined the exclusive group with his second touchdown pass to Richardson 12:24 into the second quarter, sending Montreal into the half with a 20-3 lead.
- 8-time East all-star
- 6-time East Division Most Outstanding Player
- 3-time Grey Cup champion
- 3-time CFL Most Outstanding Player
- 2002 Grey Cup Most Valuable Player
- 2470 career Grey Cup passing yards *
- 44 completions in regular-season game *
- 400 career touchdowns *
- 5,199 career completions *
- 70,256 career passing yards
* denotes CFL records
"Even though it is professional football, I'm proud of what we have been able to accomplish here in the Canadian Football League," Calvillo said. "I know there are always comparisons to the NFL but I don't look at it that way. I look at what every quarterback in this league has been able to accomplish and it's definitely special. It's things that you are going to be remembered for, your name is going to be in the record book, and you're going to be talked about."
He also surpassed the 70,000-yard milestone at the outset of the game when he completed a nine-yard pass to Richardson on the game's first play from scrimmage.
"Those things, they're special," Calvillo said. "Those are little things that I'm going to be able to cherish with my family and friends and kids. I've got the 50,000-yard ball at home, the 60,000, and now I have the 70,000. Those are the things that you're able to look at and reflect and be like, 'Man, it's been an amazing journey.' But the one thing that I keep telling myself is I'm not done yet, I'm definitely not done."
The Alouettes won their second in a row, improving to 5-2. Montreal completely shut down Edmonton's running game as the Eskimos posted a net loss of one rushing yard in the game.
"They didn't have an answer for us," Alouettes defensive end Anwar Stewart said.
Edmonton dropped its second straight game after getting to a 5-0 start to the season.
"The game was disappointing," Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said. "The first half was especially disappointing. We came in with the mandate of protecting our quarterback — we haven't done that well in the last few games, and we'll get it straight."
Ricky Ray was sacked five times in the first half, when Montreal held the Eskimos to just 85 yards of total offence, including a loss of six yards rushing overall.
"We've just been playing some sloppy football these last two games," Ray said. "We've got a big game coming up next week against B.C., a Western opponent, and we've just got to use that as a game to get back on track."
'That's my brother'
Calvillo, who turns 39 on August 23, opened the scoring 7:06 in. Richardson caught a 14-yard pass immediately after Kerry Watkins dropped Calvillo's previous attempt when he was wide open in the end zone.
"That's my brother so I've got him," Richardson said. "We look out for each other out there and that's what we do. We're a strong group over here and we make plays when our number's called."
Calvillo's 399th career touchdown pass briefly moved him even with the NFL's Peyton Manning.
"The guy's amazing," Richardson said. "Everything he's getting right now, he deserves. He works hard, he's a great person, and he's a beast. As receivers, you just don't want to let him down."
Sean Whyte kicked the first of his four field goals in the game to make it 10-0 at 11:42. His 12-yard kick came in the wake of Shea Emry's fumble recovery after Chip Cox stripped the ball from Edmonton running back Jerome Messam.
He increased the lead to 13-0 with a 25-yard field goal 2:37 into the second quarter.
Former Alouettes kicker Damon Duval finally got the Eskimos on the board at 9:29 with a 39-yard field goal.
Edmonton made it 20-4 on Duval's single early in the third, but Whyte answered with a 30-yard field goal at 10:14.
"We definitely wanted to come in and win," Ray said. "We've just got to clean up a bunch of things. We're not doing the things that we did those first five games. We're just not executing. We're having penalties, busted assignments, we're just not playing like we did so we've got to look at the film, get some things corrected and get back on track next week."
Richardson caught seven passes for a total of 110 yards.
"That's how I wanted to go into the bye week," Richardson said.
Don Matthews, who coached Montreal to a Grey Cup win in 2002, was introduced to the crowd of 24,448 in a pre-game ceremony. Matthews will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame next month.