CFL: Stampeders 43, Tiger-Cats 28
HAMILTON — Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell shook off an initial pick-six and then threw two touchdowns to his own teammates as the Stampeders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 43-28 in CFL action Saturday.
"I just throw such a pretty ball," Mitchell shrugged. "I just throw touchdowns, man, it's what I do. Either for us or for them."
Hamilton linebacker Larry Dean opened the game's scoring in the first quarter when he intercepted Mitchell midfield and returned it 60 yards for the score, his first career pick-six. Mitchell, the league's third-leading passer heading into the game, now has 27 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
"I don't care about it either way," Mitchell said. "Shake it off next play. I've thrown plenty in my career and I'll throw plenty the rest of my career."
A lot went wrong on the play, and Mitchell admits he shouldn't have forced the throw.
"That's what I'm talking about, details. We've got to look at ourselves and fix our details because it's just not good enough right now and we're leaving a lot out there," he said.
Calgary (10-2) has now beaten the Tiger-Cats 14-straight times and heads into a bye week. Hamilton (6-6) last won on Sept. 25, 2011. The loss snaps the Ticats' three-game win streak as they head to B.C.
Calgary receivers Marken Michel and Reggie Begelton, defensive back Tunde Adeleke, running back Terry Williams and running back Romar Morris scored touchdowns for the Stamps.
Hamilton's Dean, rookie returner Shakeir Ryan and defensive back Delvin Breaux Sr. scored for the Ticats, who failed to record an offensive touchdown.
Calgary kicker Rene Paredes was 3 for 3, hitting from 13 and 24 yards twice.
Hamilton kicker Lirim Hajrullahu missed a 43-yard attempt on the Ticats' first drive of the game, but hit from 37, 28, and 13 yards to finish 3 for 4. He also missed a convert.
Mitchell was good on 17 of 30 pass attempts for 270 yards, two TDs and one interception.
Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 210 yards with two interceptions and no touchdown passes.
Morris had 98 yards on 16 carries for the Stamps and the one TD. Begelton had five catches for 150 yards and the TD, and Juwan Brescacin added 109 yards on five catches.
"To be honest it was sloppy," said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson about the game. "I think both teams didn't execute at the level they wanted to. But you could also see the big-play capability of both teams. It was a war… the fight and the physicality out there, big time. … I thought we made some great half time adjustments and found some ways to get in the endzone."
Hamilton led 25-20 midway through the third when Calgary broke through with Williams' 83-yard punt return for a touchdown and Mitchell's 99-yard TD toss to Begelton that was the team's longest play from scrimmage this season. That gave Calgary the 34-25 lead, after missing one two-point convert and making the next, and they never looked back.
Hamilton was without the CFL's second-leading receiver Brandon Banks, who had been nursing a groin injury this week and was a game-time scratch.
"It's a long season," said Hamilton head coach June Jones. "I told our kids our goal is to win the Eastern (Division) and get a bye in that first week. It's a long season and if he had gone and tore something then he's out for the year. That's the decision we had to make, and we made it."
The Ticats are also missing CFL top-10 receiver Jalen Saunders and Chris Williams to injury. Calgary was without top receiver Kamar Jorden (third in the CFL) and Eric Rogers.
Stampeders receiver Davaris Daniels left the game in the second quarter with an upper body injury.
Calgary recovered from a 10-0 deficit to take a 20-19 halftime lead, scoring all 20 points in the second quarter on two field goals, a 13-yard TD strike to Michel and Adeleke's 20-yard TD return of a punt-return fumble by Hamilton's Ryan, who was playing in his first CFL game.
Hamilton's points came on Dean's pick-six in the first quarter, the first of his career and the first for Hamilton this season, two field goals and a 104-yard kickoff return for a TD by Ryan. But Ryan gave that back on his next touch, fumbling the punt return at his own 20, which led to Adeleke's score.
Hamilton defensive back Breaux opened the second-half scoring, recovering a fumble by Calgary back-up pivot Nick Arbuckle on third-and-one, and running it back 31 yards for the TD. Hamilton missed the two-point convert and led 25-20 midway through the third.
The TDs by Williams and Begelton gave the Stamps the 34-25 lead in the third.
Paredes' 24-yarder made it 37-25 to start the fourth. A 74-yard Hamilton drive killed 7:03 off the clock, but stalled at the Calgary six-yard line and they settled for a 13-yard field goal to pull to 37-28 with 6:52 left to play.
Morris' three-yard run for Calgary with 55 seconds capped a 75-yard drive that killed 5:57 and the missed convert made it 43-28.