Blowout win could mask problems for Stampeders

Nothing covers up the blemishes on a football team better than a convincing win.

And boy were the Calgary Stampeders convincing on Saturday night.

It’s hard to be critical about anything to do with the Stampeders after a 60-1 stomping of the woeful Hamilton Tiger-Cats on a sunny, hot evening at McMahon Stadium on Saturday night.

The only worry is there might be an issue lingering that will be overlooked by what happened as the Stamps completed the first third of the regular season with a 4-1-1 mark.

When the Stamps went up 39-1 at halftime, it was no surprise that Andrew Buckley came in to replace Bo Levi Mitchell. Here’s the interesting part though: Mitchell didn’t practise this week as he’s nursing an undisclosed injury.

Now the Stamps have to feel good about what Buckley managed to do against the Ticats. Still, it’s not a good sign that Mitchell is ailing at this point in the season.

Mitchell managed to roll into this game, pile up the points and leave with a massive lead, but what happens when they face a team that isn’t struggling mightily?

In 30 minutes of action, Mitchell went 11-of-17 passing for 197 yards and a touchdown strike to Marken Michel, who was seeing every-down action because of an injury to Kamar Jorden.

You would think the Stamps aren’t the same team without Mitchell under centre, but there was no missing a beat against the Ticats.

Buckley came in and played with the authority of a seasoned veteran. He picked apart the Ticats defence, went to the open man every time and scrambled away from pressure with a calm confidence.

As a quarterback, Buckley went 10-of-10 passing for 106 yards and his first CFL touchdown pass, appropriately thrown to fellow University of Calgary Dinos alum Anthony Parker.

Obviously, it must ease any worries the Stamps feel about missing Mitchell for any length of time to see what Buckley did in relief.

But it can’t be overstated that the Ticats simply rolled over and died in Calgary. This is a two-game road trip for Kent Austin’s team and it doesn’t get much better as they stick around Calgary to practice before heading to Edmonton, where another horrible beating seems inevitable.

Another issue for the Stamps is the loss of Jorden, who left with a knee injury after getting rolled into on a rushing play. Jorden is the Stampeders’ leading receiver this season as he’s breaking out in a big way.

Michel certainly took advantage of that opportunity, piling up 197 yards from scrimmage and making one of those highlight-reel grabs in the end zone after getting close to pay dirt on two other big plays.

There was no shortage of positives for the Stamps in this one.

Roy Finch’s punt-return touchdown set the tone in the first half, as the pint-sized specialist darted through defenders and turned on the jets to score.

The Stamps defence was all over the quarterbacks again, and a pick-six from Shaquille Richardson gave them more points than they allowed. In two home games following a loss in Montreal, the Stamps allowed just one touchdown and were creating constant havoc.

During that stretch, the run game turned things around as well thanks to a clear focus on getting Jerome Messam going. He delivered on Saturday night, hitting the holes with authority.

Offensive lineman Spencer Wilson managed to catch a two-point convert reception, Buckley had a reception on his own pass that was batted back to him, and kicker Rene Paredes drew a pass interference call on a broken field-goal attempt.

It was a weird night overall, but now the Stamps have to forget about that and refocus.

They head into Toronto for a meeting with a stung Argonauts team that will be looking to get back on track after losing in Regina.

Then it’s the bye week, which might be a good time for the Stamps to heal up and get energized for the middle third of their schedule.

Ian Busby

Ian Busby

Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.
Ian Busby
Ian Busby
About Ian Busby (175 Articles)
Ian Busby has covered the Stampeders and the CFL since 2003, with eight years as a beat reporter. He is now a producer at Breakfast Television.

25 Comments on Blowout win could mask problems for Stampeders

  1. George Porge // July 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm //

    According to so many talking heads in these forums, Bo Levi Mitchell is just an overrated pretender who happened to have a great team around him. If that’s the case, there should be no loss of step if Mitchell takes a game or two off to heal up.

