There were no endzone dives or last-minute heroics by the suddenly sizzling hot quarterback of the Calgary Stampeders yesterday.
Henry Burris was so good through the second and third quarter of a 35-24 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in the Labour Day Classic at McMahon Stadium that none of that excitement was required.
With the win, the Stamps improve to 4-4-1 on the season, while the Eskimos drop to 3-5-1 and into the basement of the CFL's West Division. Calgary takes the season series against Edmonton and would hold the tiebreaker if both teams finish with the same record at the end of the year.
On four possessions starting just before halftime, Burris went on a tear, going 11-of-12 passing for 211 yards and three separate TD strikes.
The first score came on a bullet to Ken-Yon Rambo that was such a great catch Eskimos coach Danny Maciocia threw the challenge flag to make sure it was complete.
On the second drive of the second half, Burris hit Rambo again on a 14-yard TD strike. The defence created a two-and-out, and Burris found a wide-open Ryan Thelwell for a 57-yard bomb.
The sequence erased a six-point Eskimos lead at half-time and made up for three turnovers in the first half -- a Lenny Williams interception on a Jeremaine Copeland slip and two Markus Howell fumbles on returns.
"It's all about momentum and rhythm," Burris said. "The toughest thing for an offence is just to get going. Once you get in that zone, it's just as hard to lose it.
"Those little things like a slip on an interception or Markus having the ball knocked loose, those things will happen. But it was all about bouncing back and having the confidence that we could do it."
Burris was 23-of-33 passing for 382 yards, four TDs and one interception. It was his sixth straight 300-yard passing game heading into Friday's rematch in Edmonton.
"This is not a two-week thing," said right guard Bobby Singh of the offensive explosion. "We're gonna do this all the way to the Grey Cup."
Thelwell had a career day, catching seven balls for a Stampeders Labour Day-record 199 receiving yards and two TDs.
He broke the 1995 mark held by Allen Pitts, who was part of a historic Labour Day when Jeff Garcia set the mark for passing yards and TDs in the former pivot's first start.
"That's amazing. I didn't know that," said Thelwell, who set a career high in yards.
"Allen Pitts is one of the best receivers to ever play. To hear that is amazing."
The Esks built an 11-point first-half lead by capitilizing on three Stamps turnovers.
Ricky Ray, who finished 20-of-26 passing for 270 yards, threw a touchdown strike to Trevor Gaylor after Tyler Ebell opened the scoring with a 21-yard scamper for a major.
Ray didn't give up when it seemed his defence couldn't stop Burris.
Early in the fourth, Ray looked as if he would cut into an 11-point Calgary lead when he found T.J. Acree all alone behind coverage.
But Stamps defensive back Brandon Browner turned on the jets, catching Acree from behind and knocking the ball loose from what would have been a long TD strike.
"What I enjoyed was the second-half drive for 6:19 -- if my math is correct -- to kick a field goal," said head coach Tom Higgins. "That ended up being a big drive.
"The other big play in the second half was Brandon Browner showing his exceptional speed and instead of making a tackle, trying to get the football out."