Stamps silence doubters by beating Eskimos

In the footnotes of history, it will be painfully obvious in hindsight that this wasn’t a surprise. The Calgary Stampeders were the best team in the league through 17 weeks of the CFL regular season, and they built a foundation that gave them first place in the West Division.

But what happened in the final three weeks set the doubters ablaze to voice their concerns about the Stamps chances in the West final as they limped into the post-season.

The red-hot Edmonton Eskimos were coming into town carrying all that momentum a team usually gains from winning their way into the divisional championship.

It seemed like the stars were aligning for the Eskimos to knock off the Stamps in one of their regular playoff failings. Of course, those ‘failings’ are way overblown. The Stamps have been to the Grey Cup more than any other team over the past five seasons (three appearances, one win), and they have more victories than any other franchise in the past 25 seasons (five).

What we (you can call me one of the doubters) seemed to ignore was that this team didn’t need to be great over the last month. They just needed to be good enough on this day, 60 minutes to get into the big game.

They were better than that, even though things started off as poorly as those doubters expected. The Eskimos came out with two great drives to go up 14-0 before Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps offence could run a third play.

The Stamps just turned things on a dime right there, and it took a play by an offensive lineman to make that happen.

Mitchell hit right tackle Dan Federkeil on a tight-end option play that got the Stamps 16 yards. A couple of plays later they were on the board, and the comeback was in full swing.

Before the end of the second quarter, return specialist Roy Finch scored on a 50-yard rush to give the Stamps a ton of great feeling heading into halftime. They scored 22 second-quarter points to lead 22-15 at the break.

Finch became a secret weapon that wasn’t much of a secret. The West Division special teams player of the year nominee came back from injury and was expected to make an impact, but the Stamps decided to use him a one-two punch with Jerome Messam and it worked well.

Finch got just four carries, but put up 81 yards, while Messam lugged the ball 13 times — far fewer than his average per game this season — but he put up a respectable 71 yards and also scored along the ground.

The Stamps defence allowed early points but kept the explosive Eskimos offence in check for a great deal of the game to let the home side hold that lead. They made an excellent receiving corps seem just average, and CJ Gable was just OK as he was held to a 4.5-yard average.

Special teams did its job and the Stamps offence put up points. All three phases came together for the victory.

What this means is the Stamps are back in the big game for the third time in four seasons.

This is a rematch of the 2012 Grey Cup in Toronto but these teams are much different now, although Ricky Ray is still leading the Argos.

This time though the Stamps seem destined to complete the deal. They turned it on when it mattered, and the Argonauts don’t seem to be the level that even the Ottawa RedBlacks were last season.

Of course, anything can happen in one game, but the Stamps have learned the lessons of the past.

They also want to keep proving the doubters wrong.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

21 Comments on Stamps silence doubters by beating Eskimos

  1. They didn’t BEAT anyone. The eskimos blew it and lost. Go Argos.

    • Red&White Forever // November 21, 2017 at 4:20 am //

      The Esks blew their chance for a tie and a shot in overtime, not the win.

      • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 9:24 am //

        Hey now Mr. Negative Narrative Nelly – you should know that every team that gets a tie always automatically wins in OT. That’s the third law of didn’t-happen-football next to “the backup QB always wins the game” and “Every play that has a penalty would have either prevented or scored a touchdown*.”

        (* That last one is dependent on whether the losing team was on defense or offense at the time)

        • Thanks for the laws,George,now I will be able to have a clear understanding of didn’t happen football which is often discussed with more importance than the football game.

  2. They haven’t silenced the doubters. They have to win this Sunday to erase that doubt.

    • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 9:28 am //

      Somehow, I really doubt that even if the Stamps win on Sunday, the doubt will be silenced. Some teams’ fans clutch their narrative like a Catholic clutches their rosary.

      • True green // November 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm //

        Much like all the Calgary-fan-Rider-haters that regularly post here?

        I can’t disagree with the stats: Calgary is the most successful team in the cfl and for good reason. THey consistently put out a great product that is highly competitive and the organization is top notch. Their success in the past few years is very impressive. I do not think the writers statement about the past 25 years is as relevant as the most recent 10 years though. I am not sure when or how it works exactly but I understand the salary cap is only about ten years old and has helped teams like my Riders to be competitive with teams like Calgary (although the economic disparity isn’t the same issue today as it was 10 or 15 years ago).

        Anyhow, Stamps are the high water mark Ito the league as far as wins and playoff appearances go. As much as I hate to admit it as a rider fan. THey certainly have an opportunity this weekend to silence some critics!

        • George Porge // November 22, 2017 at 9:56 am //

          We all have our narratives, True Green – that is certainly true. I guess if we didn’t it would probably be hard to support our teams when the going gets tough.

