Makeover story

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

A month ago in Winnipeg, the Stampeders tucked two points into their equipment bags and slipped out of town, the most unsightly of CFL wins securely stowed away for the two-hour flight home.

If those airport metal detectors were equipped to sense hideous performances, nobody in Red and White would have made it to the departure gate on time.

While failing to find the endzone against the Bombers, Calgary redefined 'winning ugly' with a special teams touchdown as their only major of the night. The high-flying offence promised since training camp had yet to materialize with quarterback Henry Burris and Co., misfiring on four drives that stalled inside Winnipeg's 35-yard-line.

Burris completed just 17 of 34 passes for 209 yards and one interception despite enjoying ample opportunities provided by a Winnipeg offence led by Tee Martin that couldn't sustain a drive all night.

Now that's all changed, according to the Stampeders, who are riding back-to-back 300-yard passing performances from Burris while the offence has scored eight touchdowns the last two outings.

Jeremaine Copeland, who hauled in a 40-yard TD strike in Vancouver, suggests the men paid to perform in the endzone are just now finding their stride with Winnipeg back tomorrow night for a second look at the Stampeders offence.

"The last time we played Winnipeg, our offence wasn't clicking the way it has been the last two weeks," said Copeland, adding the emergence of league-leading running back Joffrey Reynolds provides the Stamps with a complete package.

"But now we feel like we're on the upswing and things are connecting the way we want it to, plus with Joffrey back there running the ball the way he can, everything is in focus right now.

"We've got holes opening up for the running game, linemen are picking up their blocks, receivers are connecting with the quarterback, plays are being made downfield and underneath and we're keeping drives alive."

Reynolds charged to the top of the rushing list this week with an 84-yard night against the Lions, improving his season numbers to 478 yards on 65 carries while his 7.4 average is by far the best in the CFL.

Nik Lewis and Copeland are fifth and sixth, respectively, in the league with nearly 400 receiving yards each while Burris's completion rate has spiked to 61.8%.

"We've improved a lot and have learned from the mistakes in that game in Winnipeg and that's made us better," Burris said. "We started executing better and put points on the board and scored when we got in the scoring area."

Although Burris's 300-yard game in Vancouver was overshadowed by the masterpiece fielded by Lions QB Dave Dickenson, the Stamps pivot argues opposing teams are just beginning to see how dangerous Calgary's offence will be this season.

"Once we get to the point where we can execute for all four quarters it will be sweet but it's getting there and you can see progressions," Burris said.


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