Defence shines for Stamps
With the offence sputtering, the Calgary Stampeders patchworked together a 27-13 win over the B.C. Lions on the strength of defence and special teams Saturday.
The Stampeders (10-1-1) have won eight consecutive games this season and extended their regular-season win streak at home to 16 in a row dating back to 2015.
Calgary gained more separation atop the West Division, now five points ahead of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and seven up on the Edmonton Eskimos. The Lions dropped to 6-6.
In just the first half, the Stampeder defence sacked Lions starting quarterback Jonathan Jennings four times, intercepted him once and knocked down two passes.
Calgary returner Roy Finch compiled 230 yards on punts and kickoffs, including a 66yard punt return that set up Reggie Begelton’s fourthquarter touchdown to seal the win.
“I think right now you’re looking at a team that’s led by the defence and special teams,” Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson said. “That’s not a bad combination.”
Middle linebacker Alex Singleton recorded his third straight game of 10 or more tackles with 11 Saturday, plus a quarterback sack.
“He is the centrepiece of that defence,” Dickenson said. “He’s up there with the best middle linebackers in the league and he’s only in his second year.”
Begelton’s 20-yard catch to score was the first touchdown of his CFL career. Marken Michel also had a touchdown catch of 31 yards in the opening quarter.
Rene Paredes kicked field goals from 27, 42, 17 and 37 yards with punter Rob Maver contributing a 66-yard single in front of an announced 28,176 at McMahon Stadium.
Lions kicker Ty Long was good from 26, 48, 46 and 35 yards and added a 68-yard single. But B.C. couldn’t solve a defence that harried Jennings all night.
Stampeder running back Jerome Messam left the game early in the third quarter when B.C.’s Micah Awe’s helmet collided with the back of Messam’s head.
The CFL’s leading rusher left the field under his own power, but did not return after rushing for 40 yards.
“I’m going to get evaluated and hopefully bounce back for next week,” Messam said following the game. “I kind of bit a hole through my lip. It’s my lip that’s bothering me the most so that’s good.”
B.C. Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings, left, is sacked by Calgary Stampeders’ Ja’Gared Davis during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Saturday.