Burris gives game away

ERIC FRANCIS

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Noticeably agitated minutes after his club's latest self-destruction, Tom Higgins was asked if after six years of unfulfilled potential, would Henry Burris ever get better.

His answer said everything you need to know about why his Stampeders are quickly losing the faith of local fans.

"Don't know yet," snapped the Stamps furious head-coach, eyes bulging. "I'd like to say 'yes,' but when we have these setbacks, I guess that's why I've lost hair and it's turning grey."

On a night when the Stampeders outplayed the league's best team in almost every facet of the game, Burris ruined an otherwise stellar performance by coughing up two fumbles and throwing two picks, costing his team two points.

Too bad, as the stage was set for a storybook ending.

"It's embarrassing -- that's all I can really say about it," said Burris, who will get no kudos for throwing for 423 yards and two touchdowns.

"It's embarrassing because we've been through this stuff so many times, and when we do it, the same stuff occurs. It doesn't matter if we threw for a thousand yards or whatever, when you have that many turnovers against anyone in the league you're going to lose. Hands down, they got away with one there."

Battling back from a rough start to scrape their way to an 11-11 tie at the half, the Stamps' slide started early in the third quarter when a blown assignment led to a blocked field-goal attempt. From there, the Lions scored 21 points off turnovers. The killer blow was a fourth-quarter wobbler to Ken Yon Rambo that was intercepted, ending any chances of closing a 25-21 gap.

"Henry knows he has to be better and secure the football and make good decisions when he's throwing the football," said Higgins for the umpteenth time. "He's not the only reason the Stampeders lost the football game."

Don't try telling the thousands of fans who began streaming to the exits once Burris did what he always seems to do when the chips are down.

Building back their confidence will be near impossible given the number of times Burris has done this to himself and to his team.

Those who stuck around to the bitter end of the 32-27 loss saw the final offensive stats read 487-292 in favour of the hosts. And Burris threw for nearly four times as much as the Lions' duo of Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson.

Still, Burris blew it.

"I live and die with No. 1," said Nik Lewis, whose 128-receiving yards were wasted.

"I know he's taking it hard, but Hank is not a bad quarterback. He makes plays no other quarterback can, and I will never say a bad thing about him. OK, he made a few mistakes, but no one's perfect. We have to rally and fight some more balls for him. You just got to keep going and hitting, and one day he's going to come up big. He's the man to me."

Not to the masses who, quite frankly, gave up on Burris a while back. When asked if Burris is his quarterback next week, Higgins didn't flinch despite being steamed.

"Yes, he is," said Higgins.

Let the debate begin.

Because there can be no debate he was at fault for last night's self-destruction.


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