Saturday, August 19, 2017
STAMPEDERS 21 LIONS 17
VANCOUVER - Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson hounded his team all week about their sloppy practices after enjoying some time off to heal bumps and bruises.
The club grinded out the win on Friday night, but no one was overly thrilled with the performance.
Jerome Messam rushed for Calgary's only touchdown and Rene Parades was perfect on five field goals in a sloppy 21-17 victory over the B.C. Lions.
"We played exactly like we practised,'' said Dickenson. "Guys just lost their focus a little bit.''
Despite the negatives, Calgary (6-1-1) regained second place in the CFL's ultra-competitive West Division, a point back of the Edmonton Eskimos and a point up on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"It was disappointing to see the execution and the mental errors and the penalties and just stuff we're not used to seeing,'' added Dickenson, who improved to 21-3-2 as a head coach. "At the end of the day it will still count as two points.''
B.C. (5-4), meanwhile, remains fourth in the West, four points ahead of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who have two games in hand.
The well-rested Stampeders, who improved to 15-0 in the game following a regular-season bye dating back to 2004, hadn't played since Aug. 3, but entered B.C. Place Stadium having outscored opponents 128-35 in their three previous outings.
There was none of that on this night, with Bo Levi Mitchell going just 15-of-31 passing for 237 yards and one interception, marking the first time in 18 games the Calgary quarterback failed to throw a touchdown.
"The game's not about numbers,'' said Mitchell. "We're 1-0 this week. That's all that matters.''
Mitchell improved his career record to 49-8-2 as a starter, but suggested some type of injury to his throwing shoulder was part of the reason for a somewhat pedestrian performance.
"We all play through things,'' he said cryptically. "Unfortunately I rely on a big part of my body and that's hindering a little bit right now.''
Jonathon Jennings threw a TD to Chris Rainey and ran in another score for the Lions, finishing 26-for-38 for 240 yards with two interceptions. Ty Long kicked a field goal for B.C., but also missed a crucial convert.
The Lions were looking to make amends following Sunday's ugly 41-8 loss in Regina to the Riders where head coach and general manager Wally Buono questioned their readiness in his pre-game team talk.
"We're a football team that needs to execute better,'' Buono said Friday. "We're a football team that needs to play better, and we're a football team that needs to take care of opportunities.''
Calgary led 9-0 after the first quarter, but the damage could have been a lot more after Marken Michel dropped what looked like a sure touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage.
B.C. struggled mightily on offence through most of the first half minus injured receivers Bryan Burnham and Nick Moore.
The Lions' offence had almost nothing going on - four punts, one blocked punt and an interception on their first six drives - until they got the ball with less than five minutes to go in the second quarter. Jennings lead a methodical 11-play, 69-yard drive that culminated in his own one-yard plunge and a two-point conversion.
Notes: The Lions visit the Ottawa Redblacks next Saturday, while the Stampeders host the Toronto Argonauts. ... Calgary and B.C. play again on Sept. 16 at McMahon Stadium. ... Attendance was 20,622.