Clinching no cinch
Stamps fail to lock up first, losing to Lions
CALGARY — Clinching first place will have to wait another week.
With a win Saturday night over the B.C. Lions, the Calgary Stampeders could have guaranteed a home game in the West Division final on
The Stamps couldn’t get it done, though, falling 26-21 to the Lions and ensuring that the Stamps will have to wait at least another week to book their place in the West Final.
The Stamps put up a fight, to be sure, but a stingy Lions defence limited a Stampeders team that is still working to integrate a new group of receivers into their lineup.
It’s not a disaster, by any means. The Stamps only need to win one of their final three games to clinch first place in the West.
But it’s a reminder that there are good teams in the division.
The Stamps have now lost to the Lions, Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders this season, and the Lions look like the sort of team that can cause anyone trouble.
Things started slow, to be sure.
The Stamps didn’t score a single point in the first quarter. Combined with their showing in Montreal against the Alouettes on Monday, that meant they’d been shut out in four of the previous five quarters that they’d played.
The Lions, meanwhile, came out of the lockerroom firing on all cylinders.
Guided by quarterback Travis Lulay — who completed 14-of-25 passes for 193 yards and threw one interception — they opened the game with a 40-yard field goal by Tyler Long, and added another a couple minutes later to make the game 6-0.
After former Stampeders receiver Anthony Parker ran a punt back 79 yards but wsa stopped just short of a touchdown by a heroic effort from the Stamps’ Patrick Levels, Tyrell Sutton put the visitors ahead 13-0 with a three-yard run into the endzone.
It looked bad, and truthfully, it was bad.
Bo Levi Mitchell was struggling to connect with his receivers. That’s understandable given how injuries have ravaged the Stamps receiving corps and the team was playing with an inexperienced group. He eventually finished the game having completed 17-of-38 passes for 215 yards, while throwing two touchdowns and one interception.
Five days earlier against the Alouettes, the defence had managed to keep the Stamps in it and give them a shot to roar ahead in the fourth quarter, but the Lions are a significantly better team than the Als.
By the end of the first quarter, though, the Stamps seemed to finally get a little life.
The catalyst seemed to be a highlight-reel pass from Mitchell to William Langlais, who took a big hit from the Lions’ Anthony Thompson and managed to hang on to the ball.
The Stamps will have another shot at clinching the West next Saturday, when they host Saskatchewan.
Calgary Stampeders’ Patrick Levels (left) tackles B.C. Lions’ Anthony Parker during last night’s game at Mcmahon Stadium in Calgary.