Stamps win showcases improvements

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

After a day to reflect on the 40 minutes of keep away, one thing is clear for the Calgary Stampeders.

As much as Friday's 36-20 wasn't as impressive as the 41- and 47-point blowouts of the Edmonton Eskimos previously, it showed to head coach John Hufnagel that the Stamps are improving the way he wants.

And at the pivotal position, the Stamps are getting great production, even if there was one glaring mistake.

"This was Henry's best game of the season," Hufnagel said about quarterback Henry Burris, who went 29-of-35 passing for 404 yards, two TDs passing and two rushing.

"Since I've been here, he's played really well in that stadium. He had a tremendous game last night, throwing, running, managing the game. He had the one hiccup. Everything else was pretty good."

Good thing the Grey Cup is being played at Commonwealth Stadium this November.

Outside of one throw -- which Chris Thompson intercepted for an 84-yard touchdown -- Burris was right on the mark against the Eskimos.

His passes were sharp and his decisions even better. There were a few instances where the coverage was solid, so Burris took off running.

He ran three times for a total of 27 yards, including a 17-yarder that really hurt the Eskimos.

While the night belonged to Joffrey Reynolds, who bested Kelvin Anderson's franchise rushing record in style, going for 145 yards on 21 carries, the rest of the offence was chugging along nicely.

Thanks to efficient execution, Burris managed long drives and the Stamps owned the ball for 40:15 minutes of the game.

"Our offensive line did an excellent job of grinding it out and creating some holes," Hufnagel said.

"That's the style of offence we are. Over the past two and a half years, we've had a ball control offence with the ability to make some big plays utilizing the speed we do have."

The passing yardage was the best for Burris this season but his detractors will likely focus on his interception.

Although it wasn't the best decision, the reason Thompson could get to it was because there wasn't enough zip on it.

"The DB made a good break on it," Hufnagel said. "Henry didn't see the angle the DB had.

"As soon as he threw it, he knew it was an 'oops.' It was (Thompson's) sixth interception so he has good ball skills. He does a good job jumping routes."

With another strong defensive outing -- four sacks, three turnovers, 233 yards allowed -- the Stamps are solid in all phases except for making field goals.

It's time for a real test.

The Stamps kept their focus for the past six games in beating the three worst teams in the CFL.

Next Friday, they head into Regina to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a long-anticipated West Division showdown.

"It's nice to get to a new opponent," Hufnagel said.

"But I like how our team handled each game and their preparation for each game. Overall the way they played each game.

"We're making improvement on the field and we just have keep going."


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