    Last time Calgary’s starting quarterbacks were hit with injuries, Calgary still made it to the Grey Cup final. The following two seasons saw Calgary’s third-string QB become one of the league’s elite starters.

    • To some he may be an “overrated pretender” but how would Buckley make out in a game as a starter?
      I just can’t see him ready to start a game, if BLM goes down for an extended period the Stamps are in serious trouble.

      • George Porge // July 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm //

        “I just can’t see him ready to start a game” That sentiment is exactly my point, though. The same thing was being said about Mitchell as recently as 2013. He became the starter in 2014 – remember how that season ended?

        Remember that it was only a few short seasons ago that we were talking about “backup” quarterbacks with few game-day snaps under their belt. Guys with names like “Reilly”, “Jennings”, “Harris”, “Willy”, and “Collaros”. While it is true that some of those names have been met with less than stellar performance as starters, all but one are starters now, and most are pretty decent. Now the backup names are “Buckley”, “Bridge”, and “Franklin” among others. Who will become great and who will become a footnote will only be seen once they are given the reins for more than a single full game.

        Having said that, I agree with you that losing Bo would definitely mean a loss of step for the team as a whole. Where you and I may disagree is to the level that the team will suffer if he falters. The Stampeders are a complete team. They’ve been decimated with injuries already, but the replacements have all been able to plug into the system and win games. And many of the points scored are coming from plays for which Bo has little to no control (like defense, special teams).

        Also, you really can’t have it both ways. Either the quarterback is the centerpiece to a team’s success, and so Bo deserves the accolades that come with his record, or he simply isn’t, and losing him means the team can still function without him.

  2. Hors E Power // July 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm //

    I don’t think there is much if a concern. If one team knows how to deal with it the Calgary Stampeders do!

  3. White Horse // July 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm //

    George Porge…you may have a worthy statement. BLM is a very good on-field manager. Sometimes I also question his ability to be a special QB. He is not a great long ball passer. He will not run with the ball ever. He will likely be overshadowed by Reilly and perhaps Lulay this season. However, he does have a superb group around him and a excellent defence to give him the ball. We will see how he does against the Lions and the Eskimos. His accuracey is at question. I think he sees his open relievers well with great perifferal vision.
    Hello Labour Day in Calgary.

    • George Porge // July 31, 2017 at 1:46 pm //

      “He is not a great long ball passer.”

      I would debate that. Bo has thrown a lot of long balls, and while previous games this year included a lot of misses, he appeared deadly accurate on Saturday. Now, albeit that was against a poor team that couldn’t get any pressure on Bo, but then again, lack of pressure is something that the O-Line is responsible for much more than the QB – so perhaps his lack of accuracy has been a lack of protection rather than his own lack of skill.

      “He will not run with the ball ever.” No, he won’t, as long as we have Jerome Messam or another capable RB in the lineup. Bo was running a lot more in some prior years (2014, 2015), but the game plan was changed to limit his own running because of all the QB injuries that happened in those two seasons. That is part of the reason why Bo has managed to stay off the IR while Reilly and Lulay spent a lot of time on it. Every time a QB runs, you are risking that QB getting injured.

      “He will likely be overshadowed by Reilly and perhaps Lulay this season.”

      That is very possible, but again a lot of that depends on the statistics used to measure QBs. Calgary will be running the ball more than ever, and because of that, there will be fewer throwing downs compared to Reilly and Lulay, and like indicated earlier, Bo will not do the running. A lot of that is simply the result of play-calling over anything else.

      • White Horse // July 31, 2017 at 3:22 pm //

        George Porge…good points well taken. I know that DD doesn’t want Bo to run. Stamps had great running backs (Kevan Jenkins etc) in Flutie Era but I guess we could not expect Bo to hook-slide like Flutie did.

