Stampeders down Eskimos, clinch home playoff berth
Calgary could secure 1st in West with B.C. win Saturday
The Calgary Stampeders went north looking for the win that would send them back home for a game that really matters.
They got it when Jamar Wall's blocked punt touchdown return proved to be the difference Friday, clinching the Stampeders a home playoff game with a 27-13 victory over the hapless Eskimos.
It was the fourth win in a row for the league-leading Stampeders (13-3), who can clinch first place in the CFL's West Division with a B.C. win over Saskatchewan on Saturday.
"It was a big win for this team," said Stampeders quarterback Kevin Glenn. "It was a real team effort. Those types of wins are what bring teams closer. Especially at this time of year when we know we are going to need it from everybody to get wins now."
Glenn had a milestone game as he moved into the top 10 on the CFL's all-time passing yards list, eclipsing Tom Clements' 39,041 yards in the first quarter.
"It feels a lot better that we got it on a win," said the 34-year-old. "Just to be in that type of company and be mentioned with those guys that are in the top 10, it's a blessing.
"It's just hitting me right now. I have to say I am really proud of myself and would like to give myself a pat on the back."
The Eskimos (3-13) lost their fourth consecutive game as they are limping through the remainder of the season having already been eliminated from playoff contention.
Edmonton did not win a single game against a Western Division opponent all season and had just one victory at home, setting a new franchise low.
"It's sorely disappointing," said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. "We arguably have the best fan base in the league and our performances at home have been inconsistent, for lack of a better term. We sorely wanted to give them a win in this last game. To only have one home victory is unpalatable. It's a bitter pill to swallow."
The Calgary defence made itself known midway through the first quarter as a Mike Reilly pass bounced off of targeted receiver Adarius Bowman and into the arms of Stampeder Eric Fraser, giving them the ball at midfield. Calgary failed to score any points on the turnover, however. The Stamps came back with a 27-yard Rene Paredes field goal on their next possession to go up 3-0 heading into the second quarter.
Edmonton tied the game three minutes into the second frame on a 47-yard Grant Shaw field goal that was set up by a long 48-yard passing play to Fred Stamps.
Calgary went up 10-3 five minutes into the second as Glenn hit Marquay McDaniel with a pass and he was able to just edge the ball across the plain of the goal line for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Stamps added a 32-yard Paredes field goal with four minutes left in the first half.
Edmonton gave away seven more points with a minute-and-a-half remaining when Shaw rolled out on a third-and-20 punting situation only to have it blocked by Wall, who picked it up himself and went 19 yards for a touchdown.
"I don't think it was a called fake punt," said Calgary head coach John Hufnagel. "They do that, what we call a rugby kick where he will run and if he thinks he has the opportunity to run for the first, he will do that. If not he will kick it. We were just one him too quick when he was making that decision. We watch film."
The Eskimos were able to get those points back with just three seconds left in the first half as they gained a ton of ground on a pass interference call to set up a leaping seven-yard TD catch by Bowman to make it 20-10 at the half.
There was no scoring in the third quarter.
The Stampeders gave the scoreboard operators something to do again early in the fourth quarter as Paredes nailed his third field goal of the contest. Edmonton countered with a Shaw field goal six minutes into the fourth to make it 23-13.
Calgary added a punt single before the Eskimos came back with a long drive down the field. Edmonton looked to inch a bit closer on a field goal attempt, but Shaw missed and hit the uprights.
Paredes booted a 45-yarder for his fourth field goal of the game to close out the scoring.
The Eskimos play their two remaining games on the road, starting next Friday in Vancouver against the Lions. The Stampeders return home next Saturday to face Saskatchewan.