Ottawa 29 - Calgary 26 According to the standings, the Calgary Stampeders are in first place in the West and still in the black in the win-loss column. But you wouldn't know that by their caliber of play so far this season. In four of the five games, the horsemen have not looked sharp, and two of those wins could just as easily have been losses. Yet the team has found ways to win close games. Not this time. The Ottawa RedBlacks clawed back from a 19-9 half-time score to pull out a victory in overtime. Henry Burris got off to a slow start but made several key throws as the game wore on, and ended up completing 28/43 for 389 yards. Seems every time the RedBlacks needed a second down conversion, even on 2nd and long, they got it. The turning point in a closely fought game came with 8:10 left in the fourth quarter when Burris connected with Chris Williams who streaked down the sidelines for a 84-yard touchdown to take the lead for the first time. The Stamps responded with a 49-yard FG on their next possession to tie the game, but you could tell the Stamps were starting to sag from playing three games in eleven days. This year once again the Stampeders are hemorrhaging with injuries, and that is the biggest reason for all the luke warm performances. The blood-letting continued last night at Ottawa's TD Centre with defensive lineman DeQuin Evans going down on the first play of the game, and later CFL all star running back Jon Cornish getting sidelined with a broken thumb. Cornish will be out of action for several weeks and no doubt placed on the six-game injury list. Adam Thibault was also injured, but no word on either his or Evans' status. So, no pulling a rabbit out of the hat this time. Looks like injuries finally caught up with the red and white in Canada's capitol. Offense Except for a few drives against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the ground game has been sputtering so far this season. And this didn't change against the RedBlacks. Only 32 yards total rushing. Strangely, Ottawa's total of 22 yards was even worse. It turned out to be an all out aerial game of 'last pass wins'. Calgary's offensive line had decent pass protection all night, though they allowed two sacks. It was the run-blocking however, that sabotaged the game for the Stamps. Without the threat of Corndog running rampant, Ottawa concentrated on tightening up on Stampeder receivers. But you can't contain the best receiving corps in the league for an entire game. Bo Levi Mitchell, despite some poor decisions, passed for over 300 yards. And almost everything thrown in the neighborhood of Mr. Rogers, for example, was caught. The star slotback had 6 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. McDaniel had 6 catches for 60 yards. Jeff Fuller on the other hand, had a rare off night, and struggled. Anthony Parker was his usual inconsistent self and had 3 good catches for 41 yards as well as a drop or two. The current Calgary offense is like a ship being rebuilt while it's still at sea. The question now is can the Stamps, with all their injuries, weather the storm during the middle part of the season, or will they slowly sink in the standings? Will Huf bring in a veteran running back like a Hugh Charles, or will they soldier on with Matt Walter? Maybe it doesn't matter who is in the backfield, since the o-line is in such a shambles. The offense is taking on water and it's the offense that is the number one priority right now. DD should start fixing things by tweaking the play calling, which has not been up to snuff so far. Defense Charleston Hughes was in beast mode with 3 sacks on Henry Burris, and Quinn Smith got sloppy seconds picking up one sack. While the front four played well, the same can't be said for the linebackers or secondary, who were sliced and diced by a 40-year old QB who hadn't beaten his former team in ten previous tries. Stamp DB Buddy Jackson looks lost whenever he's been moved to the weak side where he's being scorched on a regular basis. The RedBlack touchdown pass to Chris Williams was just one of several lapses by Jackson on the season. Cracks are starting to develop in Rich Stubler's bend-but-don't-break defense, as opposing teams continue to pile up huge passing yardage against the Stamp secondary. The silver lining is we are still very good against the run and still getting pressure on QBs. Special Teams Kick returns were decent. Tim Brown finished with 5 punt returns for 59 yards, and had 3 kick returns for 71 yards. Brown can be very slippery and dodgey. He's about to break one any game now, I can feel it. Let's hope that when it happens, there's no flag on the play. Jock Sanders was no slouch either for Ottawa, with 3 kick returns for 60 yards. Chris Williams on RedBlack punt returns had 5 for only 23 yards, and was not much of a factor, thanks to Stampeder coverage. Rene Paredes showed no signs of injury, going 3/3, including a long 49-yard FG. El Matador continues to be money at clutch time. And Rob Maver showed why he is the best punter in the league again with some big punts, including one coffin corner directional punt that backed Ottawa up to their 3 yard line. Goat Play of the Game Another game full of fumbles, dropped passes, strange play calling and penalties by both teams. Plenty of billy goats to choose from. To me the biggest goat was RedBlack offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan. In the fourth quarter, when Ottawa desperately needed to move the ball, and right after allowing a big sack, MacMillan chirped to the referee and drew an objectionable conduct penalty, pushing his team out of FG range. It's the kind of bozo play that gives coaches fits. Speaking of coaches, honorable mention goes to RedBlack head coach Rick Campbell for deciding to punt both from his own goal line and from deep within his own endzone. Huh? Penalties continue to plague the Stamps. 12 total for 72 yards. Instead of occurring mostly on special teams, this time they were mostly on defense. Next up: Montreal. Will it be sweet revenge, or an invasion by Nik Lewis Nation? Will we lose two games in a row, or keep our one-game-only loss streak alive? Will Als QB Rakeem Cato tear our secondary another new one, or will we have an answer this time? Should be an interesting game before heading into the bye week.