Zero defence for poor tackling

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Just when the Calgary Stampeders broke a slump on one side of the ball, another one could be starting.

There is not much to complain about offensively after Saturday's 44-44 sawoff with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The defensive players are now the ones hiding from the head coach after allowing 427 passing yards, a tying touchdown at the end of regulation and two more in overtime.

The main symptom is bad tackling, which gave the Riders life a couple times on third downs or second-and-longs.

"Right now ... each week it's a different phase (that struggles)," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel.

"We're not the only team in that state. We played two very good football teams in a span of five days.

"Now we play another good team in a short week (Friday at home against Edmonton).

"We need to move on with this. The players need to take the constructive criticism they get and make sure we have one common goal to get better."

Coming off a 32-11 pounding Monday in Montreal, the offence rebounded with a 475-yard outing against the Riders Saturday.

Joffrey Reynolds piled up 137 yards on 19 carries and had another 47 on two receptions.

Henry Burris played his best game in more than a month, throwing for 285 yards while connecting on 67.6% of his passes, two of which were TDs.

Despite winning the time of possession battle, the Stamps defence wore down at the end an into overtime, and it showed as they got close to bringing down ball carriers but let them slip away.

In overtime, the Riders were facing third-and-10 when Darian Durant hit Johnny Quinn with a short pass, but the rookie was able to elude Dwight Anderson and get a first down.

On the second Riders possession, Chris Getzlaf took a swing pass and made a nice inside move to shake off Stamps safety Milt Collins at the line of scrimmage and hit the endzone from 35 yards out.

"He slipped away from me and made a great play to get past us," Collins said. "That is a play I have to make, though.

"I was praying the offence would get enough to get us a touchdown and have our back. That's a good feeling, at least."

Hufnagel admitted his defence let things slip away.

"We had some real good tackling, outstanding tackling, and then, at times, our missed tackles really hurt us," Hufnagel said.

"On that last drive to put it into overtime, we missed a couple tackles that would have meant no gain or a loss. If we make those tackles, it makes their job a lot harder.

"The players are humans and it was a short week. I believe my team felt the effects in the fourth quarter and overtime. We were able to overcome. We didn't give up and got the tie."

For the fourth time this season, the Stamps didn't come up with a victory when leading after the third quarter.

There were chances to put the game away had the offence kept going after a strong first half.

"Offensively, we did stall in the third quarter," Hufnagel said.

"We stalled and they outscored us in third quarter to get back into the game.

"On the final drive, they made plays to get into the endzone. That probably would be my biggest criticism in not being able to finish it off."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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