October 28, 2017

Stamps struggle versus Eskimos

Photo by Dale MacMillan

For the first time since the early going of the 2012 season, the Stamps are officially on a losing streak.

With the 29-20 loss to the Eskimos on Saturday night, the Stampeders – who were previously 9-1 in their last 10 visits to Edmonton – have dropped two straight games for the first time since Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2012 season.

Dave Dickenson had been 4-0 in his head-coaching career when matched up with the Esks and counterpart Jason Mass was winless in four meetings with the Stamps before tonight’s result.

For the visitors, Rene Paredes’ field goals of 17 and 44 yards preceded an Anthony Parker stretch over the goal line from 10 yards out. With two minutes left, Kamar Jorden would find pay dirt to bring it with six.

The Green and Gold posted a pair of touchdowns courtesy of Adarius Bowman and one via Brandon Zylstra of 77 yards in addition to two of punt singles from Hugh O’Neill. Swayze Waters rounded out the scoring with a couple of three-point kicks.

“I don’t think we tackled overly well,” said Dickenson. “We were close but not quite making any plays. Our defence has been getting a lot of love, which is justifiable, but they have to step it up. I don’t think the last couple games has been their best and they have to improve.”

To conclude the opening quarter, Shaquille Richardson blindsided Mike Reilly to jar the ball loose and Micah Johnson would also drop the QB on the very next snap.

A turnover on downs by the Eskimos offence in the early stages of the second set up a Jerome Messam run of 15 yards and Paredes’ first field goal.

In response to the evening’s opening points, Derel Walker hauled in a toss of 45 yards to precede Bowman’s major. The veteran receiver was left all alone in the end zone to give Edmonton the lead, which they would never relinquish.

DaVaris Daniels’ 38-yard reception down the sideline was the longest play from scrimmage by the Stampeders.

“I think we dropped too many balls, I think Bo slung the ball out there pretty good,” Dickenson said. “He was spinning it and we probably had four or five drops that you can’t have against a good team. I think we took a small step forward as an offence. If we can cut out the penalties, I thought we had pretty good execution.”

With 307 passing yards, Bo Levi Mitchell connected with eight different receivers. Meanwhile, 12 different defenders made a tackle, including two by Danny Mason in the defensive lineman’s CFL debut.

Just 10 rushing attempts by Stampeders players and 80 yards of penalties on nine infractions proved to be costly.

“I did like the effort,” admitted Dickenson. “We’re not really playing for a position, but we understand that this is professional sports and every game matters. The effort was good. Our guys bought in and put it out there. We were a little loose on some of the important parts of the game. We struggled with the penalty battle, we definitely took way too many penalties. I didn’t love our return game and special teams, we had poor field position. Edmonton played hard, played well and we couldn’t match their execution, so we ultimately lost.”

On a positive note for Calgary, Charleston Hughes tied the franchise record of 99 career sacks, while Alex Singleton broke the team’s all-time tackle mark with his 117th of the season.

Calgary, now 13-3-1 and still the best in the West, will finish off their regular-season schedule on Friday at McMahon Stadium against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before next hosting the Western Final on Sunday, Nov. 19.