Post Game Mustang Musings: Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Discussion in 'Calgary Stampeders Talk' started by Tundra Mustang, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. Tundra Mustang

    Tundra Mustang Moderator
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    [​IMG]

    That old aphorism was meant to remind that one shouldn't look askance, or too critically, when a pure gift is being offered.

    And it certainly didn't look like that advice was being disregarded for more than a half of football at McMahon last evening.

    The Toronto Argonauts looked to have rounded up an entire herd of Stampeders horses who appeared anything but ready for the fight of their lives, and who instead appeared intent upon going quietly (neigh, ;) even offering themselves as veritable "gifts" to the delighted blue-clad horde bent upon shipping the lot of them en masse to the 'glue factory').

    But sage as the advice contained in the old aphorism made the title of this thread may generally be, it isn't always right.

    The Argonauts, like the Trojans of yore, found out the hard way that they should have inspected a little more closely the prize they presumed to have won in only a half day of battle.

    Because appearances can be deceiving.

    These horses were not about to be quietly and dejectedly led away to their cruel fate...

    But down by 26 points until nearly half-time, you sure could've fooled me.

    And I was not alone.

    The comeback mounted by a spirited group of stallions over the last half of the game was "one for the ages", and I can truthfully say I have never been prouder of the team called the Calgary Stampeders than I was last night.

    Sheer will.

    Sheer imposition of talent.

    Utter refusal to accept defeat.

    Victory.

    The best team in the Canadian Football League.

    By any measure.

    Champions are made in the aftermath of such ordeals.

    The Heroes:

    All of them. And I mean all of them, from the coaching staff, to every player on the roster.

    To a man, they all played a part in overcoming adversity, including those who played a large role in having created it in the first place during a dismal first half of football which finished with them in arrears to the tune of 29-10 to the visiting "Double Blue". ;)

    From failure to hold onto the ball, or catch a perfectly tossed pass, or find an open receiver (or to cover one), to failure to properly block for a teammate or to shoddy tackling of an opponent, you name it, it was all out there for all to witness in a horrid first half display of football by the Stampeders.

    But just before that half, the Stampeders in a long march scored their first major of the game, and although it certainly didn't look like it at the time, the team had started to pull itself together and to remember, (and execute) their assignments.

    And the second half offensive rout of the Argos was on.

    We just didn't know it.

    Leading that rout was the incomparable Jon Cornish, who ran the ball only 11 times for 174 yards (including a career best 79 yard slashing sprint for a major in the 3rd quarter which narrowed the margin (after the penalty-assisted 2 point convert by Walter), to 32-18. Corndog also caught 4 passes for 35 more yards (including the game-tying points on a 2 point convert from Tate following Tate's TD toss to Arthur with under 5 minutes to go, and a 25 yard major on a swing pass from Tate with 1:48 left in the game).

    Nik Lewis also had an inspirational game (and not only because of the 7 catches he made for 54 yards as a possession receiver, or his unmatched skill as a blocking slotback). Nik sat the entire offence down on the sidelines during the 2nd quarter, and, in an expletive-filled tirade, read them the riot act for their collective play. (And, I suspect from his TSN halftime interview, that LB Keon Raymond likely did the same with the defence in the locker-room at the break). ;)

    Price also made a contribution with 5 grabs for 49 yards, one of them a critical 15 yard reception over the middle with about 2 minutes to play to set up the game-winning score to Cornish.

    The much maligned Jabari Arthur caught 4 balls for only 20 yards, but 15 of those were for a major where he did a great job of protecting the ball on a nice route deep in the end-zone with just over 5 minutes to play.

    Five other Stampeders caught only one pass apiece, but two of those were TD completions to Cunningham and to Sinopoli (his being a 13 yard diving catch on a bullet from Mitchell just across the Argo goal-line).

