On a night where Bo Levi Mitchell became Calgary’s all-time passing yardage leader, the Stampeders looked to have solved the B.C. Lions as they built up a 30-18 halftime lead.
In what became a game of the year candidate, Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke went on to orchestrate a game-winning drive to take their first lead of the night on a field goal with just two seconds left on the clock, willing the Lions to a 41-40 victory.
After the game, Mitchell pulled no punches when asked about his team’s second half.
“F***ing terrible,” Mitchell exclaimed. “It was awful. Everybody, besides Peyton (Logan) who had a great punt return touchdown.”
No one else was spared from Mitchell’s critical eye after the Stampeders surrendered 20 fourth-quarter points on their way to defeat.
“Bad penalties, bad decisions, everybody from the sideline to the guys playing on the field,” he ranted. “Everybody was terrible … and I’m not saying I was good, everybody out there.”
Mitchell completed 18-of-32 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns in the loss but was decidedly out-dueled by his younger counterpart Rourke, who broke his own Canadian record for single-game passing yards for the second consecutive week with 488.
The Stamps’ veteran quarterback knew what a golden opportunity his team had collectively let slip.
“When you score 40 points, you can’t lose the game,” Mitchell insisted. “A fumble, PI, late hits, holding calls; everything that could go wrong did.”
The Stampeders have now dropped three of their last four, with all losses coming to the two teams ahead of them in the West Division standings. At 5-3, they are narrowly in front of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the final non-crossover playoff spot, forcing Mitchell to be candid.
“I think it shows we aren’t good enough. I said it last time and some guys can get offended if they want to, but I’ve been here a long time. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I’m not going to sit here and say we are better than that team we lost to. No, we are not. We lost to them. They put up 500 yards passing, they held us to 200,” Mitchell said, refusing to use the injury bug as an excuse.
“Did we lose three receivers, two DBs, two d-linemen? Yes, but opportunity knocks, just answer it. You gotta step up. It is frustrating because we feel like we should win these games but at this point, as a whole, we are just not good enough to win.”
Mitchell also seemed frustrated with some of his teammates, who remained unnamed as the quarterback finished with a call to action.
“I’m an aggressive person, right? I like being aggressive. I don’t know. Everybody has to personally look at themselves. Go look at the film and figure out what I, myself, can do better to win the game in the end, and hopefully, everyone does the same,” he emphasized.
“Don’t point fingers; don’t say, ‘Defence did this, offence did this, special teams did this’; none of that. This is a group, this is a team and, as a team, we scored 40 points today, but we let up 41.”