Stamps lost intensity battle

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:58 PM ET

Two out of three ain't good.

When Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel assessed Saturday's 29-10 loss to the B.C. Lions, he found that his offence and special teams simply lost the battle of intensity.

The Stamps' defence did an admirable job keeping it close, but the other two phases never showed up.

"You need to be ready to play a physical game of football to give yourself a chance to win," Hufnagel said Sunday morning.

"We did not play in those two phases as hard as the other team.

"Why do teams show up to play more on some days than other days? I just know I haven't experienced too many games when I've made that statement after the game.

"Fortunately our defence played well or the score would have been much worse."

If last week was a setback after an overtime loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, this outing is a complete wakeup call.

Whether it was complacency being 9-2 and comfortably in a playoff spot or the offence lacking the fire of a Nik Lewis, the Stamps just didn't look anything Saturday night like a team on a streak of five straight 35-point or more outings.

Now the Stamps face the Montreal Alouettes (twice) and Riders again with a two-game losing streak and questions about themselves.

Quarterback Henry Burris had his worst performance of the season, going just 11-of-26 passing for 136 yards.

His first pass was picked off by Dante Marsh. He threw a second interception to Korey Banks inside his own 10-yard line.

But his two worst plays were uncharacteristic of his last few seasons. On a great scramble for a first down, Burris lost the handle and dropped the football without being touched.

Later in the third quarter, Burris kept retreating away from pressure and was finally dropped for a 25-yard sack.

Burris certainly wasn't the only offensive player to have a bad night, but the veteran admitted afterwards he didn't play well enough to win.

"He's careless with the ball and it comes out," Hufnagel said. "It was a play-caller nightmare type of game. I've been involved in those and it's hard."

Burris wasn't in the game during one of the worst sequences.

A Burris to Romby Bryant pass got the team down to the Lions' one-yard line but backup QB Drew Tate was stuffed on a sneak attempt.

A pitch to Joffrey Reynolds was fumbled and the field-goal attempt from 18 yards out hit the goal post.

"We need to block," Hufnagel said. "You can make all the adjustments you want but you have to play physical, catch the ball and block. All those things hurt us."

The most glaring problem was on special teams coverage, as Yonus Davis burned the Stamps four times for long returns.

It all came down to intensity for Hufnagel.

"I hoped when we came out of the locker-room at halftime, we would regain the momentum and take care of business," Hufnagel said.

"It's hard to do when you aren't at the same intensity level as the other team. I'm very disappointed."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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