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October 23, 2018

BOUNCING BACK

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 20, 2018: The Calgary Stampeders lost 29-24 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon Stadium on Saturday. (Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Stampeders)

Whether from afar, his Hamilton years outside the frame, or now, up close inside the guts of the machine, Emanuel Davis has understood the standard.

“It’s tradition, right?’’ offers the Calgary Stampeders’ defensive back, forming the thought in more of a statement than a question. “This may be my first year here but since I’ve been in this league the Stampeders have had a history of winning.

“And a history of playing great defence.

“So there’s no reason to be pushing any panic buttons.

“(Saturday) was no fun to be a part of, you always hate to lose, but in a way you kinda want to get tested going down the stretch. In a way, you don’t want everything to be going too smooth. Because things aren’t always going to run smooth, they aren’t always going to go your way, when it counts most – playoff time.

“We’re going to have deal with adversity to get where we want, what we want.

“And (Saturday) gave us a little taste of that.”

Such a rock through a CFL-best 12-4 record through 19 weeks, Saturday’s 29-25 defeat by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, ranks as arguably the toughest day at work for the customarily-staunch Stampeder defensive resistance.

“We weren’t quite as locked in as usual,’’ admitted head coach Dave Dickenson.

The 492 yards in offence quarterback Zach Collaros and his battery mates collaborated on represented a season high allowed, the 34:40 time logged on field the second most of 2018, a mere second less than the Sept. 8th Labour Day week rematch due north at Commonwealth Stadium.

They’ve given up more points this year and been stung for more passing yards, but usually their unit is the one dictating game tempo, not vice-versa.

“At the the end of the day, we’ve gotta make plays to get off the field and get our offence the ball back,’’ said defensive co-ordinator DeVone Claybrooks, following Tuesday practice at McMahon Stadium. “We had them in a lot of second and longs, downs we typically win but didn’t the other night.

“That was kinda the disparity in the total, because we were on the field so long. They put together two 13-play drives which is very uncharacteristic of our defence.

“But the best thing about our guys is that they’re able to reload. You’ve gotta wash the taste from that game out of your mouth and move on.”

On, in this case, meaning Winnipeg, land of The Golden Boy, a Salisbury House Big Nip and fries and mosquitos the size of the winged monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, looking to finally nail down first place in the West on a third try.

“In pro football, man, the other team’s going to make plays,’’ reminds the man-mountain in the middle of defensive front, Micah Johnson. “They have coaches, they scheme things up, as well.

“But after losses like that last one you’ve got to be critical of yourself. You’ve got to be honest. That’s how you correct mistakes.

“That’s what we do a good job of, in my opinion. Being honest and getting things corrected. Being tight, communicating with each other, is huge for us.

“We want to get back out there as soon as possible – I know I do – and re-confirm the kind of defence we know we are.”

That opportunity arrives Friday at Investors Group Field.

“Keep moving forward,’’ advised middle linebacker Alex Singleton. “If you live in the past, live on that one bad week of an 18-game season … it’s just not worth it.

“They played well, you can’t take that away from them, but a lot of stuff was us not doing the right things. And maybe it’s a good thing, going through one of those games where you make mistakes and get punched in the mouth for them.

“It doesn’t happen often. And you don’t want it happening often. But sometimes you need reminding that it is possible.

“It wasn’t like everyone was making mistakes on the same play. But it seemed as if everyone was taking a turn making a mistake.

“Let it go but don’t forget it, if that makes sense.

“If you’re gonna hang your head, you’re going to go out and lose a couple more.

“We still control our own destiny.

“It’s easier said than done, I know, but our job is to go out and win a game. So let’s go do it.”