Up and down

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

Halfway into the 2005 season, the horse has yet to find a winning stride for more than a furlong.

Just six days after the Calgary Stampeders' finest effort of the season in a 40-37 win over Montreal, the CFL club suffered another letdown in a 25-16 loss in Toronto Wednesday.

Spread the blame around for the latest chapter of the win-one, lose-one saga that has the Stamps at 4-5 on the season.

There was Gerald Harris stepping out of bounds two yards short of the first-down marker on second and long.

There was Nik Lewis, with the usually glue-covered hands, heading out of bounds while bobbling a catchable pass and that would have put the club in better field position than the 56-yard field-goal attempt that went wide.

There were missed tackles on punt coverage, where a half-dozen defenders had their mitts on Bashir Levingston and he still took the ball 109 yards for the winning TD.

Like the win over Montreal, quarterback Henry Burris put the team in a position to win. But there was no late bailout from Sandro DeAngelis this time and Burris knows his group missed too many opportunities.

"It's disappointing, period, because we had a chance to win it," Burris said. "If we make a catch there at the end, we keep the sticks moving and give Sandro an easier kick to make.

"The best thing we ask for is to give ourselves a chance to win. I like what we did in Montreal but we just didn't finish it off in Toronto."

That the Stamps let the Argos hang around so long is ultimately the biggest mistake they made.

Future Hall-of-Famer Damon Allen wasn't himself, fumbling twice and throwing a pair of interceptions. Receiver Robert Baker also put one on the turf but he was the focus of a momentum shift when he drilled safety Trey Young after the rookie picked off Allen.

At every turn, the Argos took careless penalties. A Mike O'Shea interception was negated by an offside.

A Stamps scoring drive was aided by an Adrion Smith face mask on Joffrey Reynolds. A Baker reception inside the five was pushed back when centre Chad Folk needlessly slammed Terrence Patrick to the turf, letting John Grace pick off Allen on the next play.

Toronto was sloppy but it was still close enough to take control in the final minutes, so Stamps head coach Tom Higgins is hoping this is a wakeup call.

"We're still learning how to win football games," Higgins said. "We haven't won two football games in a row yet. We're going to work on that. That's the way it's worked out. There's no rhyme or reason to it.

The 10-day, two-game trip wasn't a complete success after the brilliant start.

"Before we left, people said if we won one out of two, that would be great," Higgins said. "Shoot, we wanted to win two out of two. We won one and now we have to lick our wounds."

There is some salvation for followers of the team: If the trend continues, the Stamps should be in top form on Labour Day to meet the Edmonton Eskimos.

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RISON OUT: Andre Rison was released by the CFL's Toronto Argonauts so the controversial wide receiver could find employment with another team.

Toronto revived Rison's professional career last season after a four-year layoff from the NFL.

The decision was mutual, said Argos vice-president of football operations Adam Rita.

"He understood we're not going to use him unless we're in dire straits," Rita said. "Hopefully he'll get another job."

Rison's representative Bill Thies said he has already talked to two other teams in the CFL and two in the NFL, indicating some are interested and some aren't, "his brash attitude a factor."

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ESKS INK JENKINS: The Edmonton Eskimos are looking to a former 1,000-yard rusher to kickstart their running game.

The CFL club announced yesterday it has agreed to contract terms with free-agent running back Michael Jenkins, who ran for more than 1,000 yards twice with the Toronto Argonauts.


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