Roughriders suffer second straight loss to Stampeders

Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson bumps fists with quarterback Cody Fajardo (7) during first half CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Regina on Saturday, August 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis.

The Calgary Stampeders outpaced the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a score of 22-19 for the second win in a row on Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.

The visiting Stamps won thanks to a field goal by kicker Rene Paredes with no time on the clock, despite a procedure penalty flag that backed the veteran kicker back five yards to make it a 44-yard attempt.

With that loss, the Riders head into their bye week with a 5-4 record with Calgary nipping at their heels in the standings at 4-5.

“They played hard. We didn’t play very well. I was disappointed in that. But we left it all out there. We just have to play a little better.” Craig Dickenson, Riders head coach, said. “I challenged them to watch the film and figure out how you can do better, come back recharged and let’s get better.”

The Stampeders made big plays with the help of running back Ka’Deem Carey who ran twenty times for 109 yards on the evening.

“Our perimeter run game is not very good and we have to figure out how to fix it.” Dickenson said. “We still aren’t tackling as well as we need to.”

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were hoping for a quick start this week, but it was the Calgary Stampeders who came out of the gates firing. It took Stamps quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell just one play to hit a wide-open Markeith Ambles for a 71-yard touchdown just thirty-two seconds into the contest.

“That isn’t how we wanted to start. You just have to reset and keep going” Riders defender Micah Johnson said.

The offence slowed down for the rest of the quarter. Each team tacked on a field goal, with Riders kicker Brett Lauther sailing the ball through the uprights from 45 yards out. Rene Paredes replied with a 19-yard field goal. Calgary led Saskatchewan 10-3 after one-quarter of play.

The Roughriders offence finally came to life at the eight-minute mark in the second quarter. Quarterback Cody Fajardo hit receiver Kyran Moore for a 33-yard gain. On the next play, Fajardo connected with receiver Ricardo Lewis who made a savvy cut at the six-yard line. He plunged into the end zone - tying the game at ten.

The defence fed off the Fajardo-Lewis touchdown and put together an impressive stand that included two quarterback sacks from defensive end A.C. Leonard. The teams exchanged field goals to close out the first half including a 52-yard drive from the Riders’ Brett Lauther to close out the first half in a 13-all tie.

With 6:55 to go in the 3rd down, a turnover was forced for the Roughriders.

Jon Ryan’s punt was fumbled and recovered at the Calgary 28 yard line by Running Back Jamal Murray. Fajardo, flushed from the pocket by a trio of Stampeders defenders, rolled out and launched a 50/50 ball to the back corner of the end zone. Brayden Lenius came down with the football.

“I thought I was in! I hit the pylon” Brayden Lenius said, post-game.

The original ruling on the field was a touchdown but the automatic review by the command centre revealed the receiver was out of bounds. The Riders would be forced to settle for a field goal to tie the game at 16.

The most impressive play of the night came with ten minutes to play when Mitchell gave the ball to Colton Hunchak, who threw a left-handed strike downfield to receiver Josh Huff for a big gain. The wide receiver's pass would go down as a thirty-six-yard completion, a longer completion than anything thrown by Fajardo.

“The west just got so much tighter, other than Winnipeg, we’re going to have to win games down the stretch that’s why I stressed so much early in the year it’s important to win games.” Fajardo said.

Head coach Craig Dickenson said the team expects to get some players off of the injured list in the next couple of weeks, which should inject some life into the line-up. Add to that, the arrival of recently signed receiver Duke Williams and there is plenty of reason for optimism. Williams is expected to arrive in Regina soon and begin diving into the playbook.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders return to action on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:45 p.m.