    Bo Levi Mitchell had a sub-average day in terms of stats prior to his injury (19 for 29 and only 128 yards in passing along with 1 pick, but 2 of those completions were for major scores). He was still at the throttle, and showing a lot of courage hanging in there late in the 4th quarter while trying to scramble out of the pocket for a first down with his receivers were covered and instead he went down (and out of the game) with an apparent knee injury on the tackle. Drew Tate came in off the bench, finished the game-tying drive with a toss to Arthur, and went 6 for 6 for 74 yards, and 2 TD throws. Can't do much better than that. ;)

    The defence, once it gelled in the second half, was led by Brandon Smith's 10 tackles and 1 forced fumble (which I believe was the one recovered by Mayo, who also had 6 tackles of his own.)

    Simpson contributed 7 tackles and a sack at MLB, while Dequin Evans at DT had the other Calgary sack, and was, I thought a real load for the Argos to contend with in their backfield most of the day, despite the relative paucity of stats on his play over the game. No better illustration of that than his harassment of Ray in the final minute when the Argos were attempting a final comeback of their own, and Evans crashed into the Argo pivot from behind, forcing him to literally cough up the ball into the waiting arms of Shawn Lemon, effectively ending the contest.

    Lemon otherwise had a quiet afternoon, as did Charleston Hughes (before his injury), largely because of the effective job the Argos' line and blocking backs did of double-teaming both of them.

    On ST, Maver did a great job in punting (and more than once kicked the Stampeders out of trouble while pinned deep in their own end), and Paredes was perfect when called on to kick (1 FG and 3 converts), while Cunningham was fine (if relatively unspectacular) on the return game for Calgary.

    For Toronto, Ricky Ray ran a well managed game (33 for 38, 338 yards, 4 TDs and the aforementioned late-game pick by Lemon) which on any other day, would probably have resulted in a win for him. Ten different Argo receivers caught balls thrown by him, led by Jason Barnes who had 6 receptions for 116 yards and a TD. Durie had a respectable first game back with 5 catches for 36 yards and a score, while Brazill had 7 for 83 yards, but on one of those he put the ball on the carpet, and Calgary recovered.

    Toronto ran a smothering defence, and I think a lot of their stats were piled up in the first half, when they were at their most effective. They had no sacks in the game (credit to Calgary's pass blocking and BLM's mobility in the pocket), but McCollough at DB led the double blue with 8 tackles, while Canadian safety Jermaine Gabriel added 6 more along with Calgary's only pick given up.

    The Near-ohs:

    Probably a lot of candidates, on both sides of the ball, and on both rosters, but I won't bother going there. ;) This was really two self-contained halves of football, with plenty of foibles and underperformance by players to go around in each of them. But from a Calgary perspective at least, the players who might fit in here manned up to a man and got the job done when it counted in the second half.

    The Zeroes:

    Calgary's injuries.

    A horrendous parade of them.

    D'Aguillar, followed by McDaniel, who preceded Hughes and Bolden (on the same play!), who in turn were followed off the field by BLM.

    All were scheduled for MRI's today, and as of now, at least Bolden (who was seen crying at the Calgary bench after he came off the field) and McDaniel are likely to be "6-gamed", while Hughes and BLM are "day to day" (with Calgary's starter at QB already confirmed to be Tate next week in Montreal).

    Big losses, all of them, no matter for how long each of them may be missing in action. :(

    Oh, and "Dishonourable Mention" amongst "The Zeroes" goes to the Argos' rookie RB Steve Slaton. When you get only 7 carries on the game and can't average even 4 yards per carry for your efforts, you better find another way to contribute. But aiming an ill-timed and misdirected kick to the crotch of Stampeders' LB Deron Mayo with the game on the line, ain't it!

    Not only did his kick miss its target, but with his subsequent ejection and the 25 yard penalty he cost his team really only ended up kicking the Argonauts in the nuts! :D


    In the final analysis, they won the game, but obviously at a great cost. :(

    However, given the injuries and a loss, or the injuries and a near-unprecedented comeback victory, I'll take the latter.

    The "next man up" mantra will continue next week against the Alouettes, and likely against everyone else the rest of the way this season.

    And the beat goes on....

    Whatever adversity this club may encounter for the rest of the way this year, they've made a believer out of me.

    I have no choice.

    Because, if yesterday's result stands for nothing else, it signals that each member of this team has every other team-mates' back.

    Whatever may come their way.

