Positives outweigh negatives

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

There was a busted coverage on a go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes and several missed passes to wide-open receivers.

Those are the negatives.

It's just as easy for the Calgary Stampeders to find the positives from a 28-26 victory over the B.C. Lions Saturday night in Vancouver, not to mention the fact it sealed a home playoff date.

When the Stampeders (10-6-1) needed some key plays, they were made, and now the defending Grey Cup champions feel like they are rolling heading into the season finale.

"We are on an upswing," said receiver Jeremaine Copeland, who made three first-down grabs on a game-winning drive for a field goal.

"You want to be playing your best at this time, and we played pretty good last week.

"Even though we left a lot out there, we did enough to get a win in B.C., which is tough to do.

"The best thing about football is climbing the ladder. When the playoffs start, you want to be going full speed, and we're on that path right now."

In consecutive weeks, the Stamps have checked things off their to-do list.

First was locking up a playoff spot, and the second was getting at least second place in the West Division.

Now they head into Regina Saturday for a meeting with the Saskatchewan Roughriders that will decide first place in the West Division.

The Riders may have lost this weekend to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but they will be fired up to clinch the West Division for the first time since 1976.

To beat the Riders, the Stamps defence will have to make some corrections.

With a six-point lead and three minutes left against the Lions, Casey Printers was able to make five straight completions, the final one being a 46-yard bomb to Paris Jackson, who managed to slip behind coverage.

Although Dwight Anderson was the one chasing Jackson on the play, it wasn't his fault, but he agrees he and the Stamps secondary need to be better.

"They schemed us and ran a good one on that play," said Anderson, who bit on an early route that allowed Jackson to get open deep in the first half.

"They did some nice things with their routes and certain plays worked against our coverage. We have to make some adjustments. I'm just glad we won, and next week, it's for the real deal.

"Winning makes you sleep a little better, but coaches are still going to chew us out. We're going to be reviewing our mistakes and make sure we correct it."

Securing a home date is nice, but the Stamps would like a week off to rest bumps and bruises.

"We don't want to travel anymore, either," Anderson said. "It's a head buster. The playoffs start next week."

The one thing the Stamps have now is a hold on the Lions. If they face the Leos in the playoffs, it will be riding a seven-game win streak.

They haven't beat the Riders this season, and they can do that this weekend as a secondary goal behind hosting the West final.

"I want it worse than I wanted second," said slotback Nik Lewis.

"I need that bye week. A week off is big. I want to sit back and let B.C., Edmonton or Saskatchewan beat themselves up. It was big for us last year. You only need one more to get to the big game."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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