Stampeders claim victory over Lions with dominant defensive performance

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In the process, they made the playoff image a bit more interesting while officially clinching a postseason spot.

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VANCOUVER — Finally, the Calgary Stampeders have proven they can beat any of the teams ahead of them in the West Division standings.

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After losing their previous five games to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and BC Lions, the Stampeders traveled to Vancouver on Saturday night and put on a convincing performance against a team that had beaten them in overtime only a week earlier. early.

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In the process, they made the playoff picture a bit more interesting while officially clinching a postseason berth.

With their 25-11 win Saturday night, the Stamps (9-5) moved closer to the Lions (9-4) in the standings. Skipping them and winning a playoff game at home isn’t out of the question, although a tie in the standings would see the Lions finish ahead of the Stamps because they won two of three regular-season head-to-head matchups. .

Saturday night’s victory, however, breathes new life into this playoff race.

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“They’re the first team we’ve beaten with a winning record, which is crazy,” Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson said. “Yeah, I know Toronto, we beat them and they have a winning record now, but they were .500 when we beat them, so we have to beat good teams to win this thing and it’s a good team that we beat.”

The nature of the Stampeders’ win suggests a playoff tilt between the two teams won’t be straightforward either.

After a tight game last weekend in Calgary that took overtime to resolve, the Stampeders defense ensured the Lions never had a real chance Saturday night.

It was, frankly, a stunning performance from the defense.

The dashboard told the whole story. The Lions only entered Stampeders territory once in the first half. Even then, they only reached the Stamps’ 53-yard line.

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That would eventually change, as was inevitable, but the Stampeders didn’t slow down defensively.

They harassed Lions QB Vernon Adams Jr. — who’s fully 12 of 24 passes for 151 yards — and limited the Lions to a grand total of 276 total offensive yards, though that number was inflated by late practice. in the garbage time that meant absolutely nothing. When it mattered, the Stamps defense dominated.

Every time the Lions invented a big play, the defensive line rained down on their parade. The Stamps finished with five sacks, along with Mike Rose, Shawn Lemon, Silas Stewart, Stefen Banks and Folarin Orimolade.

“We took it personally as the D line,” Lemon said. “You look at all the games we lost, we hadn’t made our impact on the defensive line felt.”

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The only time the Lions approached the Stamps’ end zone, Jonathan Moxey skillfully knocked down a pass intended for Dominique Rhymes and the Lions had to settle for a field goal.

Really, you would have to dig really deep to find anything wrong with the way the Stampeders defense played.

Offensively, the Stamps had to settle for more field goals than they would have liked, but they got the job done.

Maier finished after completing 27 of 33 passes for 294 yards.

There had been concerns about what Cam Judge’s suspension might mean for the Stampeders’ ratio, and although they were forced to start three Canadian receivers instead of the standard two, there can be no complaints about the way the nationals have stepped up.

Between them, Richard Sindani had 25 receiving yards, Luther Hakunavanhu had 48, Colton Hunchak had 38 and Jalen Philpot had 69 in his first professional game in his hometown. It was group work and it worked.

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With Ka’Deem Carey doing what he always does and snarling for 84 yards and a touchdown, the Stamps offense put the points on the board they needed and let the defense do the rest. Peyton Logan’s late touchdown can’t really be described, by the way, as he broke about six tackles on his way to the end zone.

It was the type of performance that could change some opinions about how a playoff game between these two teams would play out. Yes, the Lions have won their previous two games, but the first had a one-point margin of victory and the second went to overtime.

Even if the Stamps finish behind the Lions and have to go to BC Place for the Western Division semifinal, that might not be such a bad thing. They proved they could win in Vancouver on Saturday night, and playing in a domed stadium is much more comfortable than McMahon Stadium in November.

For now, at least, the Stamps know for sure they can beat the Lions. It is important.

“I think so, whether we want to admit it or not, because this is really our first quality win against a really, really quality opponent who is ahead of us and has a great record and a ton of talent,” Maier said. “Their defense is really good, I feel like we don’t talk about them enough… For us, getting that many points, putting together a few practices was really important for our confidence, I think.”

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Twitter: @DannyAustin_9

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