After their dominant performance against the entire Eastern division, the Stampeders started to test their game against the West with games late in July against Saskatchewan and later vs BC. Their perfect record held against BC on the weekend as the Stamps proved once again they’re the top of the CFL class.
A few teams have been hanging on until the second half, but a complete 60 minute game without killers mistakes (kind of like the Calgary Flames), sets this team apart from the rest. On all sides of the ball the team is finding success, and there’s still obvious room to build.
The Stamps are an impressive 17-0 after coming off bye-weeks and they continued their perfect ways on the road against the Redblacks. It seems to be the ongoing theme of the young season in the CFL–Stampeder domination.
Of course, in this league it doesn’t matter if you post an 18-0 run, it matters if you can win the last two. Stamps haven’t been able to do that in the past two seasons. But it’s still fun in between.
Week 3 in the CFL and the Stamps are a perfect 3-0 continuing their dominance of the Eastern Division. This game was close until the 4th quarter as both defences dominated throughout 3 quarters. Teams should know by now, although Calgary usually comes out slow out of the game, they are a well coached team that will play hard for 60 minutes. They routinely pull out in front in 4th quarters as other teams start to make mistakes.
The Stamps, coming off their victory last week against Toronto, struggled to generate offence throughout the first half. Bo Mitchell, throwing over 90% last week, was off target early and often. This game only broke open when the D decided to step up and make some plays.
Keys to Victory
Calgary 41 – Argos 7
How dominant was it? Real dominant. Coming off a lacklustre performance last week, the Calgary offence looked to redeem themselves against the Argos. The whole team had something to prove after their last minute collapse in the 2017 Grey Cup Final. Despite some key player turnover, this year’s Stampeders look dangerous. Chief among them–the receiving corps.
Calgary came out of the gate strong and took a commanding 10-0 lead in the first quarter. They were threatening again in the redzone when nightmares from the Grey Cup Final returned. Bo Mitchell fumbled the ball that Toronto scooped up and returned for what looked like a sure 6 points.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.