Allen pounds defence

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:10 PM ET

The Calgary Stampeders are just one game into the 2005 season and their defence is already trailing badly in the turnover ratio.

That wasn't what the lauded group had in mind but when you line up against the ageless Damon Allen, taking the ball away becomes a tough deal.

Calgary's defence couldn't force the 41-year-old veteran into any mistakes in a 22-16 loss last night at McMahon Stadium, which lineman Demetrious Maxie compared to another smashmouth sport.

"It's like getting a boxer out there fighting someone off the street," said Maxie, who still had two sacks. "He's going to pound you. That's what he's been doing his whole life. He did us in tonight."

The Stamps did manage to control the Argos running game and kept Allen from rushing for any yardage as well.

The team just couldn't stop him from rolling out and evading pressure long enough to rack up 340 yards passing against the revamped Stamps secondary.

Yet Calgary's defence could hardly be blamed for allowing two touchdowns on first-half turnovers, although linebacker John Grace doesn't see it that way.

"We gave up early touchdowns on turnover but that's something we pride ourselves on defence," said the 2004 West Division defensive player of the year. "If there's a turnover, at best we give up a field goal.

"We gave them easy touchdowns. They got touchdowns on second downs."

Argos running back John Avery was a non-factor in his season debut, only amassing 14 yards on six carries.

The problem was Allen never threw a pass a Stampeder defender could catch. One bullet was tipped but defenders Joey Boese and Jude Waddy knocked each other over trying to make the interception.

Toronto scored on the same drive because, Grace said, he takes advantage of his extra chances.

"Damon Allen has done this stuff for 20 years," said Grace. "There's no team in the league that's going to shut him down. There's no way to do it.

"But his guys made plays. Arland Bruce made a great catch and he wasn't supposed to be in the area. Things like that happen.

"It's a long season and we have some new guys on the back end. We stopped the run. That was one thing we wanted to do.

"We had Damon corralled, he just made a lot of plays."


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