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Five things we learned from Stampeders win over Argonauts

The Calgary Stampeders woke up on a sunny Sunday situated in first place in the CFL’s West Division.

And they got there pretty dominantly.

The Stamps, 7-1-1, defeated the Toronto Argonauts, now 4-6, by a 23-7 score on Saturday night, revving up a slow-starting offence in the second quarter and relying on a supreme defensive effort at McMahon Stadium.

Here are five things we took away from that offering:

1. DEFENCE RULES

Up against a future hall-of-fame quarterback and an outstanding receiving corps, the Stamps played shutdown as well if not better than they have all season long. The Argos lone touchdown on the night came on a 115-yard interception return by Cassius Vaughn in the second quarter.

The Toronto club was held to 13 first downs and didn’t cross centre until sometime in the third quarter. The veteran Ricky Ray did throw for 257 yards, but he was kept out of his comfort zone all night, while all-star S.J. Green had four catches for 48 yards for the Boatmen.

“We put on a good performance,” said Stampeders halfback Brandon Smith, who had seven tackles and a knockdown. “We knew we had a tough challenge in front of us. We’ve been hearing about their offence all week and that they’d have their best receiving corps all together. We know Ricky Ray’s an outstanding quarterback. S.J. Green is one of the best receivers in the league. We take nothing away from them. But we’re more focused on ourselves, doing our assignments, making sure we’re clicking as a unit.”

2. DANIELS MASTERING THE SLOT

After being named the CFL’s Outstanding Rookie in 2016, high expectations were thrust onto DaVaris Daniels for his second season on the Stamps receiving corps. It’s taken the youngster a bit of time to find his mojo, and certainly Saturday night was a step in that direction.

Daniels, whose previous high was Game 1 when he hauled in four passes for 90 yards, caught eight for 114 and two touchdowns. When Kamar Jorden went down with an injury, Daniels had to move into the vacated slotback position, which meant a learning curve.

“For me, playing a new position is kind of tough — you have a new assignment every week,” Daniels admitted after the game. “Just getting used to it now, getting into the rotation of things.”

3. O-LINE BENT BUT DID NOT BREAK

When left guard Shane Bergman was deemed unfit to play on game day, the Stamps offensive line was given a quick shuffle, with Justin Renfrow taking Bergman’s spot. Right tackle Dan Federkeil was already out of the line-up.

At times, they did look patched together.

“We went with a unit that hadn’t practised together, but that’s no excuse,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson. “They played hard, great effort. They went up against a good group. We need better — we do. We need to get the run game better. But Toronto did send quite a bit of pressure at us. We’ve had a lot of changes there. We’ll see what this week brings, but we need continuity there.”

4. PASS RUSH SECOND TO NONE

The Argos came into the game ranked as the top pass-rushing unit in the CFL. On this fight night, the Stamps counter-punched quite nicely, even without sackmaster Charleston Hughes.

The Calgary crew collected three QB sacks, with Ja’Gared Davis notching a pair, while Micah Johnson had the single.

“We’re very confident no matter who’s on the field. We have a deep unit, and we know what we have,” said Johnson. “Everybody out there wants to make a play. Ja’Gared gets a sack, and he knows I’m out trying to get one. Almost like a competition out there. We complement each other.”

5. CHALLENGES ONLY GET BIGGER

So the Stampeders sit just a point up on both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos, with the latter the main focus for the next two weekends. The Labour Day Classic is slated for Monday, Sept. 4, with the rematch between the Stamps and the Esks five days later in Edmonton.

It doesn’t get any easier — just more interesting.

“Every game is a challenge,” Smith said. “We get everyone’s ‘A’ game. We have to be on top of our game each and every week. Edmonton’s a great team. They’re coming off back-to-back losses, so we know they’re going to be fired up.

“But we can’t worry about how fired up they’re going to be. We’re more focused on how fired up we’re going to be.”

FUENTE:

http://calgaryherald.com/sports/football/five-takeaways-from-stampeders-victory