Blame in receivers' hands

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

The major difference between offences Saturday at Taylor Field could be chalked up to one simple statement.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders' playmakers made plays at crucial moments, while the Calgary Stampeders' go-to guys whiffed.

Stampeders receiver Jeremaine Copeland was the most obvious offender, dropping passes on consecutive throws from Henry Burris in the third quarter of Saskatchewan's 19-9 victory.

The first came with just over a minute remaining in the frame as Copeland worked himself open for a deep ball near the five-yard line.

The pass simply clanked off his hands.

Chances were good Copeland had a touchdown, which could have tied the contest if the Stamps completed a two-point conversion.

Conversely, the 'Riders built their lead on similar passes their receivers managed to grab.

The first score was a beauty as Matt Dominguez fought off his coverage, tipped the ball in the air and snagged it before hit the turf.

Jason Armstead followed by basket-catching a rainbow from quarterback Kerry Joseph.

As the No. 1 man for the Stamps, Copeland knew he was outshone by the top guys from the opposition.

His drops wouldn't have necessarily meant the outcome would have been different but at least Calgary would have had a better chance.

"I dropped a touchdown that probably would have made the game a lot closer," said Copeland. "We just didn't execute, myself included.

"When we get down in the red zone, we have to score. It's small things. It's not something big we can turn around, it's all mental stuff. Our problems are from the ears up."

Despite all the balls thrown his way, Copeland only finished with three catches for 41 yards.

His streak without scoring a touchdown is now at six games, although a penalty negated one against the B.C. Lions a week ago.

Just like last week, Burris wasn't getting the support he needed from his receivers, even when he put the passes on the money.

Elijah Thurmon, who had two drops against the Lions, made a nice grab Saturday but was called for pass interference.

Nik Lewis wasn't a factor either as he only caught three balls for 50 yards.

Head coach Tom Higgins said the entire group of receivers needs to pick up its game and find ways to get open.

"We have players who have been playmakers in the past and who have made plays for us," Higgins said.

"No one is excluded. You have to be held accountable. If you don't, then we're missing the ingredient that gives us a chance to win."


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