Lewis backs up bravado

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

For 55 minutes last night, it looked as though Ed Hervey had stepped into a time machine, just to make Nik Lewis look foolish.

Two days after the Calgary Stampeders receiver called out the Edmonton Eskimos veteran for being really good five years ago, Hervey was the better receiver in every aspect of the job.

However, in the end, the brash, young Stamps receiver was able to catch the winning touchdown as Calgary came out with a 24-14 comeback victory over the Eskimos at McMahon Stadium.

So the 33-year-old Hervey did the only thing you would expect afterwards. He sought out the 24-year-old Lewis on the turf to congratulate him and pat him on the back.

Before the final drive where Lewis caught three passes, including the 33-yard TD, the Stamps mouthpiece had one catch and two drops.

If there was ever a schooling in class on the field, it came from Hervey, who finished with nine catches for 115 yards but no touchdowns and wasn't happy with his performance.

"Me getting the ball doesn't mean anything if we're not winning the game," said Hervey, adding the back-and-forth trash talk through the media was blown out of proportion.

"There was never any controversy, it was a mixup with quotes. Football is a game mentally where you try to get inside the other guy's head.

"We both had pretty good games but his team won. That's the end of it."

At the conclusion of the 2005 season, Lewis called out the Eskimos secondary, in particular veteran Edmonton halfback Shannon Garrett.

In the regular-season finale, all of Lewis' talk was backed up by an eight-reception, 145-yard outing capped off by a touchdown to seal a victory that gave the Stamps a home playoff date.

The Eskimos rebounded to win that contest -- and the Grey Cup -- with Lewis virtually disappearing, catching only two passes in the playoff loss.

The final game of 2005 seemed to carry over to this season, as suddenly the sure-handed Texan couldn't consistently make the great grabs he's become known for in his short CFL tenure.

The 2004 rookie of the year dropped several balls in the pre-season and it continued last night.

Stamps quarterback Henry Burris made a nice rainbow over the head of a defender and into Lewis range in the second quarter.

The ball clunked off Lewis' hand.

Later, Burris saw his target open in the endzone and tossed a corner route for Lewis. He made a diving attempt for it and appeared to haul in a touchdown pass.

The ref signalled a score but it was soon overturned after a different official correctly ruled the ball skidded on the turf underneath Lewis.

Both catches were tough to make. Both would have changed the outcome of the contest.

And neither was completed as the Stamps offence struggled.

It may be rough on a third-year player to point all this out but Lewis tries drawing the attention to himself.

If he wants to be taken seriously with his boasting, he must make difficult grabs look easy and become the game-breaker he calls himself.

So he felt a measure of relief after securely bringing in the winning score and admits this is the toughest stretch of his short career.

"I played pretty bad. I'm struggling right now," Lewis said. "It was big for them to throw to me at the end.

"For me to get three passes on our winning possession was pretty big for my confidence."

Great, all he needs is more confidence.


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