Stamps Notes: Mitchell becomes winningest Stamps QB
EDMONTON — When the clock hit zero at the end of the fourth quarter on Saturday night, Bo Levi Mitchell officially became the winningest quarterback in Calgary Stampeders history.
The Stamps’ 33-17 win over the Edmonton Eskimos accomplished more important things in the short-term than re-affirming Mitchell’s place as one of the Stampeders’ all-timers, but that shouldn’t go unremarked upon, either.
Saturday’s victory was the 72nd of Mitchell’s career, slipping by Henry Burris at the top of the Stamps’ all-time list.
He took a whole lot less games than Burris to get there.
Mitchell’s 72-16-2 record gives him a .811 winning percentage. Burris has a .610 winning percentage and a 71-45-2 record.
Unsurprisingly, the Stampeders quarterback chose to deflect when he was asked what owning the record means to him.
“It’s a great feeling and it speaks to the work this organization has put in and the trust they’ve put in me over the last couple years,” Mitchell said. “In the off-season, bringing me back, and my credit goes to the guys around me.
“You can see, in games like (tonight) when I’m not at my sharpest and I’m trying to press a little bit, trying to fit things into small windows against a good defence, the receivers are going up there to make the catches and the defence getting us the ball back.
“Good team wins, that’s what it’s all about.”
Mitchell definitely wasn’t at his best on Saturday night.
He produced a couple very nice drives and distributed the ball nicely between Reggie Begelton and Eric Rogers — more on them later — but he also threw three interceptions.
Mitchell completed 25-of-40 passes for 254 yards, but ultimately, did more than enough to help lead the Stamps to a comfortable win.
That’s the thing people sometimes miss when they talk about Mitchell.
The stats don’t always pop, but he wins more than any other quarterback in the CFL.
“Everyone just kind of expects him to win because he’s been a winner at every level and at the start of his career,” Rogers said. “But he’s a winner. Even with a three-interception performance, he still won that game. Not a lot of quarterbacks can do that.”
The key to that, Mitchell says, is largely confidence.
“I’m never going to lose my confidence, no matter what,” Mitchell said. “Five picks, 10 picks, whatever it might be, I’m always going to throw the ball.”
With two Grey Cups, the Stamps’ all-time win record, and two CFL Most Outstanding Player awards to his name, there are inevitably going to be conversations about where Mitchell ranks all-time in Canadian football.
We can save that for another day.
After losing Mitchell for seven games with a torn pectoral muscle, the Stamps are just happy to have their star back out on the field — and winning games, of course.
“I mean, he makes big throws,” Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson said. “We didn’t start out great and then all of a sudden he drives us down there, he’s just a winner. Him and I play off each other a little bit, we’re just so competitive. I want him to be better and better and better, he wants to be the best and sometimes we’re not always that happy when we win.
“We’ve got to be careful about that because it’s really tough to win in this league, but his winning percentage is amazing, he takes ownership, he takes leadership. He makes his own mistakes but he owns them and moves forward and gets wins.”
FIGHTING THROUGH IT
There was a moment in the first-half when it seemed like Stampeders defensive end Cordarro Law might have seriously hurt his shoulder.
He took a few plays off and then was back on the field, picking up a sack and four tackles and just being his usual disruptive self.
That doesn’t mean he wasn’t fighting through pain, though.
“He was hurt, he was in a lot of pain but he felt like he could go,” Dickenson said. “We’re just so light at d-end right now, so we need that man. For him to keep playing and do what he does shows his commitment and skill level.”
Law acknowledged he was hurting after the game, but said defensive back Brandon Smith kept telling him to get up when he was down on the field
“I’m the leader of the d-line,” Law said. “It’s my job to lead them boys and show them that I’m all-in, 100%.”
REGGIE’S THE GUY
With 88 receiving yards on Saturday, Begelton officially took over the CFL-lead in that statistic — he’s now got 930 on the season.
He also temporarily took over the league-lead in receiving touchdowns when he scored his seventh of the year, but he left the game tied for first after teammate, Rogers, picked up his seventh, as well.
“That’s what he just told me,” Rogers said. “He said ‘You’re not even going to let me get one ahead of you in touchdowns?’ and I said ‘I’m going to get to 10 touchdowns no matter what, so if you want to get more than me you’ve got to get 11 or 12’. ”
The Stampeders definitely aren’t going to be complaining about this little internal competition.”
Early in the second quarter, the Stamps pulled off a fake punt when punter Rob Maver threw a pass to Ante Milanovic-Litre, who earned himself a 25-yard gain.
It’s the second time they’ve connected on a pass this year, and it might be time for them to get a nickname or something like that.
“People talk about all these duos across the NFL and CFL, but the real duo is No. 6 and No. 34,” Milanovic-Litre said, laughing.
Maver acknowledged that he and his teammate probably weren’t on the level of the greats just yet, but admitted how much he loves getting to play quarterback, even if it’s only for a moment.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’d rather throw the ball than kick it, it’s way more fun,” Maver said. “I like having those bigger contributions, punts can be big contributions but anytime you can put the offence back on the field, that’s great.
“It’s just fun and I love the fact that they have the confidence to call that play.”
Stamps o-lineman Shane Bergman barely played on Saturday because he was dealing with vertigo. It’s been an issue that has come up a couple times this season . . . A number of other Stampeders left the game temporarily, although there were no post-game updates on the likes of Jamar Wall or Fraser Sopik . . . Colton Hunchak delivered in his first game as a starter. The Calgary native had five receptions for 53 yards.