Calgary Stampeders slip-slide their way to a Grey Cup victory

The monkey leaped from the backs of the Calgary Stampeders at the Grey Cup on Sunday – and promptly slipped from the turf.

The Stamps beat the Ottawa Redblacks 27-16 in Sunday’s Grey Cup, finally earning the championship that has eluded them the last two seasons.

The field conditions were a significant factor in the game, with players struggling with their footing all night long. While temperatures in the Alberta capital weren’t that bad – around the freezing mark – it’s clear that the playing surface had a significant impact on the quality of play.

Of course, six Ottawa turnovers didn’t help much either. Redblacks’ quarterback Trevor Harris threw three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter.

The first half featured plenty of mistakes from both teams. Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw two interceptions and Harris struggled with accuracy. Redblacks’ kicker Lewis Ward, who has been essentially perfect during his rookie season, missed a 48-yard field goal.

Calgary led 7-3 after one quarter and stretched it to 14-3 off a 17-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to Lemar Durant. But a 55-yard catch-and-run from Julian Feoli-Gudino with under three minutes remaining in the half gave the Redblacks some much-needed momentum heading into the break.

But Terry Williams changed that in a hurry. His 97-yard punt return touchdown with just seconds remaining in the half extended the Stampeders’ lead to 21-11 after 30 minutes. It was a turning point in a game when turning was a significant issue.

The teams traded field goals in a lacklustre third quarter – the dancers in the excellent Alessia Cara halftime show were wearing skates that could have come in handy on the field.

A Redblacks’ miscue opened the door for a Stampeders’ killshot when return man Diontae Spencer put the ball on the turf on a punt return and Calgary’s Wynton McManis scooped it up. But the offence went two-and-out the Stampeders settled for a field goal.

Ottawa almost got a couple of big plays from the Buds – Greg Ellingson couldn’t make a spectacular one-handed grab, then Brad Sinopli had a third-down pass knocked from his grasp – then failed to keep Calgary pinned at their own one-yard line. They just couldn’t muster a big play when it mattered.

Calgary, meanwhile, locked it down. McManis absolutely laid out Spencer on a punt return, then picked off Harris on back-to-back drives to seal it. The Redblacks turned the ball over six times on the night.

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