Rate of return: Speedy

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

Titus Ryan's CFL debut concisely summed up the night for the Calgary Stampeders.

The good: A kickoff return for a touchdown.

The bad: An ill-timed fumble when the Stampeders had all the momentum.

The disappointing: A hurt knee that added injury to the insult of a 40-27 loss last night to the Montreal Alouettes.

First the good.

With his team down 20-0 early in the second quarter and needing something -- anything -- to get them into gear, Ryan delivered exactly what the team was looking for.

He took a kickoff 104 yards to the endzone to put the hosts on the board and give the sold-out McMahon Stadium crowd a reason to cheer.

"A huge play," said Stamps defensive lineman Mike Labinjo.

"That first quarter, we were in a big-time funk. Montreal came out and threw some things at us we hadn't seen before and took advantage of it.

"It's games like that, you're not scoring points and need something to get going, you're glad we have an exceptional returner in Titus. He's probably one of the fastest guys in the league and you saw it.

"As soon as he hit that little crease, I knew he was gone."

Ryan, who was in the starting lineup because of Ken-Yon Rambo's hamstring injury, saw the wall before him, but cut to the middle of the field.

He cut back to the blockers just in time for the crease to open.

It was to paydirt.

"We just needed it," he said of the club's first kickoff return touchdown since 2006. "Once I saw the hole, I just made a break for it and ran. Once I saw it opened up, I saw (Demetris) Summers was following me and I had good blocking."

However, Ryan's first pro game was also memorable for the key fumble.

The Stamps had pulled within six points later in the second quarter, were just starting a drive and Ryan had gone 17 yards from scrimmage with a perfect catch.

That's when he was rocked by Alouettes defender Anwar Stewart and put the ball on the turf.

Momentum lost.

"I knew better than to hold the ball like that," he said with a shake of the head. "That's my mistake and something I've got to work on next week during practice."

When the game was over, he needed treatment on a sore left knee that had him hobbling from the trainer's room to his locker stall.

"Its fine," said Ryan, who finished with three catches for 44 yards. "I just landed funny trying to catch the ball. It's tender a bit, but it's fine."


Photos