If there was anyone still believing that the West Division had no clear favourite they have to change their tune now.
The Calgary Stampeders put to rest any doubts about who is the top team in the CFL with what transpired on Labour Day.
The Edmonton Eskimos were simply outclassed by the Stamps to the tune of a 39-18 score that wasn’t as close as a 21-point victory sounds.
Roy Finch scored on a 90-yard punt return, Jerome Messam punched in two touchdowns and Anthony Parker — playing in his 100th game — scored on a 24-yard rush.
The Stamps defence did the rest, shutting down Mike Reilly and the Eskimos offence until they put some late points up.
All three phases are coming together for the Stamps, and now with the second half of the season starting, this team would probably just like to fast forward to the post-season.
This year is unfolding much like last year did when the Stamps went 15-2-1 with a long winning streak through the summer and into the fall. Labour Day is the sixth straight win for the Stamps, who have vaulted to the top of the West Division.
With the Blue Bombers losing in Saskatchewan and the Eskimos loss, the Stamps are three points up on both of them, which essentially means they are two games up due to their tie against Ottawa to start the season.
The Stamps are virtually impossible to beat at home, upping their record to 5-0 at McMahon Stadium this year.
If they can get through this stretch of their season without a loss, they might be home free to host another West final with 60 minutes to qualify for a trip to Ottawa.
The rematch with Edmonton goes Saturday at Commonwealth, then they take on the B.C. Lions at home and are in Regina to face a suddenly hot Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Those are all key divisional matchups that mean if they can keep this run going, they can basically set themselves apart from the field.
It’s hard to see any flaws in the Stamps right now, but of course there is an injury issue and it always seems to be at the same position.
Canadians keep getting hurt along the offensive line, so that meant the Stamps dressed three American players to shore up the left side of their line. As long as Canadians stay healthy in other positions, this might not be a major problem as the likes of Randy Richards (left tackle), Justin Renfrow (left guard) and Ucambre Williams (centre) did a solid job against the Eskimos. But when right tackle Dan Federkeil went down for a period clutching his shoulder on Monday, it looked like the Stamps basically have no luck with the linemen.
Federkeil just came back from injury, and it was a key time as the Stamps put the reliable Spencer Wilson on the six-game injured list this week. Wilson provided a security blanket with his versatility and will be missed.
This was their downfall two years ago when they were patching up the line heading into the playoffs. What they need is the likes of Shane Bergman and Cam Thorn to get back into action and stay in there.
Outside of that though, the Stamps look like a well-oiled machine with eight games remaining.
They will be the favourites to win the Grey Cup by a long shot, so it’s a matter of maintaining this hot streak at the right time.
Latest posts by Ian Busby (see all)
- Stamps caught in the crossfire of Calgary’s arena politics - September 14, 2017
- Stamps assert themselves with convincing Labour Day win - September 5, 2017
- Good news on injury front for Stampeders - August 23, 2017