OTTAWA — The Calgary Stampeders got back on track in Week 9 with a road win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS, as their defence scored a touchdown and surrendered just three points.
The Stamps (5-2) were coming off back-to-back losses to the first-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and they found themselves without head coach Dave Dickenson, who remains in COVID-19 protocols back in Calgary.
While the offence struggled to get things going against Ottawa (1-7), the defence picked up the slack while racking up three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Two of those picks came courtesy of rookie defensive back Titus Wall — including a 46-yard pick-six for the game’s lone touchdown.
“When we do our job, that’s going to be the result,” Wall told TSN after the win. “Just playing fast, playing relentless and just all-out effort and that’s what’s going to happen.”
» Stamps shut down REDBLACKS to snap 2-game losing skid
» Box Score: REDBLACKS, Stamps by the numbers
» Through the Lens: Stamps at REDBLACKS
» COVID-19 protocols keep coach Dave Dickenson out of Stampeders’ game
Calgary’s defence pitched a first-half shutout and then closed out the game with a pair of interceptions late in the fourth quarter. Defensive back Dionté Ruffin finished things off by picking off Nick Arbuckle in the end zone in the final seconds.
Wall said Calgary’s secondary plays as a cohesive unit with a focus on communication — something that was on full display against Ottawa.
“We’ve been tight as a DB unit since day one, and communication plays a big factor in that. We’re always with each other on the field and off the field, so that bond helps us play fast,” Wall said.
Linebacker Cameron Judge also got in on the action in the third quarter by stripping the ball from quarterback Caleb Evans in the red zone as he attempted to throw. Veteran defensive lineman Shawn Lemon recovered the fumble.
“I think the defence had an amazing bounce-back game,” quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell told TSN after the win.
Although Mitchell had an off night without a touchdown pass, the Stamps were able to successfully lean on the ground game. Despite the absence of injured starter Ka’Deem Carey, Calgary’s rushing attack shined with rookie Dedrick Mills leading the way. Mills gained 100 yards on 16 carries and also added 32 receiving yards on two catches.
The emergence of Mills gives Calgary another key weapon in the backfield to go along with Carey and Peyton Logan.
“The three-headed monster we have back there is pretty special,” Mitchell said. “I never want to not have 35 (Carey) in the game, but it’s nice to know that if we don’t we’ve got two other guys that are special and can make some big plays.”
The Stamps will now get ready to face the BC Lions in a key divisional matchup next Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Both teams are battling for second place behind the Bombers in the West Division.
Mitchell said the offence needs to step up and make improvements if the team is going to go far.
Offensively, we’ve got to find a way to put up some yards and put up some points because right now we’re just not good enough. We’re too conservative. We’re not testing teams and we have to test them,” Mitchell said.