Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

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The Calgary Stampeders never looked like they were up for the fight.

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If there was any momentum to be carried from their impressive win over the Toronto Argonauts last weekend, the Stamps almost immediately squandered it on Saturday night at BC Place in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions.

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Penalties, a leaky defensive performance and an offence that never came close to clicking … you name it, there were few positives for the Stampeders (3-6) against the Lions (7-2).

They got beat everywhere and were deservedly on the losing end of a lopsided 37-9 scoreline.

When you factor in the penalties, you could argue that the Stamps beat themselves, too.

It’s been a long time since the Stampeders have been beaten this badly.

They were penalized on the opening kickoff and had to redo it.

On the Lions’ opening drive, Kobe Williams took a 25-yard pass interference penalty — we’re not picking on Williams here, there were lots of penalties to go around.

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By the time the first quarter was over, the Lions were up 17-0, with quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. looking like the second coming of Doug Flutie and throwing touchdowns to Keon Hatcher and Alexander Hollins.

It only got worse before halftime. With Stamps quarterback Jake Maier — who completed 17-of-31 passes for 131 yards — finding little time to operate, they could only muster six points in the second quarter, while the Lions finished off the first half by blocking a Cody Grace punt and scoring a touchdown right afterward.

The Lions were up 27-6 at halftime, and there was no reason to believe momentum would shift when the teams returned to the field.

Some credit should probably go to the Stamps’ defence for playing better in the third quarter, but it didn’t amount to anything. The offence could still only put up a field goal. When you’re down 21 points, that doesn’t cut it.

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It only got worse, with Adams continuing to pick apart the defence and the Stamps’ offence not putting anything substantial together.

So where does this leave the Stampeders?

With the Saskatchewan Roughriders falling to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday, the Stamps blew a chance to jump them in the standings and place themselves in third place in the CFL’s West Division, which happens to be a playoff spot.

The loss doesn’t doom the Stamps’ season. There’s still lots of football to play and a lot of opponents who are significantly less dangerous than this very good Lions team. The Riders aren’t creating any separation in the standings, either.

But with games against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Argonauts coming up over the next two weeks, it’s not getting easier any time soon.

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The Stamps will no doubt give a few new bodies looks. The way Hatcher found himself open again and again, to the tune of nine catches for 170 yards, makes you wonder if a change in the secondary is coming.

Ultimately, something has to change. There’s too much talent on this Stampeders roster for them to be losing the way they did on Saturday night.

It was ugly and the memory of the disappointing performance will linger.


Stamps GM/head coach Dave Dickenson is 1-for-7 on challenges this year … Linebacker Micah Awe did have some nice moments, if we’re looking for positives. He had an interception at the end of the half, as well as five defensive tackles … Third-string quarterback Chris Reynolds got in late in the game but threw an interception on his first play … The Stamps finished with 11 penalties for 130 yards. The penalties killed drives, cost them field position and negated big plays. They were disastrous … As former Stamps offensive lineman John Bender pointed out on Twitter — I’m not calling it X — the team has kicked 11 field goals and scored one offensive touchdown in their last three games. That tells us a lot of what we need to know … The Stamps were 2-5 in 2021 but famously used their bye week to make major adjustments and salvaged their season. Is that possible this year? Absolutely. The only problem is they have four games before their next week off. Fortunately, two of those games are against the lowly Edmonton Elks.

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