Maybe we were nit-picking. Maybe we just didn’t want to declare them perfect.
Nothing is perfect of course. The Calgary Stampeders offence DIDN’T set a season-high in points scored against the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night. The 59-11 victory wasn’t their most lopsided this season.
This is called grasping at straws.
The best Grey Cup matchup this season might be a Stampeders intrasquad game. The best offence vs the best defence, all night long.
When looking for flaws in the now 12-1-1 Stampeders heading into their meeting with the Als at McMahon Stadium, the one thing you could say was that Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps offence weren’t really clicking on all cylinders.
They didn’t score a touchdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, yet won 15-9.
Mitchell had an average day, going 16-of-31 passing for 240 yards against the B.C. Lions the week previous to that, but they won of course, 27-13.
The defence was carrying this team it seemed, and the only thing you could say about what could eventually be the downfall of the Stamps was offensive inefficiency.
Forget that nonsense. Mitchell steps up when he needs to, and sometimes he’s going to flat out whip you.
The high standard to which Mitchell has raised his game is hard to repeat every single outing. No one can do it.
Then on nights like Friday, you remember why the reigning most outstanding player is still the best player in this league.
It was all summed up in one play.
Late in the second quarter, Mitchell rolled out to his left away from pressure, then tossed a perfect rainbow to Marquay McDaniel for a 46-yard gain. The deep pass was pinpoint in accuracy and an absolute thing of beauty.
That setup a touchdown run and put the Stamps up 28-4. Mitchell could have rested the rest of the night, although he kept lighting up the Als into the third quarter.
Let’s consider for a second all the excuses other teams make when they don’t perform at a high level, and injuries is at the top of the list.
The Stamps don’t seem affected by such crutches. On Friday night, they were without their top running back, two of their top three receivers and two of their top offensive linemen.
Missing Jerome Messam wasn’t an issue. Rookie Terry Williams ran the ball 16 times for 156 yards and punched in three touchdowns. The offensive line is performing nicely without the likes of Spencer Wilson or Pierre Lavertu of course.
Marken Michel, who has filled in nicely for Kamar Jorden and DaVaris Daniels, had seven grabs for 114 yards. Reggie Begelton even looked good, making four catches for 36 yards.
The Stamps could have made excuses for Mitchell too, seeing as he was fighting through some ailments for the better part of the past two months. They didn’t, and they didn’t lose a game during that stretch either.
Mitchell isn’t going to put up big numbers with the Stamps. He went 14-of-19 for 265 yards and two touchdown passes before coming out to give Andrew Buckley some more playing time.
There is no reason for Mitchell to pad stats. The only ones that matter is the Stamps have won 10 in a row, have a 17-game home win streak and have won 16 straight against West Division opponents.
Then once in a while an East Division team comes in for an old-fashioned butt kicking. The last time the Stamps looked this good, it was a 60-1 beating of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on July 29.
Buckley has shown this season he’s quite capable of leading an offence. Why can’t he be a starter in this league? As early as next season?
The reason will be that Mitchell is at the top of his game and the Stamps won’t part with a player they’ve developed into a quality QB. There will be no switching this Canadian to another position either. On Friday, his first two passes fell incomplete, then he rattled off five straight for 43 yards and put up another 10 points, not like the Stamps needed it.
The only issue that arose from Friday night’s win was that star return specialist Roy Finch limped off with an injury.
In true Stamps fashion, his replacement went one better. Tunde Adeleke returned a punt to the endzone, going through Alouettes defenders as if they were dumbfounded a rookie Canadian could be so athletic.
Now the Stamps have a bye week to get healthy before finishing out the final four games of the season, and it looks like a forgone conclusion they will be hosting the West final again Nov. 19.