This week marked the Diversity is Strength game in Calgary. During the game, John Helton and the late Herm Harrison were honoured. Both men were members of the 1971 Grey Cup team and have both been enshrined on the Wall of Fame at McMahon Stadium.
After the game, there were questions being asked about Herm Harrison again, but for a completely different reason as Stampeders receiver Kamar Jorden rewrote the Stampeders record books with 249 yards on the day eclipsing Harrison’s 237 yard performance in September of 1968.
Jorden wasn’t the only one moving the ball downfield for the Stamps against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as Lemar Durant, DaVaris Daniels, and Marken Michel all collected more than 60 yards receiving as well as part of a 452 yard day for Bo Levi Mitchell. That sets a new career best for the pivot but Mitchell said after the game that yardage totals don’t interest him. “We don’t throw the ball like every one else does in the league, and if we do, you see what happens.”
Mitchell went on “I’m in (Head Coach Dave Dickenson)’s ear every day, and every game, telling him just to let me throw the ball every play. He says that’s not who we are, and he’s right. We have an identity of what we do. Our receivers know if they give us a chance to just go out and sling it, any of our guys could go for 200-250.”
Some other thoughts from the stands after a 39-26 Stampeders victory.
JaGared Davis is a Bad Man
Davis may not have got a sack in this game, but he had two interceptions, including one for a TD late that sealed the win for his teammates. An athletic freak of nature in his own rite, battery mate Micah Johnson says that Davis was not going to be caught. “He’s fast, y’all lucky he didn’t open up….he’s crazy athletic, I’ve never seen two picks in a game like that….he’s an elite talent.”
Coach Dickenson joked that Davis might see some time on the offense. Davis is all for it. “Defense, offense, special teams, however I can help the team win.”
Back in the Backfield
Davis was equally happy for Johnson who snapped a two game string where the Stamps hadn’t got to the opposition QB with a sack. Jameer Thurman added another as the defense played without their leader. DeVone Claybrooks remains in hospital following a diabetic incident this week. Brent Monson took the headset in the absence of Claybrooks and called the plays. In his post-game availability Dickenson called Claybrooks’ illness a rallying cry for the defense but hopes to see his DC back at practice as soon as he can.
Coming in to this week’s game, the Bombers were leading the league with an average of 146 rushing yards per game while the Calgary defense was the stingiest nation wide allowing just over 77 yards against. Chalk this one up for Calgary as they held leading rusher Andrew Harris to just 12 yards on the day and the Bomber team to just 53 yards on the ground. Jameer Thurman was all over the field collecting 10 defensive stops, one sack, and one special teams tackle and was a big part of why Harris was so ineffective on the day.
Two Minutes an Eternity
The old saying in the CFL is that “No Lead is Safe”. Part of this is due to the clock rules in the CFL which make running it down far more challenging for teams to do. However, when you tack on three total touchdowns in the final two minutes of a game that is otherwise decided, it feels like forever. The fourth quarter alone featured 52 total plays. By contrast, the first three quarters had just 110 plays. The Stampeders scored two TD’s just 43 seconds apart after Mitchell hit Jorden for a huge TD and Davis had his interception return for a TD just moments later. The two teams combined for 22 points in the last two minutes of the game after Winnipeg drove the field for a score with eight ticks left on the clock.
I know there are some teams that would kill to have about 26,000 people fill their stadium for CFL games, but fans in Calgary are continually missing out on the league’s premiere franchise playing at home. Hopefully with Labour Day upcoming, the Stampeders will crack the 30,000 mark for the first time this season.
The Stampeders currently have a three game cushion on the Eskimos atop the Western Division. Should Calgary win both ends of the upcoming Labour Day series, it would lower their playoff magic number to 0.5 and the division number could also be within a 2 game reach depending on what happens between Sask and the Peg in their annual Labour Day home-and-home series. It is possible that Calgary can clinch the division with 5 games to go. Both a blessing and a curse for coaches trying to maintain intensity among their charges.