Stamps rookie takes blame

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Mike Souza pointed the finger at himself.

Showing the leadership ability of a veteran, the Calgary Stampeders rookie quarterback accepted more than his share of the blame after his first-career CFL start.

Souza, 22, exhibited a few positive signs, but also threw three interceptions as the bottom-feeding Stamps lost 49-24 to the Argos at the SkyDome.

"Some of the decisions I made were just killers," said the Illinois State product, who completed 21 of 40 passes for 251 yards last night after attempting just 26 passes in his four previous games.

"We put our defence down there for a nine-yard drive and a four-yard drive for (Argos) touchdowns. You can't do that. That's on my shoulders and I've got to try to get better."

When Souza's next start will come is up in the air. The Stamps (3-12), all but officially eliminated from the playoffs, acquired marquee quarterback Khari Jones in a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week and he's expected to start when Calgary returns to action -- Oct. 16 against the Argos at McMahon Stadium.

In particular, Souza was kicking himself for the two interceptions he threw near the end of the first half that resulted in short Argos touchdown drives.

On the second of those picks, while having a rare chance to call plays in the hurry-up offence with less than a minute left in the half, Souza panicked and threw an ill-advised deep pass from near the end zone.

It was picked off by Adrion Smith, who ran it back to the four-yard-line, setting up a John Avery major that gave the Argos a 28-10 lead.

"That was really, really stupid on my part," Souza said. "The coach (Matt Dunigan) was trying to get my attention just to run it (the clock) out and I made a dumb decision."

Dunigan understands why some of the decisions were made.

"(Souza) showed a lot of poise and made a lot of plays and did some really good things, but he did some young things that certainly hurt us," the former star quarterback said.

After yet another loss, Dunigan defended his team.

"We're headed in the right direction," he said. "Talking to (Argos coach Pinball Clemons) after the game, he sees it, I see it and I feel it.


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