          We have been spoiled in Calgary, I won’t disagree with you there. And some people, well, they handle being spoiled the same way a kid handles being spoiled. I also personally haven’t felt the feeling of supporting a team that has been on the losing end of seasons yet, as I’ve only really gotten into football in the past decade or so (was never really into sports before). So I will admit my comments are often coloured by that. I have been trying to be more cognizant of that, but sometimes I’ll admit, my spiteful side will come out. (probably depends on the amount of Appleton’s I’ve got in my system at the time I’m commenting, too. 🙂

          From radio interviews the past couple of weeks, you can also see what being spoiled has done to some Stampeder fans. When we started losing those games at the end of the season, you’d think the sky was falling for some people, because I honestly think a lot of us fans really forget how to deal with a losing streak. Teams on the upswing (Riders, Bombers, for example) have fans who see a lot of positives from the season, while Stampeder fans can only accept a cup win this year, or it will have been a total disaster.

  3. Stamps didn’t beat Esks

    Esks beat themselves – wow

  4. George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 9:09 am //

    No respect for either the Esks or the Stamps in these comments. Even the Dead Sea has less salt than some of the commenters here.

    Of course, these guys have the same line of thinking that says the Riders lost the 2009 Grey Cup to a too-many-men penalty, and the 2012 West Semi to a hail mary in broken coverage.

    People seem to forget that a football game is 60 minutes long.

    • This article has nothing to do with the sliders as NOBODY cares bout the 4th place sliders

      • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm //

        You’re right, it has nothing to do with the Riders. My point was that there always seems to be the “the game would have turned out completely different if that one thing didn’t happen” sentiment among teams that lose games.

        In the 2014 Grey Cup, it was the illegal block at the end of the game. Not the other 58 minutes that the Stampeders led the Tiger-Cats before that punt-return was called back. If the Cats had actually won that game, it would have been all about the punt return, not the Stampeders giving up a big lead in the game.

        In the 2012 WSF (the second-best CFL game I’ve ever watched, second only to last year’s Grey Cup), it was all about the hail-mary to Romby Bryant at the end of the game. Not the fact that the game was kept within a single score all day. Not the fact that the lead was flipped over and over again all day. Not he Jon Cornish vs. Korey Sheets running contest.

        The 2009 Grey Cup was also all about the too-many-men penalty “costing” the Riders the game. Nothing about the Al’s coming back from a massive deficit late in the game. Nothing about the Riders’ offense complete lack of production in the fourth quarter.

    • True green // November 21, 2017 at 9:25 pm //

      How did the riders lose the 2009 in your opinion?

      And come on George, calling others salty is a little rich. I’ve read lots of your comments and some of them amount to squeezing a lemon in my eye 🙂

      Really, what was the cause of the Riders loss in GC 2009?

      • George Porge // November 22, 2017 at 9:46 am //

        I did mention it in my post above. The Riders had been dominating Montreal for the first three quarters of the game. Sask was leading 27-11 with less than ten minutes left in the game.

        Then either the defense ran out of gas, or the offense, or both, but Montreal just came storming back and erased that lead. Yeah, Duval’s miss at the end would have meant the Riders won, and the penalty gave him another chance, but that kick didn’t cost the Riders the game – playing for only 50 minutes in a 60-minute playoff game is what cost the Riders the game.

        • good perspective, i didn’t think of it that way at the time or since then. all i remember is knowing we won the GC then feeling like it was taken away. that was not a fun experience to say the least!

          regarding your previous response to me, I also have only been a serious cfl fan for the past 12 years or so, so my perspective is often biased based on my experience as a fan.

  5. TwoTurnTablesandaMicrophone // November 21, 2017 at 10:38 am //

    The Stampeders could win the next 10 consecutive Grey Cups and some commenters would still find something to criticize them about. Enough of the Calgary fixation. Ottawa won last year because they were the better team and they deserved it. Let’s enjoy some great football this weekend.

    • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 11:19 am //

      I mean, we’re still 1-5 in the playoffs against the Riders. For some reason we haven’t been able to improve on that statistic in the past four years…

      • TwoTurnTablesandaMicrophone // November 21, 2017 at 11:29 am //

        True, in fact very true. Let’s focus on the positive though. Do you think Edmonton Oiler, Buffalo Bills, and Blue Bomber/TiCat fans wouldn’t appreciate supporting a perennial strong contender? So the Stamps don’t win the big one every year like the Eskimos in the early 80’s. In a strange way that’s a good thing. Wouldn’t it be a boring league if the same team dominated and won the championship every single year? The CFL bashers would have a field day with that one. I actually am a Bomber and TiCat fan and it would be awesome to see either of THEM go to the Cup 3 times in 4 years…and win a couple of them.

  6. Flutiegarcia // November 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm //

    I agree. Calgary must win Sunday. Short of that this season is an epic failure

  7. To all the rider and eskimo fans… you continually talk about the cup last year. Yes we the Stamps lost but we were in the dam game!!! You team was at home!That is just the oldest form of jealousy from rival teams. Again this year the Stamps could lose but you know what we are there again and have the chance to win and again your teams are at home GO STAMPS GO

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