The final game of week four in the Canadian Football League featured the Calgary Stampeders (1-2) and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-1). Two teams in very different stages early this season. The Stampeders are trying to pull themselves out of danger while the Blue Bombers look to continue their Grey Cup defence and take back the top spot in the West Division.
Maybe Jake Maier Isn’t So Bad After All
When Jake Maier was announced as the Stampeders starting quarterback a couple of weeks ago, many people (including myself) doubted what he could do and wondered why Michael O’Connor wasn’t going to play. What we have seen from Maier so far, even winning 13th Man Sports Player of the Game a week ago. Even in the Stampeders loss in Winnipeg, Maier had yet another performance worthy of Player of the Game.
Maier threw for another 307 yards in Winnipeg, but couldn’t find the endzone. To his credit, he also didn’t throw an interception. This kind of performance is one that for other players in the league (Trevor Harris is the prime example), it would leave you wanting a little bit more, maybe a touchdown or two. But hopefully, that is to come for Maier.
For a guy who was on the practice roster a handful of weeks ago, he’s looked beyond impressive. Maier didn’t throw an incompletion until the second half of the game and set the Stampeders record with 17 consecutive completions. Maybe the kid from Fullerton, California isn’t so bad after all. It looks like Maier is going to be the next big thing in the CFL, so prepare for the bidding war if your favourite team needs a new quarterback.
Winnipeg Lucky to Come Away With a Win
This game never felt like it was in the control of the Blue Bombers. The Stampeders led this game for large portions of it and had a chance to win it with zeros on the clock. Normally with Rene Paredes coming up to make a kick, you just expect that he’s going to make it.
After the Stampeders drove down the field with under 30 seconds to play, Paredes came out to try a 52-yard field goal, one that is absolutely in his range. This time though, it stayed wide and didn’t come back for him and the Blue Bombers would hold on to win. The Bombers looked pedestrian in all aspects of the game and are lucky to come away with the win. Good teams find ways to win games, but their past two games haven’t been great, and now, they head to Regina for their Labour Day matchup with the Roughriders.
Blue Bombers Kicking Issue is Likely Solved
I’m not yet prepared to say for certain that the Blue Bombers have solved their kicking issue, but I will go as far as saying it’s likely that Marc Liegghio is the answer. There were a couple of moments where he looked shaky including an extra point at the start of the game and his kick to go ahead in the game that he missed but got another chance at it because the snap came after the play clock had run down to zero.
Other than those hiccups, Liegghio looked good. He was four-for-four with a long of 50-yards in the win and was a large factor in earning that win with the Bombers’ offence being unable to score much on their own. When Justin Medlock was the Blue Bombers’ kicker, the team and fans alike could know with confidence he would make the big kick. If Liegghio can be even close to the kicker Medlock was, they will have found their guy. No one cares about a good kicker until they need one.
Stampeders Behind the Eight-Ball
Although it’s still early in the season, the Stampeders are behind the eight-ball already. Sitting with one win and three losses, they occupy the fifth spot in the West Division. It’s going to be difficult to turn things around, but not impossible. Should their game against the Elks go ahead as planned as they Elks continue to have days where no one tests positive for COVID-19, it is critical that they win. Working their way up to third in the division looks like their best option considering both Montreal and Hamilton should be better than they have been to start. Again, not easy, but definitely possible for the Stamps.
Passing Yards: Jake Maier (CGY): 307
Rushing Yards: Andrew Harris (WPG): 81
Receiving Yards: Rasheed Bailey (WPG): 108
Touchdowns: Ka’Deem Carey (CGY), Andrew Harris (WPG): 1
Tackles: Adam Bighill (WPG): 8
Special Teams Tackles: Fraser Sopik (HAM): 4
Sacks: No sacks in this game
Interceptions: No interceptions in this game
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Marc Liegghio
4/4 field goals, long of 50