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October 30, 2016

Red and White denied by Als

Calgary Stampeders Lemar Durant runs for yards during 1st half CFL action against the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal Quebec, Sunday October 30, 2016. (CFL PHOTO - Peter McCabe)

In search of a franchise-best 16th win, the Calgary Stampeders’ 16-game unbeaten streak came to an end in Week 19 versus the Montreal Alouettes.

The 17-8 defeat at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in the Stampeders’ regular-season finale featured Drew Tate’s first start of the season as head coach Dave Dickenson opted to sideline Bo Levi Mitchell.

“I’ve got to watch the film, but (Montreal does) a good jo,” says Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson.” They played us tough the last time we played them as well. But I think it will pay dividends if Drew needs to play the next time. He will be better. It was an overall team loss – there wasn’t one person I think that played their best game, so we’ve got to look in the mirror and make sure we’re better.”

Tate completed his first three passes on Calgary’s opening drive, connecting with Kamar Jorden, Lemar Durant and DaVaris Daniels. The series would conclude with a Rene Paredes field goal from 39 yards out.

Montreal’s initial possession came to a premature conclusion with a second-down sack by Cordarro Law of the Stamps.

The running back duo of Jerome Messam and Tory Harrison then gained 32 yards and a pair of first downs along the ground in a six-play span. However, with the offence set up in the red zone, an errant Tate toss intended for Daniels was intercepted by Khalid Wooten.

The Alouettes were unable to move the chains after the turnover and instead elected to concede a safety, giving the visitors a 5-0 advantage with just over one minute remaining in quarter No. 1.

Early on in the second, Charleston Hughes brought down Vernon Adams, Jr. to extend his league-leading sack total to 16 on the season.

A 25-yard reception by Simon Charbonneau-Campeau preceded Tate’s second pick of the day. Defensive back Tyree Hollins was in perfect position to come down with the deep heave.

Montreal would cap off the ensuing 12-play, 95-yard sequence with a Brandon Rutley run of three yards to cross the goal line. Prior to the touchdown, Nik Lewis mad his fourth reception on the afternoon to surpass 1,000 yards for the year. The ex-Stampeder achieved the milestone for the 10th time of his career and first as an Alouette.

Soon thereafter, Stefan Logan exploded up the middle for a 32-yard punt return, but he was stopped short of midfield where time would expire.

Due to an injury sustained by Adams, Jr., backup QB Rakeem Cato entered the action and floated a ball downfield to Tiquan Underwood in stride for a 37-yard TD.

Next, with nothing but green grass ahead, Cato’s quarterback draw went for 73 yards all the way down to the Stamps’ seven-yard line. Alex Singleton then did his part in preventing any further damage, nearly coming up with a surefire pick-six on the following play before tying up BJ Cunningham short of pay dirt. A third-down gamble by third-string pivot Shane Carden was also denied as the visitors took over deep inside their own territory.

Andrew Buckley of Calgary would eventually be stopped short of moving the chains as well to put a halt to some much-needed momentum, enabling the Alouettes to take over in immediate scoring position. After another Law takedown, Bede spilt the uprights with a 36-yard kick and extended the lead to 12.

When Calgary was put in another short-yard scenario minutes later, Anthony Parker released from the line of scrimmage to provide Buckley with a wide-open target for a 13-yard pickup. The Stampeders climbed to within nine once Paredes knocked through a chip shot of 23 yards.

The Red and White’s offence managed to take five minutes off the clock in the latter stages of the final frame, although they were denied any points whatsoever.

“It just wasn’t a good day for us,” says Dickenson. “We just couldn’t come up with any plays and there was no excitement. You could tell the guys want it, but also it just wasn’t the same out there and you just can’t fake it. You can’t fake football and you’ve got play physical and you’ve got to play with your shoulder pads. We just weren’t able to get it done.”

The Stamps will now enjoy two straight bye weeks before hosting the Western Final on Sunday, Nov. 20 from McMahon Stadium starting at 2:30 p.m.