Eric Rogers and Kamar Jorden had touchdown catches for the Calgary Stampeders in a 24-14 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday.
Calgary’s defence was the difference, however, generating a turnover that produced the first touchdown, and twice denying Ottawa at the goal-line early in the fourth quarter.
“It was a hard fought game, certainly not a clean game by any means by our team, but a lot of grit,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson. “A win is a win, at the end of the year, it counts for two points.”
On the 770 CHQR Stampeders postgame show, Don Jackson said defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks got credit from the team for the stalwart defensive performance, giving Claybrooks the defensive game ball.
“Coach came in with a plan, everybody played like a team, so we had to give it to coach Clay.”
Jackson ran for a touchdown and Rene Paredes kicked a 22-yard field goal for Calgary (3-0) in front of an announced 23,454 at McMahon Stadium.
Greg Ellingson had a touchdown catch for Ottawa (1-1). Kicker Lewis Ward was good from 40 and 28 yards and Richie Leone added a 63-yard punt single.
Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell surpassed a career 20,000 passing yards in the second quarter, making him the third Stampeder quarterback to do so after Henry Burris (32,191) and Doug Flutie (20,551).
Mitchell completed 19 of 35 pass attempts for 251 yards. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and was intercepted once.
Dickenson said not all of the blame for Mitchell’s 54.3 per cent completion rate rests on the quarterback’s shoulders.
“I don’t think we were as good as a group. Receivers dropped way too many balls, like I said we had a lot of holding calls, and Bo wasn’t as good as he was last week, but the standard is there,” Dickenson said. “But ultimately, we weren’t as sharp and we still managed a win.”
Ottawa counterpart Trevor Harris was 13-for-29 for 135 yards and was picked off once before giving way to Dominique Davis in the fourth quarter. Davis threw a nine-yard pass to Ellingson to score late in the quarter.
The Redblacks and Stampeders had each produced over 300 passing yards and 40 and 41 points respectively in their previous games.
But the two clubs were tied 7-7 until a Paredes field goal in the last minute of the third quarter.
Calgary’s offence found its footing in the fourth with Jorden’s 32-yard catch and Jackson’s six-yard run to score.
A 56-yard catch by Ellingson and a 15-yard carry from William Powell had the Redblacks threatening early in the quarter.
But Stampeder cornerback Ciante Evans turned Diontae Spencer back on the one-yard line and a plunging Davis was reversed by the Calgary line to force a turnover on downs.
Assisting Evans in the tackle on Spencer was Patrick Levels, who recounted the goal-line stand at the start of the fourth quarter.
“They called a nice play with Spencer to the flats, but Ciante and myself came and made the tackle, which gave us another opportunity to play on third down and one, and we got the stop on the goal line, so that was definitely a momentum swing for us.”
Stampeders defensive lineman Micah Johnson said the stand-out hit Evans made on the one-yard line is standard fare from the Fort Worth, Texas, native.
“Ciante, in my opinion, he’s pretty much the best cornerback we have and he is one of the best, if not the best, cornerback in the league. His presence out there, man, it’s all the time. He makes plays like that consistently,” Johnson said. “Consistently, ‘C’ makes plays like that, and I think he’s probably one of the most underrated players in the league. He’s so quiet, but, man, he’s a baller.”
Evans, however, did not finish the game after being carted off the field late in the fourth quarter.
Ottawa led 6-0 in the second quarter on a pair of Ward field goals when Calgary defensive end Folarin Orimolade knocked down a Harris pass for teammate Micah Harris to grab on Ottawa’s 10-yard line.
The Calgary Stampeders Podcast
Mitchell’s five-yard touchdown throw to Rogers in the end zone to cap the drive was the duo’s third touchdown in two games.
Calgary’s 14 penalties for 150 yards was a concern for coach Dickenson.
“We were getting way too many penalties, probably the worst penalty game we’ve had in a while. Who knows if they were actually legit. But, definitely way too many penalties and we gotta be better.”
Calgary has a bye week before travelling to Ottawa for a July 12 game. The Redblacks are on the road July 6 against Montreal before the rematch at home.
with files from The Canadian Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.