STAYING PERFECT: STAMPS PULL AWAY IN FOURTH TO TAKE DOWN REDBLACKS
Defensive lineman Ja’Gared Davis led the way with six tackles and a sack while Bo Levi Mitchell threw for two touchdowns, as the Stampeders moved to 3-0 with a convincing 24-14 victory over the REDBLACKS on Thursday night.
Defence was the name of the game early, with both offences struggling to find a rhythm in the first quarter.
RB William Powell gave the REDBLACKS offence a boost late in the first quarter, ripping off three consecutive first-down runs to put his team deep into Stampeders territory. K Lewis Ward converted on his first field goal attempt of the night, giving Ottawa an early 3-0 lead.
Stamps’ QB Bo Levi Mitchell, who so effortlessly picked apart the Toronto Argonauts’ defence in week 2, couldn’t find the same success early on Thursday, as the REDBLACKS defence gave him and the Calgary offence no room to breathe.
Meanwhile Powell continued to find success against the typically stingy Stampeders defence, juking his way to another big gain on the REDBLACKS’ first possession of the second quarter. Once again however, the Stamps defence stood tall when it mattered, forcing another Ward field goal. Entering Thursday night’s game, the Stamps D had allowed just two touchdowns on 30 possessions to begin the 2018 season.
After starting the game with five consecutive punts, Calgary’s offence was given a gift by their defence midway through the second quarter, A tipped Trevor Harris pass ended up in the arms of LB Micah Johnson deep in REDBLACKS territory, giving Mitchell and the Stamps prime field position.
It didn’t take long for Mitchell to find his favourite target, WR Eric Rogers, who scored his league-leading third receiving touchdown of the season on a short underneath route. K Rene Parades’ convert attempt was good and the Stamps took their first lead of the game with time winding down in the first half.
The interception by Johnson seemed to wake up the Stamps offence, as Mitchell continued to find success on Calgary’s next possession, tearing off chunks of yards with completions to Rogers and Juwan Brescacin. Mitchell was just centimeters away from doubling his money with another touchdown pass to CFL rushing leader Don Jackson, but the ball tumbled through his outstretched hands and a promising drive for Calgary ended without points.
The Stamps headed to halftime with a narrow 7-6 lead over the visiting REDBLACKS, as both defences were able to shut down the typically potent offences.
REDBLACKS DB Rico Murray made his mark on the game early in the third quarter, tracking down a late pass from Mitchell and nabbing his second interception of the 2018 season, while ending a dangerous Stampeders drive.
A punt single from Ottawa P Richie Leone tied the game at 7 midway through the third quarter.
Once again Mitchell had Jackson streaking down the sideline and Calgary looked to have six points in the books, but Jackson bobbled the pass and the Stampeders settled for a field goal from Parades, taking a 10-7 lead.
After struggling for much of the second half, the REDBLACKS seemed to flip a switch on their next possession, as Harris found SB Greg Ellingson deep down the middle for a 56-yard completion. With a first down inside the 10, it looked certain that the REDBLACKS would at least tie the game, but after moving to the 1 yard line on second down, the Stamps defensive line stood tall and stuffed the sneak attempt.
That defensive stop may have been the turning point, as the Stampeders quickly got to work on offense, and Mitchell tossed his second major of the game, finding WR Kamar Jorden deep down the middle for a 32-yard score.
After the kickoff, the Stamps’ defence made another big play, knocking the ball loose from SB Brad Sinopoli and handing the keys right back to Bo. This time it was Jackson’s turn to score, as he notched his second touchdown of the season.
The REDBLACKS swapped Harris for Dominique Davis late in the fourth and he quickly made his mark on the game, finding Ellingson in the end zone to cut into the Stamps lead. But it was too little too late, and the Stampeders marched away with the victory.
Next week the REDBLACKS will travel to Montreal to take on the Alouettes while the Stampeders head into the bye week before heading to the nation’s capital in week 5 for a rematch with Ottawa.