Bo Levi Mitchell isn’t used to losing in the CFL.
His sparkling record had some shine come off it courtesy the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night. Mitchell’s Stampeders lost 23-20 at McMahon Stadium to drop the 31-year-old’s win-loss-tie mark to 77-19-2.
“I’ve been a part of 19 losses in this league and that definitely felt like one of the worst ones because I didn’t feel like they did anything to beat us,” Mitchell said.
Calgary was leading 20-12 in the fourth quarter until Charleston Hughes forced and recovered a fumble from running back Ka’Deem Carey. McLeod Bethel-Thompson took the turnover and hit Kurleigh Gittens Jr. for a 27-yard touchdown. Following a successful two-point conversion completion to former Stamp Eric Rogers, it was a tie game 20 apiece.
“I felt like we were in charge of that game, but we gave it away with some costly mistakes and they took it. They made all the plays in the last eight minutes, it was an unfortunate loss,” head coach Dave Dickenson said.
The Argos final drive chewed up over three minutes and thirty seconds, Bethel-Thompson led the offence into field goal range and Boris Bede made good on the game-winning kick from 32 yards out. Toronto entered as decided underdogs under first-year head coach Ryan Dinwiddie.
“We gift-wrapped that thing. We are young and we played that way. Guys that were asked to step up, didn’t step up, myself included,” Mitchell said.
“There’s a lot we can all fix, we can all look at ourselves knowing no one is pointing the finger and saying: ‘This guy lost the game.’ We need to make sure we look at ourselves as a team and find out how to get better.”
It was the first game for Mitchell since the 2019 West Division Semi-Final loss against Winnipeg. In December that year, the franchise quarterback underwent surgery on his right throwing shoulder. During training camp, the six-foot-two, 199-pound passer was managing groin tightness.
“I felt sharp, strong, wasn’t hindered by the groin at all, arm felt good, so I was feeling confident,” Mitchell said.
The two-time Grey Cup champion and two-time CFL MOP completed 23-of-35 passes for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Even though Mitchell entered the 2021 season leaner, he did not record a rushing attempt in Week 1. Overall, Dickenson felt the offence “wasn’t in sync” but his starting QB isn’t worried.
“I’ve been beat by two 9-9 teams in the Grey Cup, so the only thing that matters is playing hot when it comes to playoff time,” Mitchell said.
“We’re going to go watch the film, we’re going to right the ship and we’re going to do what the Calgary Stampeders do, and that’s get this thing going.”