Stamps had holes in sinking the Argos

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:26 PM ET

A 44-9 win should be cause for celebration.

After a pair of losses to start the season, the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders should be able to look at last night's thumping of the Toronto Argonauts as proof positive they've turned their fortunes around.

A win like that normally would mean a team is going great guns and ready to start the march to glory.

Instead ...

"A step forward for us," Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds called the victory. "We definitely can still tighten up a lot of things. Turnovers -- we had a few fumbles -- especially the one when we were going down to score in the second half. It was a missed opportunity for us.

"As good as the score seemed, and you know you can't have a perfect night, but there is always room for a lot of improvement."

Certainly, there still is plenty of room for the Stamps to improve on the heels of that performance.

This year's edition of the Argos is nowhere near as bad as the version that came to Calgary late last season. So it stands to reason beating them by five touchdowns is a beatdown worthy of a woodshed.

Not the case before the 33,109 fans who enjoyed the sunshine at McMahon Stadium.

The Stamps weren't full marks from start to finish for the win.

Consider the opening. After finally nabbing a first down on their opening possession in a game, the Stamps turned it over when receiver Nik Lewis fumbled at midfield.

There was only one drive of note in the first half -- a textbook 10-play, 75-yard march that ended with a Reynolds one-yard plunge.

Otherwise, there were more stops and starts than you'll see at the conditioning camp the Flames will hold next week for their prospects.

Then, there are the penalties. Not just too many, but too many foolish, big-yardage infractions for a team coached by stickler John Hufnagel.

To recap: Tom Johnson, unnecessary roughness. Mike Labinjo, roughing the passer. Dwight Anderson, face masking. Randy Chevrier, unnecessary roughness. Brandon Browner, face masking and pass interference on the same play.

Plus there was the usual assortment of offsides, procedures and holding.

The quick-strike touchdowns by the defence off turnovers in the second half only put a touch of spackle over those cracks.

"Right after my penalty, (Dwaine) Carpenter scores the touchdown. There's no bigger bounce back than that," Browner said with an obvious sigh of relief. "There are plays we need to clean up or they will cost us in the end. They cost us some points tonight, but luckily it didn't cost us the 'W'. We need to clean those things up."

He'll toast to that later.

Actually he did during the game by taking a drink of a fan's brew when Anderson scored his touchdown. But that's another story.

Browner shouldn't consider cracking any bubbly until this team starts to find high gear.

No Stamps should.

What was great last night was the offence from the defence. Two touchdowns off turnovers within a matter of minutes, and 21 points total from the defenders.

"And they held them to no touchdowns," Reynolds said. "We've been on the other side of that, turnovers for touchdowns, the past couple of weeks, so we know how that feels as an offence. It kinda puts you in panic mode and you really have to be poised to overcome those things."

Just like this team is still trying to overcome a slow start to the season.

At least last night's game was a step forward. But nothing more as of yet.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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