Drought getting offensive

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Late in yesterday's whipping at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel gathered his team for a pep talk.

He couldn't completely cool off his group, which was taking silly penalties and turning the ball over in a 32-11 beating courtesy of the East Division-champion Alouettes.

In the locker-room afterwards, tempers flared between two large players on either side of the ball, as Teyo Johnson and Brandon Browner had a bit of a disagreement.

It was a frustrating afternoon for those in Red and White, as Anthony Calvillo threw four touchdown passes and the Stamps couldn't manage a single major for the second straight game.

"We want to be the best team in this league. So when you lose, it's bitter," said middle linebacker Tim Johnson, who helped calm things down by screaming the Stamps win and lose as a team.

"We will come back fighting to win the West. We're in position to hold our own fate. This is a matter of losing to a good team, and we're not used to that. We won five of our last six games. We have to get back to winning.

"I'm not going to let anybody separate this team. We have to learn to win together and lose together. We don't want to lose, and that's the problem. We lost and nobody likes it.

"We have to feed off the positive energy from the loss and go from there. We will get it under control and put this behind us. We will be fine."

The loss drops the Stamps to 8-6 and into a first-place tie with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The two teams will meet Saturday at McMahon Stadium in what has become an enormous outing for both teams.

The Stamps will need to get their offence on track in a hurry.

When receivers did get open, quarterback Henry Burris was off the mark or something happened to kill the play.

The best example was a wide-open Nik Lewis early in the second half, but Burris' pass hit him in the back because the slotback lost it in the sun.

Burris finished 16-of-32 passing for 228 yards and two interceptions on his first and final throws, both of which were by Jerald Brown.

The Stamps haven't scored a touchdown since beating B.C. two weeks ago, a span of 145-plus minutes.

"You tell me," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel when asked about his offensive struggles. "There were people who were open, and for one reason or another, couldn't get it done. One time, the sun was in his eye and he couldn't see the football.

"We will keep slugging away, and I'm pretty sure we will find the endzone pretty soon."

The Alouettes didn't take things easy against the Stamps, even though they've already clinched the East and host the division final Nov. 22.

Calvillo threw three first-half TDs to Jamel Richardson and one in the second half to Andrew Hawkins.

The reigning CFL most outstanding player finished 26-of-37 passing for 289 yards with no interceptions.

Adrian MacPherson replaced Calvillo late in the fourth quarter, and he tried for a endzone bomb to Kerry Watkins on third-and-nine with less than two minutes left.

"We will see them Nov. 29," said Burris, who was obviously miffed.

The Stamps weren't surprised to see the Als compete hard being this was a Grey Cup rematch.

"When we play our best, we know what we're capable of" Burris said. "This is something we have to take head on. They always say if you can take on obstacles there are greener pastures on the other side. We are going to be fine. We will get it done."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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