Carpenter falls on sword

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

A far away look in his eyes and most of his gear still on as he sat in his stall, Dwaine Carpenter didn't even consider deflecting blame.

"I have a high standard for myself and right now I feel like

I just let the whole team down. I feel like I let them off the hook with that one play," flatly stated the Calgary Stampeders defensive back on the heels of the 45-45 tie to the B.C. Lions last night at McMahon.

"Being a professional, you're supposed to have a short memory, but when you get used to playing at a high standard, that's what you expect. As an athlete, how do you fall down?

"I showed no athleticism whatsoever and just fell. Trying to get back up, I stumbled again. If I didn't stumble that second time, I would have had enough time to possibly break it up.

"We beat them. This game shouldn't go into the column as a tie. This should have been a win."

One play does not a game make, but Carpenter's nightmare couldn't have come at a worse time last night.

In overtime, and with the Lions needing a touchdown while looking at second and long, Carpenter went to the turf while trying to cover Paris Jackson.

Even third-string Leos quarterback Jarious Jackson couldn't miss a player that wide open from 47 yards away, and the resulting major took away a victory that would have put the Stampeders back to .500 going into their bye week.

Instead, they sit 3-4-1, wondering what they are and whether they are indeed good enough to be Grey Cup contenders.

Looking at the offence -- at least last night -- championship dreams aren't far fetched. Quarterback Henry Burris threw for three touchdowns amidst a 362-yard passing performance and ran for another three.

Running back Joffrey Reynolds, the forgotten star the week before, was back in the plan and scampered for

87 yards on 18 carries.

The receiver corps received provided exactly what you'd want out of the potentially dazzling Nik Lewis, clutch catcher Ken-Yon Rambo and savvy veteran Jeremaine Copeland.

But that defence ...

If defence wins championships, the Stampeders defenders have more work to do than the Egyptians building the pyramids.

Every time the offence built momentum before a frenzied McMahon Stadium crowd, the defence would lose it. Sure, it made for as exciting a CFL game we've seen all season, but it won't bode well when the film's broken down.

"It's going to be really difficult because coaches take it personally," said head coach Tom Higgins. "One side's going to relish feeling much better about themselves because they were moving the football and scoring some points, and the other side it's going be not acceptable.

"It's not for a lack of effort. It's an opportunity for young guys learning how to play. They have good, experienced players (on the Lions) that can make some place. Once we get enough game time and if we can keep them all together, it's gonna be a pretty good defence.

"The hardest thing is we have to be patient and people run out of patience as the season progresses."

Certainly, the Stamps defensive crew won't have a better chance to shine. The Lions started the night without

No.-1 quarterback Dave Dickenson.

Their most dangerous receiver -- Geroy Simon -- was lost in the third quarter due to an apparent back injury. Back-up QB Buck Pierce was felled with a shoulder problem in the fourth quarter.

Yet, the Stamps couldn't hold the fort, especially when they had to.

"I'm upset. I don't like this one bit. I'm at a loss for words," said linebacker Cornelius Anthony. "Our offence did a tremendous job. They had our backs when we weren't performing.

"As long as we don't make the same mistakes, we'll keep progressing."

Progression would assume forward motion. Last night's performance looked more like a step back for a defence that's surrendered the most points in the league.


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