  4. Hors E Power // July 30, 2017 at 6:24 pm //

    BLM is a proven winner. Perfect no but a winner yes. Reilly is the better QB right now no question and Bo has struggled

  5. Hors E Power // July 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm //

    Early indications are Jorden isn’t long term. Michel has played before and done well prior to last night. Moving Daniels to slot might actually work with Michel at wideout. Besides that our defense can hold Fort if needed

    • No team wants their D to shoulder the responsibility as they will tire. That said, I think Buckley could answer the bell and may add the extra mobility which Toronto may not be expecting.

  6. George Fogarty // July 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm //

    To bad they couldn’t have played like this in last years cup final. Ah well guess they are going to have wait a few more years to get back there. Maybe by that time they will have the Canadian kid at QB he seemed to have a better arm the Mr. Blue Jeans.

    • Hors E Power // July 30, 2017 at 8:05 pm //

      Oh you are so right George..noyhi g but misery ahead for Calgary

      • George Fogarty // July 31, 2017 at 10:16 am //

        It’ll happen.

        • George Fogarty // July 31, 2017 at 10:18 am //

          BLM is so overated, its the team around him that makes him look good.

        • Hors E Power // July 31, 2017 at 10:46 am //

          yeah it will will happen.
          The sun will one day burn out and destroy our solar system- It will happen

        • George Porge // July 31, 2017 at 1:49 pm //

          “BLM is so overated, its the team around him that makes him look good.”

          If that’s the case, then other teams in the West are going to be in for a long season against Calgary.

  7. Hors E Power // July 30, 2017 at 10:01 pm //

    Is it possible Bo hurt his hand last week against Sask? Possibly, but BO does not need to play lights out for this team to win. They can rely on defense, running game and a great return, kicking game too. A mediocre BO on this team still results in many many wins. If fact I woudl argue taht has been the case so far this season. We are 4-1-1 and getting better besides.

  8. Atta boy Buckley. Way to make the most out of an opportunity. Hamilton was god awful but the young Canadian pivot looked fantastic.

    • George Fogarty // July 31, 2017 at 10:17 am //

      He’s got a great arm would love him to see him as the starter. Hopefully Mr. Blue Jeans stays healthy if not put the Dino in he’s great.

  9. Bo is NOT that great – I’m the biggest Stamps fan, ever. He has a great team. That GREAT team comes directly from the BEST man in football today: Huff. This man could make Saskatchewan a winner.

    I miss Tate a lot but if Huff says Buckley can run the O, as DD said, I believe it.

    I don’t give a crud what players we have, as long as Huff is running the show, the Stamps will be excellent. Figure it out – every other GM in the league…

    • Hors E Power // July 31, 2017 at 10:52 am //

      Great teams always make players look better than the are. Great teams and great players go hand in hand.
      I agree with you. I’ve never been a fan or had loyalty of any particular player. That’s why my jerseys have no names and no numbers on them.
      The stamps are just like the patriots that way. Do you think Tom Brady would have become who he is if the Jacksonville Jaguars had drafted him?

    • CFLForever // July 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm //

      I lost all respect for “Huff” following the lack of professionalism and football acumen he displayed in forcing Henry Burris out of town.

      • White Horse // July 31, 2017 at 6:09 pm //

        CFL FOREVER…Henry Burris threw more interceptions for touchdowns than any QB in CFL history. Great legacy…Remember, Huff was a good QB in his day and his patience ran out with Hank.

      • George Porge // July 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm //

        How did Hufnagel force Burris out of town, exactly? Burris was benched because his backup quarterback became more consistent and started winning more games than Henry did. You think Huff should have just let Henry continue to start games when there was clearly a better quarterback behind him? You think Huff should have just decided “Henry’s a great guy, let’s just not develop any more quarterbacks so that Hank can get the ball some more?”

        Hufnagel let Burris go and seek another starting job on a team that needed him. Just as he did with countless other players who are currently making a difference on their teams. The alternative was to keep Burris on the bench, effectively ending his career.

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