Stampeders QB Drew Tate must be better in West final

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:52 PM ET

CALGARY - There’s nothing like a 68-yard game-winning touchdown to overshadow everything else that happened on a chilly Sunday.

Yet the cold hard truth always comes from the following day’s film review.

When Drew Tate hooked up with Romby Bryant on the winning score with 20 seconds left in Sunday’s CFL West semifinal at McMahon Stadium, it gave the quarterback a chance to work on aspects of his game going forward.

Sure, Tate connected deep for the winning points, giving him 363 passing yards on the day, but there were a few points where the Calgary Stampeders No. 1 pivot looked erratic.

Some of those early deep attempts just sailed into the abyss, where no Stampeders receiver was within shouting distance.

When asked to assess Tate’s performance Sunday, Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel was honest about the passing attack from Tate.

“I would like to him to see the receiver more clearly before he throws it,” Hufnagel said. “I’m talking about long throws down the field, when the receiver is going in and he’s throwing it outside.

“Those are dangerous when you throw it deep and your receiver isn’t in the same area code. They have to get on the same page. He needs to see the top end before he throws it.”

Tate was fortunate that none of those passes were catchable by the opponents either.

He did manage to break a long run of Stamps QB turnovers in playoff games against the Roughriders.

If the same thing happens against the B.C. Lions — and some passes are up for grabs — chances are Tate and the Stampeders offence won’t be so lucky.

On the play before Tate hit Bryant with the winning TD, the receiver ran basically the same route, speeding up the sidelines trying to get behind coverage. Bryant managed to get a hand on the ball, but it went incomplete. Had the final play not connected with the Stamps subsequently facing a third-down-and-10 situation, the second guessing would have started.

They took the ball with 47 seconds left and only needed a field-goal to win. At their own 42-yard-line, they just need about 20 yards to get into field-goal range for kicker Rene Paredes, who had earlier hit from 50 yards out.

So why go deep twice in that situation?

“We made a concerted effort to make big plays,” Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson said. “We feel our two outside guys — both Romby and (Maurice Price) — have established great vertical press.

“We took our chances. We weren’t perfect, but we hit some big ones.”

As for Dickenson’s assessment of Tate, the former QB was happy to see how he managed to elude the rush and extend plays.

“Basically, he did what we needed him to do,” Dickenson said. “He can do things other guys aren’t as good at.

“It doesn’t look pretty, but we got touchdowns out of it. He runs around and pulls things out of his hat.

“Basically, he needs to be tighter on his reads. Knowing the pressure he’s under, because the last playoff game didn’t go his way, I think he will get better. That’s why the decision was made to play him.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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