Burris scores key TD in Stampeders' win over Riders
The Calgary Stampeders continued to thrive on the road Saturday night and the Roughriders still couldn't find their footing in Saskatchewan.
Henry Burris ran in a touchdown as Calgary took advantage of the Roughriders' inability to move the ball forward in a 22-18 victory in Canadian Football League action.
The game improved Calgary (3-2) to 3-0 on the road, while Saskatchewan (1-4) dropped to 0-3 within the confines of Mosaic Stadium.
Burris attributes Calgary's impressive road record to an even-keeled approach on the field.
"A lot of our veteran guys have done a great job stepping up and making sure we stay focused," said the quarterback. "Even through the tough times when we're not scoring the kind of points we want to score, we're sticking together.
"It's almost like an us-against-the-world mentality and that's how we play when we go on the road."
Burris, in his 12th year in the CFL, knows what it takes to succeed in the competitve West Division.
"Against a team we have to play against four times this year, it's critical we get them here on the road in their place, which is never an easy place to win, and get us some momentum." said Burris.
Had Calgary lost, they would have been in a tie with Saskatchewan for second place in the West Division. Now, they are two games up on the Riders and just two games back of the Edmonton Eskimos for first place.
"After last week at home — we have to win one at home for our fans -- we have to take this momentum and carry it over to next week," said Burris, referring to last week's 24-19 loss to the Eskimos in Calgary. "But its good to be two games up on them instead of tied with Saskatchewan."
Burris' counterpart on Saskatchewan was not as buoyant.
"It's tough," said Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant. "Coming in here is supposed to be like a hornet's nest for other teams and to go 0-3, this is very tough.
"Our fans are very committed to helping us out and very loud out there. We need to get home wins."
The Riders didn't do themselves any favours during the game.
Trapped inside their own eight-yard line, Saskatchewan failed to kill the final 35 seconds of the first half — the biggest gaffe being a time count penalty on Durant during second down with 10 ticks left on the clock. Saskatchewan elected to punt the ball from their own end zone, but a no yards penalty set up a 45-yard Rene Paredes field goal on the last play of the half.
The Riders responded on their first possession of the third quarter when a tipped Durant pass went directly into the arms of Weston Dressler, who ran 58 yards to pay dirt.
On their next series, however, Saskatchewan was in the shadow of their own goal posts again and failed to move the ball. They conceded a safety touch and then a field goal on Calgary's ensuing possession. That field goal gave Calgary an 18-15 lead.
The Riders faced long fields throughout Saturday's contest, including three possessions that started inside their own 10-yard line, but couldn't move the ball very well.
"That's frustrating and something we have to get better at," said Saskatchewan coach Greg Marshall. "Obviously there are going to be times when we are backed up and we have to be able to make first downs."
Despite taking advantage of a pair of Rider mistakes, Calgary struggled to put away the home team. They reached the end zone only once — on an eight-yard run by Burris in the second quarter — and were forced to settle for five Paredes field-goal attempts. He was successful on four of them.
Burris, who was 24-of-36 for 255 yards and an interception, wasn't overly concerned with that. He believes his team is heading in the right direction and is happy his team is able to move the ball.
He pointed out to Calgary's final drive of the game as proof that the Stamps' offence is coming around.
"The problem isn't driving the ball," said Burris. "We can move the ball and stay on the field a long time, but we have to continue to work hard and finish drives with sevens.
"That late drive, not many teams can do that. But for an offence that's struggling, that's pretty damn good."
Calgary took possession of the ball at their own 35-yard line with 2:19 remaining in the game and a four-point advantage. Burris and crew ate up 2:08 and left the Riders in a hopeless position on their own 16-yard line.
Durant, who was 16-for-28 for 215 yards, scored Saskatchewan's other touchdown on a nine-yard run in the second quarter. Johnson had a 20-yard field goal — which was needed after Jason Clermont dropped a touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter — and a 52-yard punt single to round out the scoring.
Durant's favourite target of the night was Dressler, who led all receivers with six catches for 103 yards.