Paredes falls just short of walk-off winner (& nine other thoughts)

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Calgary Stampeders’ kicker Rene Paredes had been perfect on the year when he stepped up on Sunday to try to match his career-long with a 52-yard field goal against Winnipeg.

The kick would have pulled the Stampeders across the finish line to a 19-18 victory and a .500 record, but the attempt fell short and the Stamps fell to 1-3 on the season.

Here are my other thoughts on the game.

Maier gets my vote

Jake Maier set a Stampeders record on Sunday as he threw 17 straight completions to start the game, finishing 30-of-39 for 307 yards. This marks his second-straight 300-yard game to start his career, and definitely helps allay any fears that Stampeder fans might have held about the absence of Bo Levi Mitchell.

If Maier continues to play like this, there is no reason to bring Mitchell back until he is 100 percent healthy.

Maier was able to execute the offensive game-plan exceptionally well and the Stampeders made a few costly errors, but QB play is not the reason for this loss.

“Extremely happy,” said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson when discussing Maier’s performance after the game. “He looks as good as most guys. I’ve got a lot on his plate, you guys saw. I ran a bunch of calls tonight like he had been out there for 100 games, and he handled it well in a tough, tough environment.”

Julian ‘Real’ Good-Jones

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a terrifying collection of defensive ends, and the Stampeders never allowed Jake Maier to be sacked.

Maier made some good throws, and some quick ones as well, but the Stamps kept Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat at bay for the most part as Jeffcoat had a pair of tackles, and Jefferson had a deflected pass that was caught by Kamar Jorden for positive yardage.

Two weeks in a row, the entire Stampeders’ offensive line has stepped up into a difficult situation and won the battle of the trenches. They also opened holes for Ka’Deem Carey to scamper for 66 yards on just eight touches, but more on him in a moment.

Laundry day

Another week, another 10 penalties for more than 100 yards. After cleaning their act up last week against Montreal, the Stampeders were back in penalty trouble this week with the offence being guilty of six infractions.

There were a few damning ones, including a couple procedure calls, one of which came on a second-and-two in the fourth quarter deep in Calgary territory.

That drive ended with an incompletion on second-and-seven on the next play and the resulting punt was the beginning of a Winnipeg scoring drive.

There were a few other costly penalties to mention as well. Speaking of…

Would a Rose by any other name still rough the passer?

Defensive tackle Mike Rose drew two roughing the passer penalties in this game, negating Calgary’s only two sacks. Credit to the TSN crew for taking the opportunity to hype AEW on TSN (now with 100 percent more CM Punk!) after Rose performed a textbook German Suplex on Zach Collaros early in the fourth quarter.

That drive buried Calgary deep, and I already mentioned it led to a Winnipeg field goal.

The second one, however, will likely haunt the Stampeders’ defensive line for a while as he hit Collaros high to move the Bombers into field goal range for the winning score.

Mike Rose has been a stud for Calgary’s defence so far in this season, but those two flags were incredibly damaging.

Rose had no comment on the penalties after the game but did suggest he might look towards a career in mixed martial arts in the future.

It was great until it wasn’t

Dave Dickenson called a gutsy play on third-and-two in the second quarter, having Maier go deep down the field to Josh Huff for a 41-yard completion, which was promptly fumbled and recovered by the Bombers. Two plays later, a field goal was scored by Winnipeg to take a three-point lead.

Credit Huff for a great day otherwise as he pulled in six receptions on seven targets for 92 yards. Huff is continuing to show flashes as to why the Stampeders made the hard decisions in the receiving corps the last few years letting players go.

You are also seeing a lot of the influence of receivers coach Marquay McDaniel as the Stamps pass catchers consistently find themselves just past the sticks and falling for the first down. McDaniel was one of the best in the league at finding the marker during his time in Calgary, and that is clearly being coached now.

Every page in the book

The long throw on third-and-short wasn’t the only bit of trickery in the Stampeders’ playbook, as Jake Maier also added his first CFL reception in this game on a toss from Markeith Ambles.

The six-yard reception ended with a big hit courtesy of Bombers’ cornerback DeAundre Alford.

The Stamps had high expectations for the both trick plays, believing they could have hit the end zone.

Carey needs carries

The Stampeders Ka’Deem Carey is on pace for a 1,000-yard season here in the early going with 251 yards through three games with three touchdowns. After the game, even the head coach suggested he may have made an error getting away from the running game and he needs to trust his running backs to get the job done.

Carey is averaging just under five yards per carry so far this season and is fun to watch in open space. The more experience the offensive line gets, the better returns we may see from Ka’Deem the dream.

Malik makes ’em miss

Malik Henry is proving to be a revelation for the Stampeders in the return game with more than 500 yards in just three games since taking the duties from Sean Riley in Week 2.

Henry is currently leading the league in kickoff average of those with more than three returns, and is only behind Montreal’s Mario Alford and Hamilton’s Frankie Williams for punt return yardage.

Alford’s 86-yard touchdown against the Elks skew his numbers to the high side, but with a double shot of Elk on the horizon for Henry and the Stampeders, don’t be surprised in Malik takes one to the promised land himself.

Did I mention costly penalties?

One penalty the Stampeders wish hadn’t occurred came late in the fourth when the Bombers couldn’t quite get the field goal attempt snapped in time and took a time-count violation.

It was a costly penalty for the Stamps because Marc Liegghio missed the kick to put his team ahead, then nailed the ensuing retry to put the Bombers ahead for good 18-16.

Next up for the Stamps is the traditional Labour Day back-to-back with the Edmonton Elks. The Stampeders may need to sweep their provincial rivals to stay in the playoff picture in the West Division.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.