The Calgary Stampeders hadn’t won a game in Montreal since 2013. An inexplicable streak considering the teams regular season success during that time frame.
That streak is now no longer, but it wasn’t pretty as they downed the hosts 12-6 in a game that was dominated by the defence which allowed the offence to have a rare seat on the struggle bus.
I recently wrote an article where I spoke to a sports psychologist about the Stampeders needing to treat the remaining games in the regular season as auditions for the playoffs that they clinched a berth in a week ago.
The doctor said putting themselves into dire situations then accomplishing the goal of winning would go a long way towards preparing them for the rigours the playoffs have to offer.
Some other observations from a game that saw the Stamps held scoreless for 45 minutes:
The Stampeders defence managed to drop Johnny Manziel on six different occasions during this game and tackled him within three yards of the line of scrimmage on three other plays where the Montreal pivot was running for his life. Those numbers aren’t even indicative of the situation either as Manziel was on the run for most of the game. Montreal has given up the most sacks this season, and the Stampeders feasted on the porous Alouettes offensive line.
Eric Rogers was a feature part of the offence again in Montreal, returning from a stint on the six-game injured list and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After losing DaVaris Daniels, Kamar Jorden, and Reggie Bagelton in successive weeks, Rogers return was desperately needed by a unit badly bit by the injury bug. Marken Michel was seeing his shoulder being tended to during the late stages of the game, so the news may not be so good. Not yet added to the roster, Chris Matthews may be needed sooner rather than later in Calgary.
Pick of the Litter
Coming into this game Bo Levi Mitchell had thrown the fewest interceptions of any of the regular starters in the CFL with just nine in 13 games. He increased that total to 12 in this one with some passes that looked wrong almost from the time they left his hand. Whether it was just an off day for the gunslinger, or unfamiliar receivers turning an unexpected way is to be debated in the film room. Either way, an uncharacteristic off day for Mitchell led to the game being in doubt late.
15 Minutes is Enough
The Stampeders were shutout for the first three quarters before mustering enough points to win the game in the fourth. A Rene Paredes converted Terry Williams touchdown was enough points to win, however, as the defence dominated. The Stampeders were averaging a little over 30 points per game coming in, but suffered from the Montreal flu typical of Stampeder visits to La Belle Province. They have scored an average of just 14 points a game during the now-defunct losing streak.
A Century for Singleton
Alex Singleton managed six tackles in this game to add to his league-leading total. Now with 100 tackles on the season, Singleton still has a game in hand over the next three players on the list in Adam Bighill, Henoc Muamba, and J.C. Sherritt who have all played 15 games this season. Despite that, Singleton is still eight tackles clear of the rest of the league. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is making a strong case to repeat.
Next up for the Stampeders is the Pink Power game against B.C. on Saturday night. With a win in Week 18, combined with a Riders loss, the Stamps would clinch the West Division.