Stampeders win ugly over Elks in Labour Day Classic (and eight other thoughts)

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

There has been little question this season that the Stampeders have provided good value for your investment as a fan.

All three games against Winnipeg were spectacular, the contest against B.C. was an instant classic, and Calgary literally ripped victory from the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats early this season as they scored a defensive major to complete a huge come-from-behind win.

Given all that, the Stampeders could be granted a little leeway for their part in a rather pedestrian Labour Day Classic against the Elks.

The old adage says, “It ain’t how, just how many.” That was the feeling I came away with after a 26-18 Stampeders victory.

Here’s what I saw from 50 rows up in Sec I:

Methodical Maier

Jake Maier certainly didn’t light the world on fire in this game, finishing it 18-of-26 for 238 yards passing with a pair of passing touchdowns to go with an interception.

Maier only completed six passes on eleven throws in the first half for 80 yards and it was clear something was amiss.

Dave Dickenson said after the game that he did not consider changing back to recently deposed starter Bo Levi Mitchell, however.

“I’m pretty consistent with what I do. If I feel like we need a spark, or if I feel like the play isn’t there, I’m more than willing to go there. But I don’t want any quarterback feeling like he can’t make a mistake or two or that he has to be perfect as well,” said the veteran bench boss.

Dickenson also indicated that he wasn’t unhappy with what he saw from his new starter.

“He played a heck of a second half. Made a lot of good drives, throws on the money, keeping the ball moving forward, and I thought he had good composure in the pocket. Ultimately enough to win.”

Sacks for everyone

The Calgary Stampeders had Taylor Cornelius on the run for nearly the entire game and finished with six sacks on the night.

Shawn Lemon, Jameer Thurman, Mike Rose, and Terrell McClean all took Cornelius down once while Folarin Orimalade got to him twice.

“I had two sacks, but I felt like I left a few out there. We play again next week so hopefully I can get them then,” Orimalade said following the game, adding a little early bulletin board material to next Saturday’s rematch.

The Stamps defence also forced three turnovers due to fumbles and a late turnover on downs, and did more than their share as the offence struggled in the first half.

The last two sacks came in the final minutes and kept Edmonton from threatening a comeback.

Mike Rose also deserved recognition as he had Cornelius in his arms in the endzone on the final series and, rather than plant him violently, the jiu-jitsu practitioner simply held on until the whistle.

It’s been a huge change for Rose, who was pretty routinely flagged last season for careless violence.

Speaking of which…

Kamar Jorden collected 31 passing yards with three catches on four targets. It wasn’t exactly a shining day, but given some of his struggles earlier this season, it was a step in the right direction.

However, Jorden also collected two 15-yard penalties in this game. One was for unnecessary roughness following an interception as Jorden made a head tackle on the defender and another was called following a chop block.

“On that play, he’s supposed to be running a route,” Dickenson said, “Now sometimes you take a chance when you got a low defender on you. It’s one of those plays where we have a run one way and a pass the other way. He was to the pass side, but he blocked the run. It’s a low DB to me, I really don’t feel like it was a penalty, but I do feel like, ‘Why are you there? You got to know the call!'”

Dickenson did offer some benefit of the doubt, suggesting the Stampeders’ offensive system is incredibly complicated and added that his pass catchers have more assignments and wrinkles than any other teams in the league implement.

Ka’Deem kept in check

If you were just to look at the stat sheet, Ka’Deem Carey’s 13 carries for 61 yards doesn’t seem like a bad day for a CFL running back. However, given what Carey has done this year — and his performance included a 27-yard scamper — the Elks did a good job of keeping Carey in check.

Carey would add 37 more yards on three catches out of the backfield, but he didn’t seem like his game-breaking self. For further evidence, Peyton Logan gathered zero yards on his two carries.

After the game, Dave Dickenson suggested the run blocking will need to be better next week, but thought his backs also showed a lack of patience.

Specialists just average

Cody Grace shanked his first punt for a net 15-yard difference, Rene Paredes missed a late field goal, and Peyton Logan proved you can’t catch a ball with your forehead.

Thankfully for the Stampeders, they were able to block a Jon Ryan punt and set themselves up deep in Edmonton territory to save the day for the specials.

The cover teams were very efficient and it’s becoming clear teams are kicking away from Jalen Philpot when possible, but the three uncharacteristic errors helped make the game closer than it needed to be.

Injury bug continues to bite

We likely won’t find out until Wednesday’s practice, but Natrell Jamerson looks to have injured his shoulder during the game.

Jamerson was an in-season replacement for already injured Stampeders, but has shown well as a rookie and should have had at least one interception on Monday.

Calgary’s secondary continues to be beaten up and has yet to have the same starters in 11 games to start the season. While depth players are getting valuable experience, the unit sure could use some good news.

Despite the rotating door at all positions, the Stampeders still came into the weekend leading the league in team interceptions and turnover ratio, which got even better with the four-to-one spread in this game.

I forgot to mention!

In all the talk about kick returners and the defensive line, I neglected to mention Folarin Orimalade also returned a kick for one yard.

It’s safe to say he won’t be moving back in the formation, but him catching the ball was more proof that the Elks had zero interest in seeing what the Stamps returners were capable of.

Next week

For the fourth time this season, the Stampeders and Elks will meet next week. At least it wasn’t over five weeks, I suppose.

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