July 7, 2017

Calgary victorious in clash with Bombers

Calgary Stampeders Jerome Messam (33) dodges a tackle by Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Brandon Alexander (21) during the first half of CFL action in Winnipeg Friday, July 7, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

On the road at Investors Group Field, the Calgary Stampeders beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by a score of 29-10 to improve to 2-0-1 on the season.

With tonight’s win, Bo Levi Mitchell now sports a 17-0-2 record in his last 19 regular-season starts. As for his counterpart, Matt Nichols dropped to 0-7 in his career against the Red and White.

Calgary has not lost at the home of the Blue and Gold since 2009 and has outlasted Winnipeg in 17 of their last 18 meetings overall.

A Shaquille Richardson quarterback hit preceded a Maleki Harris sack to put an end to Winnipeg’s opening drive, and the Stamps defence would deny the home team once again when the unit returned to the field.

After the Blue Bombers accumulated five first downs spanning two possessions, Nichols threw a red-zone interception to Joshua Bell who was perfectly positioned in the back of the end zone.

“It was great for them to play so well,” said Dave Dickenson post-game when asked about the performance of his defence. “They created a lot of turnovers, tackled well and they were up against a great group at home that was playing well. They led the charge. And then offensively, we just kind of (had to) ground it out. We were making plays here and there and then finally we started hitting a few. Not as sharp as I’d like, but a great win for our team.”

Two more changes of possession in favour of Calgary – a denial of Dan LeFevour on third-and-one and an Andrew Buckley fumble recovery on a missed field goal return – enabled the visitors to jump out to an early lead.

Terry Williams’ 37-yard catch-and-run in response to the initial turnover set up the game’s first points courtesy of Paredes who spilt the uprights from 17 yards out.

The Stamps would later be stopped on the cusp of the goal line for five straight plays, however a Kamar Jorden end-around would finally find pay dirt. Bo Levi Mitchell looked for Jorden again on the two-point conversion but TJ Heath jumped the out-route to limit the damage to six points.

Minutes later, the Winnipeg defensive back would once again pick off the Stampeders star to set up an eventual Julian Feoli-Gudino touchdown as the sixth-year receiver broke free from a would-be tackler.

Justin Medlock’s 24-yard chip shot rounded out the scoring before the break.

Winnipeg’s run of 10 unanswered points came to a halt when Rene Paredes knocked through a 20-yard boot to reclaim the lead. The advantage was soon extended when Harris scored his second career TD in as many games when he leaped near the line of scrimmage to intercept Nichols and run it back untouched.

Significant yardage on offence was gained in the third with catches by Jorden (45 yards), DaVaris Daniels (18) and Williams (26) in advance of Jorden escaping behind the secondary for his fifth major in just three games this year.

“I thought he was assignment-sound,” Dickenson said regarding Jorden, who totaled six grabs for 97 yards. “He’s tough to cover, he really is. He did a great job. He’s got size, he’s got speed, he’s catching the ball. To me, he was very tough to stop.”

In the 15-minute period alone, Mitchell went 11-of-14 for 178 yards to go along with the aforementioned touchdown toss. He would finish the evening with over 300 passing yards for the 21st time in 54 all-time appearances.

“Everyone’s playing a zone, zone, zone and trying to make Bo be patient,” Dickenson explained. “We’re expecting that, but we’ve just got to make sure we stay patient and get (yards after the catch). They also have a really good front, so even though there was a lot of guys dropping, they were still getting some pressure on him and getting hits on him. To be honest, one decision I didn’t like. Other than that, I thought he was real good.”

A successful 30-yard field goal from Paredes was the final play of the night.

Alex Singleton finished with an unmatched total of nine tackles and Jerome Messam led all players with 71 yards rushing.

Next week’s matchup will take place in Montreal versus the Alouettes on Friday, July 14 at 5 p.m. MDT with the Stamps looking to extend their unbeaten streak to begin 2017.