On the same day that Jay Gruden inserted DeSean Jackson at punt returner in search of a second-half spark during a loss at San Francisco, former Redskins return man Brandon Banks had a record-setting game for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Banks had punt return touchdowns of 99 and 88 yards — and a third return touchdown called back because of a penalty — in Hamilton’s 40-24 win over Montreal in the East Division final. Banks finished with 226 return yards, a CFL playoff record.
(This is not to suggest that the Redskins made a mistake in releasing Banks, or that they would be anything other than 3-8 were he still on the team. This is just to note that of course Brandon Banks had a huge game hours before the Redskins suffered another disappointing loss. Is Zach Hocker drilling 75-yard field goals somewhere?)
“It was almost like Casper the Ghost, because we were just grasping at air and he wasn’t there,” Montreal Coach Tom Higgins said of Banks’s second touchdown, which you can watch below. “He had an outstanding performance and hats off to him.”
Montreal is no stranger to Banks’s speedy heroics. Last year, he returned a missed field goal 107 yards for a touchdown in a comeback win against the Alouettes.
Despite the fact that Banks joined the Tiger-Cats late last season, he still fields questions about what it’s like to play in Canada. After Sunday’s win, a reporter asked if he knew what Hamilton was before he arrived.
“I didn’t know what Hamilton was,” said Banks, whose team earned a berth in Sunday’s Grey Cup. “I knew a little bit about the CFL due to [wide receiver] Manny Arceneaux. He was on my Redskins team. He taught me a little bit, but before I got in the car, I didn’t know nothing about it.”
Another reporter asked Banks if he met up with childhood friend and Wizards guard John Wall last week.
“I flew out because I was on a bye week,” Banks said. “I flew out. He called me when he got here and I was on the plane, so I couldn’t get to him.”