I was awfully jealous of my son Isaac tonight. He and a pal were sitting in the seats at McMahon Stadium, enjoying the game without a torturous deadline looming like the Sword of Damocles over my head (look it up. I’m too tired to explain. And I’m on holidays as of tomorrow, and just a little worn out from the game, so feeling a tiny bit punchy. I digress).
Anyways, he sent me the following text as I was fighting my way through the crowd to get to the Stamps’ locker-room, and wondering if I had actually remember to put a fairly crucial element — the final score — in the rather jumbled game story I had submitted to the paper:
“BEST. GAME. EVAR!!!!!!!”
(Help me out here. Not sure if the “evar” was on purpose. I’m not down with the lingo of teens. Will have to assume he used it correctly and that I don’t have to disown him for butchering a simple word).
What I’m trying to say here is that he was pretty much on target.
What a game. Best game “evar”? Well, that’s a bold statement, but certainly memorable, certainly worth watching again on the PVR.
It showed the Stampeders at their best and their worst. The 11 penalties they took in the first two and a half quarters were brutal. They earned every one of them, too. It was a stunning example of losing control on the field.
But after Chris McCoy’s piling-on call midway through the third quarter, the Stamps didn’t take a simple flag. They concentrated on football and proceeded to make big play after big play on both sides of the football.
Nik Lewis was, as usual, Nik Lewis. Seven catches, three touchdowns including the winner in overtime. What I don’t get is that everyone in the stadium knows Kevin Glenn is looking for Lewis in overtime. And STILL he gets open? And we’re not talking about blinding speed that’s getting him open. Just precise routes and a nose for open space and when to make a cut.
Give credit, too, to Chris Bauman, who had his best game as a Stampeder, and Romby Bryant, who made some big plays in the fourth quarter. Also standing tall was rookie quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who stepped into the game while Glenn was recovering from being banged up on the final drive of the fourth quarter, and threw a touchdown pass to Johnny Forzani that would have won the game if Forzani had hung on (he had a bad drop earlier, too, and was looking fairly despondent in the otherwise jubilant Stampeder locker-room).
Defensively, McCoy made up for his penalties — an offside penalty extended a Saskatchewan drive and would lead eventually to a touchdown — with two sacks, and the secondary, without Keon Raymond and, after he got hurt in the second half, Brandon Smith (he injured the same knee he hurt in Toronto), stepped up in clutch time. It didn’t hurt that normally surehanded Rider receivers Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf dropped gimme passes late in the game.
Malik Jackson’s interception was simply huge, of course, but so was the Charleston Hughes sack of Durant with 2:09 to play that pushed the Riders out of field-goal range and forced them to punt the ball back to the Stamps for their final drive in regulation.
As for Kevin Glenn, I thought that was a remarkable display of courage and tenacity. His stat-line tonight: 27-for-42 for 385 yards and four touchdowns. More impressive was his patience when it seemed the Stamps were imploding in the third quarter with penalties.
Smith’s injury, by the way, will be assessed further today, as will the injured leg long-snapper Tim St. Pierre suffered in the first quarter, although he toughed it out and continued to snap on special teams.