Stampeders receivers let Bo Levi Mitchell down during self-inflicted loss in Winnipeg

Photo courtesy: CFL

The Stampeders and Blue Bombers went toe-to-toe in a thrilling game that was never out of reach by either side with Winnipeg prevailing 26-19, handing Calgary their first loss of the season.

It was a game that the Stamps lost more than one the Bombers won and here are some of the reasons why.

Getting too fancy

The Stampeders offence twice drove the ball in the third quarter to within a few yards of the end zone. The first time they came away with a disappointing field goal after a pair of incompletions to Reggie Begelton and Kamar Jorden. The second time they went for it on third down and were also denied when Begelton and Malik Henry collided diving for the ball.

Even more frustrating was the Stamps had been having great success with Ka’Deem Carey, but chose not to give him the ball inside the two-yard line, electing instead to have a fake Tommy Stevens package that ended up in an incompletion.

It seems like the Stampeders got too much in their heads trying to outthink the Bombers instead of relying on their road-grading offensive line and the best running back in the league.

Rough night for Jorden

It was a bafflingly bad night for Jorden. Targeted seven times with just one catch, he also looked to have secured what would have been a touchdown to get within a convert to tie the game with under a minute to play. However, he landed on the ground and had the ball pop up into the arms of a diving Demerio Houston for an interception to end the game.

The vast majority of his targets would typically be catches for the usually sure-handed receiver. Jorden’s struggles didn’t phase Bo Levi Mitchell at all, given he tried to find him on that last-minute end zone throw and all would have been forgiven if he had come down with it.

Post-game, Jorden said he knows he needs to be better.

“I hold myself at a high standard. I’m a leader on the team and a leader in the receiving room. To have a game like that is not leading the room. I’ll get it together. The team in general has my back and they are saying it’s not my fault. But like I said, I hold myself to a high standard — I expect to make those plays.”

Untimely penalties

The Stampeders collected eight penalties for 70 yards on the night but several of them were costly.

One negated a Peyton Logan return touchdown, although Logan likely wouldn’t have scored without it, as Charlie Power was guilty of holding a player that had his hands briefly on the returner.

Another proved very costly as the Stampeders were flagged for contacting the kicker well after Winnipeg’s Marc Liegghio struck the ball and the Bombers were awarded a first down on a drive that ended with a touchdown. Worse yet, Liegghio missed the kick and it went through the end zone for a single. The penalty, and the Bombers’ offence, turned one point into seven.

Another penalty took a Mike Rose sack off the board, although the disappointment was tempered briefly when the Stamps got to Bombers’ QB Zach Collaros again on the next play.

The Stamps did have one call go their way late as Mitchell was hit after he threw, drawing a roughing the passer flag which moved the ball into distance for the late dropped strike to Jorden.

Mitchell mostly on target

The stat line on Mitchell won’t indicate how well he played. The game sheet had Mitchell 12-of-28 for 187 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.

You’d have expected those totals to be higher as the Stamps pivot consistently hit his receivers in the hands. The issue was with receivers failing to make catches.

Mitchell was sacked twice and under pressure from Winnipeg’s defensive line on a number of his drop-backs, but was patient with the ball and didn’t force any throws.

Mitchell did enough to win, but his targets failed him.

Carey leading league again

Carey ran through the holes provided and made some things happen to the outside on his way to a 110-yard day on the ground with just 12 touches.

“I thought about it,” Dickenson said after the game about giving Carey the ball on the two-yard line in the third quarter, but ultimately decided against it.

“I had a play I liked, but they are tough to run against when you are down inside the five. That doesn’t mean we can’t do it, we’ve had good luck with that, but ultimately when you look at a decision like that you just try and get the call that is the best chance to succeed and you live with it.”

Carey is the only back in the league with over 30 carries to be averaging over six yards per attempt. He leads all running backs in rushing touchdowns, yards, runs over 10 yards, and runs over 20 yards.

Paredes going streaking (again)

Last week Rene Paredes missed a field goal for the first time in 30 regular season attempts. This week he was asked to kick longer field goals and connected on all of them. His previous long on the year was 46 yards, but he connected from 48 and 50 yards to go with 14 and 39-yard attempts.

Given the length of his career and the accuracy throughout, Paredes should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes. Dave Ridgway was called the ‘Robokicker’ after a career that saw him go over 90 percent once and finish with a 78 percent success rate, albeit in a different era.

Paredes has gone over 90 percent five times in ten years so far, missing just one of 17 attempts this season and has a career success rate of 87.5 percent. He deserves his accolades in the here and now.

Front seven says: ‘No!’

A week ago, the Bombers put up 140 rushing yards on B.C.’s defence and they went to the well frequently in this game with 21 rushing attempts compared to Calgary’s 12. The difference was in the effectiveness of the run game as the Stamps’ front seven allowed just 45 total rushing yards.

Johnny Augustine’s longest carry went for seven yards. Brady Oliveira lugged the rock nine times for a total of eight yards. Janarion Grant had a 12-yard carry on one drive but lost eight yards on his other carry to finish with four total.

The team also collected four sacks on Collaros and pressured him constantly. Coming into the game, the Bombers had allowed eight sacks in five games, but the Stamps’ pass rushers were able to get to the Bombers’ QB early and often.

Secondary says: ‘Kinda?’

Collaros had a below average day from a completion percentage standpoint and completed zero passes that were thrown further than 20 yards in the air.

However, the Bombers’ pivot was effective on throws 15 yards or less as he went 22-of-26. The secondary seemed to be relying on a bend-don’t-break strategy of not allowing the Bombers to get away from them and beat them with yards after the catch.

It may work against other teams, but they will have to adjust for that style of offence in the next matchup with Winnipeg.

Brad Muhammad was a standout for the Stamps before being injured in the fourth quarter, breaking up back-to-back pass attempts in the end zone and later jarring the ball out from Greg Ellingson’s hands.

Tre Roberson also drew an offensive pass interference call in the game, but it wasn’t clear enough for the refs to see without the benefit of a Dave Dickenson challenge flag.