Stamps stumble out of gate again

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- The Grey Cup title defence is off to a horrible start.

For the second straight game, the Calgary Stampeders have come out of the gates with a whimper.

The Stamps fell into an early 10-0 deficit and couldn't claw back enough, losing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 42-30 last night in front of a soldout crowd of 29,533 at Canad Inns Stadium.

In the season-opening loss to the Montreal Alouettes July 1, the Stamps were down 20-0 before tying it and eventually losing at McMahon Stadium.

There was less drama this time, as quarterback Henry Burris threw three interceptions, one for a Bombers touchdown, as Winnipeg turned five turnovers into 28 points.

"Nobody wants to start off 0-2, and this is the way it's going down," said receiver Jeremaine Copeland, who caught a late TD from backup Barrick Nealy.

"We have to get better. We have to minimize the mistakes. We need to get started a lot earlier. We're waiting too late to get started."

Burris did go 25-of-39 passing for 247 yards before leaving following Siddeeq Shabazz's pick for six.

The Stamps got off to a rough start from the opening kickoff, as the Bombers executed a short kick and Jonathan Hefney recovered.

After a Bombers field goal and a quick two-and-out by the Stamps, Winnipeg quarterback Stefan LeFors drove the team down for the first of two Terrence Edwards touchdown receptions.

A Brett Ralph fumble before halftime was quickly turned into Edwards' second TD.

They never looked back, despite the Stamps getting to within 10 points in the fourth quarter. As soon as they did, Dorian Smith tipped a pass that Shabazz took back for a TD.

The Stamps haven't won in Winnipeg since 2005 and this is their first two-game losing streak since getting beat last July by the Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders in successive weeks.

"We're not a very good football team, right now," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "Everyone in the CFL understands that. Everybody in that locker-room understands it if they didn't already understand it.

"This means we need to work hard, do what we need to in order to get better real quick.

"There was sloppiness in our play. The defence regrouped and gathered themselves. Offensively, we couldn't stay on the field.

"We had too many drops, didn't run the ball effectively enough, consistently enough. We tried to climb back into it, but we didn't deserve to win this game."

Former Stamps running back Lavarus Giles, who spent a few weeks on the practice roster last season, punched in his first two CFL TDs.

The Stamps defence actually did a decent job, holding LeFors to 13-of-27 passing for 156 yards.

The former Edmonton Eskimo came away with his first CFL victory as a starter as the Bombers improve to 1-1.

Although the Stamps had a slight edge in time of possession and led 396-282 in total offence, the turnovers hurt badly.

"It's the whole thing we're talking about," Burris said.

"It's stuff we've done a million times. Stuff like that happens if you are half-a-second off here and there.

"Two different guys are thinking two different things on the same play. That's the funk we're in, right now."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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