Nathan Rourke leads Lions to comeback win over Stamps

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This one hurts.

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The Calgary Stampeders had a defensive game plan that seemed to sideline BC Lions superstar Nathan Rourke for a little while. They have carved out a big lead against the team that is directly ahead of them in the standings.

It looked like they were riding towards a victory.

And then they weren’t.

The Stamps couldn’t move the ball in the second half and despite a defensive effort that gave them a chance to hold on to their halftime lead, the Lions crawled and worked their way into the game and then sealed the victory with one last second. field goal to exit McMahon Stadium with a 41-40 victory.

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The first half gave the Stamps something to cheer about. It only made the second half worse.

“Dreadful fucking. It was awful,” Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said. “Everyone except Peyton (Logan), great return for a touchdown there. Bad penalties, bad decisions. Everyone from the benches to the guys on the pitch. Everyone was terrible.

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“I’m not saying I was good. Everyone there, it was a bad second half. You score 40 points, you cannot lose a game. Hats off to what they did, obviously coming back in that second half was crazy.

An exciting game? Absolutely, but it won’t be much comfort for the Stamps (5-3) as they fell to another West Division rival and fell behind a 7-1 Lions who are proving week after week that they are true Gray Cup contenders.

There was a lot to love, but the inability to move the ball in the second half will haunt the Stamps.

Defense and special teams scored touchdowns throughout the game, but the offense’s inability to move the ball meant the defense was too much on the field. Against a powerful attack like the Lions, it was never a recipe for winning.

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We had the lead all game, but we have to learn to start playing with that confidence that we’re not going to be disallowed and keep doing it over and over and over again,” the Stamps head coach said. Dave Dickenson. “We are still in good shape. I know the road gets harder with defeat.

The Stampeders started the game with a three-man defensive line that seemed designed specifically to confuse Rourke’s eyes. They dropped extra guys in coverage and the closed space between the Lions receivers.

For a while it worked.

The Lions came first on the board with a field goal, but that was largely because Stamps returner Peyton Logan fumbled a punt and gave them great field position.

For the rest of the first quarter, however, it was all Stampeders.

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The exceptional Rene Paredes evened things up and when Rourke threw an interception to Stamps DB Nick Statz in the Lions’ next practice, the Stamps took advantage when Bo Levi Mitchell – who finished the game after completing 18 of 32 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns – connected with Jalen Philpot for a 23-yard touchdown pass.

Another field goal put the Stamps ahead 13-3, and they extended their lead even further when defensive end Folarin Orimolade dropped back into coverage, picked off Rourke, and then sent the ball into the end zone.

Suddenly it was 20-3 and Rourke and those Lions looked very deadly.

Before anyone could point out his “Lions are overrated” shots, Rourke settled in and showed why he’s special. He would finish the game having completed 39 of 53 passes for 488 yards and two touchdowns.

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If he had been shaken by the two interceptions he had thrown, it did not show. He picked himself up calmly and calmly and marched the Lions down on a 78-yard drive that ended with a connection with Dominique Rhymes for a 30-yard touchdown.

A field goal put the Stamps up 23-10, but Rourke had regained his confidence. The next time he got the ball back, he again marched the Lions down the field before kicking the ball into the end zone himself.

The Stamps may have started fast, but their lead was only six and the momentum was firmly in the Lions’ hands.

It was not a simple game, however. Adjustments have been made, momentum has come and gone.

When the Stamps got the ball back, they put the ball back in the hands of running back Dedrick Mills, who found the holes he needed to put them within striking distance of the end zone. Once there, Mitchell did the rest, connecting with Shawn Bane in the end zone for a 24-yard TD.

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The Lions added a single before halftime, officially tying the game for most runs scored in the first half this season, at 48.

It was 30-18 and it looked like a shootout. This feeling would not last.

In the second half, the offense dried up, especially for the Stampeders.

There is nothing to complain about the defensive play of the Calgary team. They kept the Lions from scoring goals as their own attack struggled to find first downs and generally looked in a bad mood. Part of that surely had to do with the fact that Philpot and Richard Sindani had both been forced out of the game through injury, but the fact remains that the Stamps struggled to move the ball and that gave the Lions plenty of chances to get into the game.

The fact that they were held to two field goals until the middle of the fourth quarter is credit to a near-heroic defensive effort by the Stampeders.

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But then everything seemed to fall apart.

With the Lions in a third-and-two situation, Rourke lined up shotgun and connected with Bryan Burnham for a 53-yard touchdown.

There was a lot of time on the clock and the Stamps only led 33-31 and had done almost nothing on offense. It seemed almost inevitable that the Lions would complete the comeback.

And then Logan worked his magic and the whole game seemed to flip — and not for the last time.The Stamps returner took the Lions kickoff deep in his own turf and ran like there was no one else on the field. He ran and ran for 99 yards until he ended up in the end zone.Turning? Maybe, but it didn’t last. Again, it was a game where the momentum really seemed to go where it wanted, and the Lions responded to Logan’s big moment by heading back to Burnham for an impossible-to-describe grab, then handing the ball to Rourke to throw it in the end zone.

When the Stamps again couldn’t get more than one first down in their ensuing practice, it gave Rourke another shot at the win.

And he did what he did and walked the Lions down the field and put them in position to kick the game-winning field goal.

That was it. The Stamps lost. They gave Rourke the chances he needed and he got the job done.

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