Smith burnt by Stamps

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

CALGARY - Brandon Smith sated early this week he could cover any receiver in the CFL.

Even when Smith had Fred Stamps covered like a blanket, the Edmonton Eskimos receiver made a huge play.

Smith will be right there when the end-of-year highlight videos are put together and Stamps' 65-yard touchdown is part of the package.

The first-half major was one of two Stamps touchdowns against Smith's coverage in an Eskimos 24-19 victory over the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.

The first one, Smith fell for a stutter-step.

The second was one of the best catches you are ever going to see in the CFL, but that hardly makes Smith feel any better.

"I have to make the play. The ball was there," Smith said. "That's what I get paid to do. He's a great receiver and he made the play.

"I still take it hard because I should have been in even a better position. There wasn't anything else I can do about it.

"I take ownership of this. I was checking him and he made plays. He won the battle."

In the first half, Ricky Ray had 167 yards passing and 138 of them went to Stamps on three passes.

Stamps finished with 161 yards on five receptions.

Smith and the Stampeders defence regrouped in the second half, holding Stamps to just two receptions for 23 yards, but the damage was already done.

Ray only went 12-of-27 passing for 229 yards, plus Greg Fassitt picked off the Eskimos QB. It was Ray's first interception in 142 pass attempts.

Still, the Eskimos are undefeated and have only played from behind for a measly 1:31 of clock time this entire season.

It was right after the Stamps got on the board first with a field goal that Stamps made a great move at the line of scrimmage to get a step on Smith and scamper in for a 55-yard touchdown strike.

"I didn't go for any double move," Smith said. "He just won. He found a way to get open. He didn't do anything special. He just ran his routes. Instead of going for a double step, he did one."

Stamps hadn't played the Stamps since the 2009 season, and Smith hadn't lined up against him since the year previous because he missed that season with a knee injury.

It was 2009 that Stamps had his breakout CFL season, but last year hurt his shoulder right before the Eskimos were to play Calgary three times in a span of five weeks.

Stamps, who led the CFL in receiving in 2009, took a huge leap forward in the race this season. He has 477 yards in four games, which puts him on a pace for 2,146 if could somehow keep it going.

Considering he had 70.3% of his team's receiving yardage, there will be ample chances for huge numbers.

But Smith and the Stamps defence now have to figure out what they did in the second half and replicate that in the two meetings left on the schedule.

"We just kept doing what we do," Smith said. "I was in better position.

"The good thing about it is we play them at least two more times and I will be better."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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