The Calgary Stampeders were perfectly set up for this kind of trap game. Coming in against the last place Lions, down to their third string running back, arguably their best receiver on the shelf for knee surgery and looking forward to a weeks vacation as soon as they could get through 60 minutes.
Heck, even the media scrum after the game was thin on this holiday weekend, prompting Dave Dickenson to jokingly ask if the Calgary Flames had made a trade.
None of that mattered of course, as the Stampeders downed the Leos by a 27-18 score marking the first time the Stamps had won by less than double digits on the season.
“I kind of sensed our guys were running out of gas,” said Dickenson after the game but had praise for his QB. “I thought Bo (Mitchell) looked super sharp, he and (Kamar Jorden) had something going on.”
Something going on is an understatement for the game that Kamar Jorden had as he set a league season high with 185 yards on just five catches as the Stampeders continually went deep down the field with their passing attack.
Jorden’s TD catch was described by his quarterback: “That might have been the ugliest pass I’ve ever thrown. I don’t know how he caught it. It looked like a kick, it was end over end… I was pretty impressed he could bring it down.”
“It was all over the place. It was definitely a duck.” Jorden backed up his QB later. “He put it out there. One thing Bo always says though, is if you see me scrambling, just go, just go…” which echoed Mitchell’s thoughts while defying the typical football logic of coming back to the quarterback to make completing a pass easier.
Some other thoughts on an undefeated team:
Second and very long
On 11 occasions during this game, the Stampeders needed 10 or more yards to get a first down. They got the required yardage eight times. On seven of those plays, they garnered more than 20 yards including a 30-yard completion to Juwan Brescacin on second and 21. So much for the Double Justin’s offence that Saskatchewan head coach Chris Jones is purporting to emulate. The Stampeders averaged nearly twelve yards per attempt and almost 20 yards per completion as Mitchell continually hurled the ball downfield.
Ground attack gone wrong
Don Jackson and Terry Williams are the first and second option for this Stampeder team at tailback and neither of them have been available lately so marinate this criticism in that sauce, but the Stampeders offence has long relied on the running game and it hasn’t been effective recently. Romar Morris has averaged less than four yards per carry in both of the last two weeks which has put pressure on the passing game. Fortunately for Morris, the passing attack was more than up to the task against the Lions. “Hopefully we will see some reinforcements” was Dickenson’s thoughts on the running game following the win and with a bye week on the schedule next, the team is hoping to see one or both of the injured running back’s return to the field against Saskatchewan.
The Stampeders want the football and when they have it they don’t like to give it back. The turnover ratio for the Stamps after Saturday’s clash is 25 takeaways vs. eight giveaways. A plus-17 mark after seven games means that the Stampeders are averaging 2.42 more turnovers per game than their opponents. They have thrown the fewest interceptions at four, lost the second least amount of fumbles with three and have given up a sparse 11 points off those eight mistakes for an average of 0.63. By contrast, they have scored 72 points from their 25 turnovers for an average of 2.88 points per turnover. Doing the math just the turnover battle this season sees the Stampeders gain almost a full touchdown advantage over their opponents. The numbers actually got worse this week as the Stamps had just one point off three turnovers in this game, a Rob Maver punt single. Speaking of which…..
Just Maver things
Earlier this week on Twitter, Stamps PR man Jean Lefebvre suggested that the league should change the statistic of punts that land inside the opponent’s 10-yard line to be referred to as “Mavers”.
Hey, I’m the one lobbying the league to have punts inside the 10 be called “Mavers” https://t.co/YH1OXiFhO2
— Jean Lefebvre (@jlefeb25) August 4, 2018
While still waiting for all this weekend’s stats to be updated, Maver right now has seven kicks inside the 10-yard line versus two singles including the one he scored against the Lions. Comparing that to others around the league, Lions Kicker Ty Long sits three I-10 versus three singles after this week, while headed into the week’s actions only Josh Bartel and Justin Medlock had yet to score a single this year but had combined for just four I-10 kicks. The Stampeders punt in enemy territory more often than other teams rather than try the field goal opting to continue winning the field position battle and forcing teams to put together 100 yard plus drives to get touchdowns. Without Maver’s ability to find the coffin corner, the strategy would have to be amended. Punters can be an underutilized weapon in the CFL and the Stampeders have weaponized Maver very effectively.
Lulay ends streak but record watch continues
The Stampeders defence had not allowed more than 200 yards passing since week one against the Ticats before Travis Lulay put up 281 on a night where he went 25-of-39. However, after allowing the Lions 18 points, the Stamps have now surrendered a total of 86 points. That leaves them with 11 games remaining and 216 points left to tie the all-time low for an 18 game season of 302 set by the Argos in 1989. The Stampeders could average 19 points against for the rest of the year and still break that mark. So far they are averaging 12 points against and have allowed more than 19 against just once. The Stamps have given up just three rushing and three passing TD’s through 7 games.
Following the bye week, the Stamps will resume their season on August 19th when they once again travel to New Mosaic to face the Riders.