Moments after the Calgary Stampeders walked off the Mosaic Stadium turf having beaten the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a convincing score of 37-10, Riders Head Coach Craig Dickenson was asked if he could put that game into five words. He could not.
While the first-year head coach could not put what had happened over the last 60 minutes into a short sentence, he was more than willing to admit his team had been beaten in solid fashion.
"They got after us pretty good." Dickenson said "They came out strong, they dictated the pace of play in the first half and while we gave it a shot early in the second, they just found a way to re-establish the momentum. I told the team that's a good ball club, we need to do better and be better and we will be better."
On the first drive of the game, Calgary quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who was making his first career pro start in place of the injured Bo Levi Mitchell, took the team 73 yards on 10 plays capping it off with a two-yard touchdown run by Kadeem Carey as the Stampeders set the table for what would be a long night for the Saskatchewan defence. Arbuckle was virtually perfect against the Saskatchewan D completing 19 of 22 for 262 yards and two touchdowns including a 76 yarder to Reggie Begelton.
While the scoreboard showed a 27 point win, Riders defensive lineman Micah Johnson said it wasn't as bad as it looked.
"Mistakes!" Johnson said. "We have to play better. They are a good enough team where if you make a mistake they will capitalize on it and we made too many mistakes. We had a good gameplan, but we just didn't execute and gave them opportunity after opportunity. That's what it came down to."
After throwing for almost 800 yards and four touchdowns over the last two games, Cody Fajardo came back down to earth as he was nine of 15 for 89 yards and two interceptions before being replaced by Isaac Harker. He says if you want to pin the blame on anyone for what happened, then point the finger at him.
"They got me uncomfortable early. They got some turnovers and they were hungry." Fajardo said. "I definitely under-performed and threw two interceptions which is a no-no in this league. I scrambled at times when I didn't have to."
The Riders are now 1-3 on the season. They have the bye next week and won't see action again until July 20 when the B.C Lions come to town in a 5 o'clock start.
- While a crowd of just over 29,000 was announced, there were many empty seats in Mosaic Stadium for the Saturday night game between two Western Division rivals
- The Riders could only muster 233 yards in total offence as the Calgary defence completely shut down the Saskatchewan offence that had been so potent over the last two weeks
- A.C Leonard had two sacks for the Riders as he was named the game's defensive star. Naaman Roosevelt got the offensive game-star honours
- Saskatoon's Brayden Schenn, Regina's Tyler Bozak and Wilcox's Jaden Schwartz brought the Stanley Cup out in the first quarter The three Saskatchewan players won the Cup as members of the St. Louis Blues earlier this year
- After taking some heat for changing the appearance of Gainer the Gopher, the team made a slight alteration. Before coming on the field, a video was shown where Gainer got rid of his green contact lenses going back to the black eyes that he has had for years. The new-look Gainer got a warm reception from the crowd as they approved of the new look.