    They are a brotherhood.

    And they believe in themselves...;)



    TM




     
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  2. Liske

    Liske Member

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    Great post, Tundra.

    I agree with pretty much everything. Maver's 71 yard punt really got us out of a jam when it looked like the Argos could have made it even worse. I'm not sure if Nik Lewis was talking to the whole offense on the sideline, but I know all the receivers were gathered around him.

    Looks like we're in for another M*A*S*H episode this week. I didn't see what happened to Bolden and didn't see him go off the field. Sucks that he broke his leg. We need more interior linemen yet again. Corey Mace should be back relatively soon though.

    I heard reports that Huf is looking for a back-up QB. But apart from McPherson who we released earlier (and who has not done any playing and is out of shape) I don't see anyone with CFL experience anywhere.
     
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  3. Tundra Mustang

    Tundra Mustang Moderator
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    Thanks, Liske!

    Fair point.

    I guess the "entire" offence might indeed be overstating it, although I did see Cote standing next to him, so for sure he had the ear of at least one of the RBs in addition to the usual receiving corps. (I found myself more mesmerized with hearing Nik on his tirade than really watching the 'unfortunate souls' to whom he was addressing himself, I guess...:D).

    But, whoever it was on offence on the bench who heard him certainly seemed to have taken his "pep talk" to heart... ;)

    I really like what Nik brings to the team in terms of the extra dimensions he has cultivated in his game over the course of his career, as well as his combative and competitive spirit.

    I worry about his role (and whether the Stampeders even foresee one for him) after this year.

    We're gonna miss him when he's gone...:(


    TM
     
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  4. Madman

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    Great work TM.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Tundra Mustang

    Tundra Mustang Moderator
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    Thanks also, Madman, but, given the sports, doesn't that constitute a 'mixed metaphor' of some kind? :D


    TM
     
  6. deuvl

    deuvl Moderator
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    montreal should be interesting. i expect nothing less than a calgary win but at home with the whole HOF weekend thing happening players might get a little more pumped.
     
  7. Tundra Mustang

    Tundra Mustang Moderator
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    Good.

    It's always more fun to beat a team playing at its best...;)


    TM
     
  8. Liske

    Liske Member

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    What was the turning point of the game for you guys?

    For me it was the Sinopoli touchdown. When he scored, I knew we were coming back to win, and not just make a close game of it. I knew with Brad's TD the momentum was not going to swing back to Toronto again.

    Reminder: Huf on QR 77 sportstalk tonight at 7:05 pm. He should have some updates on all the injuries.
     
  9. Tundra Mustang

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    For me, even earlier.

    It was a gradual process after the scoring pass to Sederrick Cunningham, but after his short reception for a major just before the half, I wondered to myself whether that just might not be a watershed moment in the game (and not merely an effort by the Stampeders to make the unrespectable margin between them and the Argos somewhat more respectable at the half).

    As I said, nothing that happened afterward made it immediately apparent that the Stampeders were on a comeback tear, but after Cunningham's score, the Argos only counted 4 more points in the game, and a toughened Calgary defence which then forced Ray and the Argos into a number of "2 and outs", or at most, short drives, through most of the 3rd quarter, made it clear, as the Calgary major scores on offence began to mount, that momentum in the game had indeed shifted.

    And for me, that shift occurred when Cunningham caught that late first half pass for a TD in Toronto's endzone.

    I'm interested in seeing what everyone else has to say on this point.

    And thanks for raising it, Liske. I'll keep that in mind for future editions of the Musings: "From zeroes to heroes, your game turning point" ;)

    Might make for some interesting discussion in future threads.


    TM
     
  10. Madman

    Madman Administrator
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  11. oilpatchhilbily

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    Great MM as always Tundra!

    When I get a chance, I'm going to watch it again online , and see what it was that really turned that game around. It was before our first touchdown...there was something I can't put my figure on yet....not one play or

    anything, it was like a collective attitude adjustment even though we were still making mistakes - like they never happened after the play was over...forgotten instantly.

    The Stamps knew they would win the game before we hit 10 points - you could feel it coming.

    Proud of 'em - one hell of a game!
     

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