The Calgary Stampeders extended their unbeaten streak in the CFL to 15 straight games this season with a 22-8 win over the visiting Montreal Alouettes on Saturday.
The Stampeders (14-1-1) were already assured first in the West Division and the division final at McMahon Stadium on Nov. 20.
Their lack of intensity with the ball in the first half, combined with the sputtering offence of the Montreal Alouettes (4-11), made for a sluggish game.
But Calgary continued to rack up records in Dave Dickenson’s first season as head coach.
Fifteen straight games without a loss – already the longest in a single season – ranks second all-time in the CFL behind the Stampeders of 1948-49 (22 games).
Dickenson established a record for most wins by a first-year coach with 14. It was his successful coaches’ challenge late that resumed Calgary’s drive for their lone touchdown of the first half.
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 26 for 37 in passing for 256 yards.
He threw a league-leading 30th touchdown pass to Anthony Parker and connected with Jerome Messam on a two-point convert throw.
Backup QB Andrew Buckley scored on a one-yard dash into the end zone. Rob Maver contributed a pair of punt singles. Rene Paredes added a field goal in front of an announced 25,351 at McMahon.
Mitchell moved into the league lead in passing yards ahead of Mike Reilly (5,054), whose Edmonton Eskimos were on a bye week.
Calgary’s protection of their quarterback was uncharacteristically soft with four sacks allowed, but Montreal’s was worse with seven.
Montreal quarterback Rakeem Cato was 13 for 29 in passing for 124 yards. Brandon Rutley scored Montreal’s lone touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game on a two-yard run.
Their final three games of the regular season meaningless to their position in the standings, the challenge for the Stampeders will be to keep starters healthy for the post-season.
But defensive linebacker Deron Mayo left the field on a cart after suffering an apparent knee injury late in the first quarter.
Saturday’s losses by both the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal meant the idle Eskimos (8-7) were assured at least a playoff berth in a cross-over to the East Division.
But neither the Alouettes nor the Argos (5-11) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in the East. Montreal fell to 1-2 since Jacques Chapdelaine took over as head coach for Jim Popp on Sept. 19.
Both the Alouettes and Stampeders conceded two-point safeties in the fourth quarter.
Buckley scored his seventh rushing touchdown of the season at 12:33 of the third. Mitchell’s three-yard toss to Messam was good for the two-point convert.
After scoring at least 10 points in the first quarter of six of their previous seven games, Calgary’s offence was slow out of the gate with drops and penalties.
Up 2-0 on punt singles of 61 and 49 yards from Maver, the hosts scored the first touchdown of the game with a minute to go in the first half.
With Paredes on the field preparing for a field goal, Dickenson won a coaches’ challenge to get illegal contact called on Montreal, and got the ball back 11 yards from the goal-line.
Mitchell connected with Parker to cap a 12-play, 93-yard drive with Paredes adding the convert single.
Paredes missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt as time ran out in the half. He was good from 25 yards, but missed again from 33 in the third quarter.
Pre-game tributes were paid to both Mylan Hicks and former provincial premier Jim Prentice.
Calgary played two road games after the 23-year-old Hicks was shot and killed outside a Calgary nightclub Sept. 24, so Saturday was the team’s first opportunity to memorialize the defensive back at home.
Prentice, Alberta’s premier from 2014 to 2015, died in an airplane crash in B.C. on Friday at the age of 60.
The Stampeders host Toronto on Friday with a rematch in Montreal to follow Oct. 30. Calgary ends the regular season on a bye week.
The Als continue on the road against the Saskatchewan Roughriders next Saturday before facing the Stamps at home and closing out against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.Report Typo/Error