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The Calgary Stampeders entered Week 13 with a league-best 9-2 record, but couldn't quite pull off a home win over the 7-4 Toronto Argonauts Saturday night, falling 33-27. This could have ended very differently, though, as the Stampeders had multiple chances to tie the game late, but were brought down by a questionable offensive pass interference call, a Hail Mary catch that Anthony Parker couldn't quite keep inbounds and a final play where they almost pulled off a perfect pass, punt and scramble combination, but Toronto recovered the ball in the end zone. Still, despite all those chances, plenty of Calgary weaknesses were on display Saturday, as well as plenty of Toronto's strengths.
Oddly enough, the Stampeders' biggest struggles came in the passing game, where Kevin Glenn was brought back in as the starter despite Bo Levi Mitchell's recent success. Before this game, Calgary had changed quarterbacks frequently before this without many problems, but their offence looked out of sync with Glenn Saturday, and he finished with just 225 passing yards, a 66.6 per cent completion rate, two touchdowns and two interceptions. That's not a terrible stat line, but it's well below what he and Calgary's other quarterbacks have averaged this year, and it's also much less than the league-high 300.9 passing yards the Argos were conceding per game going into this contest. Perhaps that was a function of how well Toronto defensive coordinator Chris Jones knows the Calgary offence (he worked under Stamps' head coach/general manager John Hufnagel from 2008-2011 before leaving for the Argos), or perhaps it's an indication of how this Calgary offence still has a lot of work to do. They were pretty decent on the ground, with Jon Cornish collecting 81 rushing yards on 16 carries (5.0 yards per carry), but their aerial attack left much to be desired.
The Calgary defence wasn't great either, though. Granted, Toronto's attack has been pretty impressive lately, so that's not all about the Stampeders, but they still weren't able to do much to even slow the Argos down. Zach Collaros racked up 25 completions on 36 attempts (69.4 per cent) and threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns, while Jerious Norwood rushed 10 times for 68 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and caught four more passes for a team-high 67 receiving yards. Andre Durie (nine catches, 64 receiving yards and a touchdown plus two rushes for 17 yards), Dontrelle Inman (two grabs for 63 yards and a touchdown), John Chiles (five receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown) and Mike Bradwell (two catches, 41 yards and a touchdown) also had solid games for Toronto. The Stampeders' defence is going to have to improve against both the run and the pass if they want to keep their status at the top of the CFL.
This shouldn't be a terrifying loss for Calgary fans. It came against a good team, and it was a game the Stampeders well could have won. Even after the loss, Calgary's still on top of the West Division with a 9-3 record (although Saskatchewan could tie them with a win Sunday). Still, the concerns raised here aren't insubstantial. The Stampeders have been one of the league's best teams all season, but their performance Saturday night wasn't near that level. They'll have a lot to work on in the weeks ahead.