Stampeders Open 2018 Season with Win vs. Ti-Cats

It wasn’t pretty, but it worked. Two points is two points and you need all you can in a 9-team league. The Calgary Stampeders opened their fresh 2018 season at home versus the Hamilton Ti-Cats. There are a lot of question marks coming into this season with some of the highest veteran turnover in recent memory. Key pieces from defensive line, running back, and the secondary, have been replaced with younger, cheaper, and just as talented versions.

Calgary is the team to beat once again this season, despite what pundits may try to tell you. The CFL is dominated by the West, and the Stamps will lead the charge. Of course, in the CFL all of that doesn’t matter since any crap team can play 3 good games and win the Grey Cup. See Toronto from last year. That’s the nature of a league that’s so small.

For the Stampeders, it’s the same story. Exciting dominant football, and the team being their own worst enemy. The first game rust was evident. Look no further than the opener storyline–red-zone production.

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Major D Changes for Stamps – Charleston Hughes Traded

For two seasons in a row, the Calgary Stampeders have lost in the Grey Cup Final. Neither was a problem on the D, in fact, the unit has been among the league’s best.

Yet the Stampeders will have two massive components gone from their lineup for the 2018 season. S Josh Bell will move to a coaching role, and today, Charleston Hughes was traded to Hamilton for a bag of balls.

You can’t fault for Hufnagel for making his decisions. He gets the benefit of the doubt as he’s built Championship (almost) teams consistently. He’s always made hard choices that wound up being the right ones. Plus, the CFL is a business, and Hughes makes top dollar (in a kind of defensive line in the CFL way). He had one year left and probably hoped to finish his career out here, but Huf isn’t interested in making friends. He wants to win within the cap.

Doesn’t make the move any easier for fans who simply see top talent go to a competitor. Hughes will be missed as a great ambassador in the community, but also one of the best linemen in Stamps history.

Cataclysmic Failure Two Years in Row – Calgary Loses Grey Cup Yet Again

Calgary 24 – Toronto 27

Tomorrow all the talk will be about Dave Dickenson. Whether or not he will be back as a coach or whether a full house cleaning is in order. Tonight, however, the Stampeders demonstrated their inability to close the deal.

There are no real sports equivalent (that I can think of) that describes that magnitude of failure the Calgary Stampeders experienced. And this not at the hands of their opponents, rather, self-inflicted wounds. For TWO straight Championship games, the Stampeders found a way to lose in the final minute.

Despite a strong regular season that saw the team finish at the top of the league, in a tiny nine team league, nobody cares. Everyone practically gets a shot, and you have to win the big game or the season is a bust. For the Stamps, they have the makings of a dynasty, except the most critical thing–Championships.

Instead of a dynasty we’re looking at a team that comes in second place, can’t close the deal, can’t win the big game, can’t find a play call that’s right, can’t make big plays when it matters. That’s not a dynasty team, that’s a nothing team that nobody will remember.

What fans will remember, however, is the magnitude of the loss, and how it was exactly the same as last year. One bad play call, one that left everyone on the field shaking their heads, and the result, not merely a loss of a Championship, but literally HANDING the Grey Cup to the opposing team. The Stamps shot themselves in the foot, self-inflicted wounds that the Argos were happy to capitalize on. Despite controlling every single part of the game, the whole thing was won on 3 plays.

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Morning Embers: Calgary Heads to 105th Grey Cup

Stampeders 32 – Eskimos 28

Most agree, last night’s game was the Grey Cup, with the two top teams in the league squaring off. No offence to Toronto, who will use their underdog card as motivation for Sunday’s Grey Cup Final.

For Calgary, they re-asserted themselves as the league’s best. A tall order given the fact they hadn’t played a meaningful football game for a month after locking up first place in the West early. The tapered off at the end of the regular season posting three straight losses. Which team would show up for the win-or-go-home West Final?

Well after the first quarter it looked like a blow out–for Edmonton.

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Stampeders Make Statement in Season Finale–They’re Weak

calgary 23 – winnipeg 5

The Calgary Stampeders have now lost three games in a row and look out of sorts at the worst time of the year. It’s true, those three games mattered little. They were so far ahead of the pack they locked up home field advantage a month ago. But that also meant the team lacked purpose coming down the stretch. As other teams started ramping up their success, Calgary dipped.

The elements in last night’s game didn’t help matters for starting QB Andrew Buckley. He struggled all game. His first throw was a pick-six. The Oline has struggled for a month. That means the run game non-existent, and the QB has no time to throw. The receivers are still down with injury or struggling to find their groove. The D, once dominant, is showing vulnerability against the run and the deep threat.

A lot of questions coming into the bye week for the team. Bo Mitchell sat tonight which means he’ll be playing 3 weeks rest. There should be enough healthy bodies back in the fold come November 17th .The question is, will the Stampeders bring a level of execution needed to win in the West Final? They need to find their game to secure two more wins, or it’ll be another lost and disappointing season, regardless of what the regular season record was.

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Two Losses in a Row Coming into Final Week

Week 19 in the CFL which means one thing, Grey Cup is just around the corner. As the weather turns across Canada, the playoff picture has all but solidified. The teams have been decided, some long ago, but the placement, who gets home-field advantage, that’s up for grabs. In the West, Edmonton has found their groove along with Saskatchewan. Winnipeg is suffering injuries late, and Toronto is, well, a team out East.

The question Stamps fans are wondering–has the team regressed? After two back-to-back losses against divisional rivals, and another one next week, is this team going to disappoint in the post-season for a third straight year?

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Last Second Win Exposes Weaknesses in Stamps Game

This game was a lot closer than it should’ve been. But when you look at the stakes, Calgary had nothing to lose, but the Hamilton Ti-Cats? A loss coupled with a Renegades win would spell the end to their dim playoff aspirations. What you saw on the field was Hamilton’s best effort of the season. But the difference between great teams and good ones are wins. Great teams find ways to win despite the odds. The Stampeders had an off night. The offence was non-existent, Messam rushing yards was 11, Mitchell with 279 but 1 int. The D scored the points in the first quarter. You have to forget about efforts like this. A last second field goal, after tying late, and a hail mary pass that got a PI call, was all that separated a win from a loss.

But it’s a good thing, this late in the season, that this team faces adversity. They can work on some kinks before the real deal begins, the playoffs. Doesn’t matter if you break records in regular season wins, you have to win Grey Cups if you want to claim the identity of, ‘Dynasty’.