Stampeders return to Grey Cup game with 22-14 win over Blue Bombers
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell throws the ball during first half CFL West Final football action against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, November 19, 2018 12:28AM EST
CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders will play in the Grey Cup game a third straight year after downing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 22-14 in Sunday's CFL West Division final.
Eric Rogers led the Stampeders with three touchdown catches, including a 10-yard leaping grab late in the fourth quarter.
Calgary faces the Ottawa Redblacks in next Sunday's Grey Cup in Edmonton. The Redblacks downed the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 46-27 earlier Sunday to take the East Division.
“It's time to climb to the top of the mountain,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson.
Ottawa will attempt to win its second Grey Cup in three years after beating the Stampeders in the championship game two years ago.
Calgary's third consecutive appearance in the Grey Cup game is a franchise record. The Stampeders were favoured to win the 2017 and 2016 Grey Cups, but lost to Toronto and Ottawa respectively.
The Stampeders won the Grey Cup in 2014.
The last team to appear in three straight Grey Cups was the Montreal Alouettes from 2008 to 2010. The Als won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.
Winnipeg's Justin Medlock kicked four field goals for the visitors Sunday, including a 57-yarder for a CFL playoff record, in front of an announced 29,268 at McMahon Stadium.
Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 17 of 31 passes for 214 yards and three touchdown throws.
Mitchell joins a select group of CFL quarterbacks to lead their teams to a playoff win five straight years. Ron Lancaster, Russ Jackson, Doug Flutie and Tracy Ham are the others.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers starter Matt Nichols was 15-for-32 in passing for 156 yards.
The Stampeders topped the division and the CFL with a 13-5 record in the regular season. Calgary was 9-2 at Week 13 and went 4-3 down the stretch to secure first in the division and the playoff bye.
The Blue Bombers finished third in the West at 10-8. Winnipeg was 5-7 after its Labour Day home-and-home against the Saskatchewan Roughriders and went 6-1 en route to Sunday's division final.
Winnipeg beat the Roughriders 23-18 in Regina in the division semifinal.
Sunday's second half was largely devoid of offence until six minutes left in the game.
Mitchell's 21-yard pass to Richie Sindani, followed by an 18-yard Don Jackson run and a 15-yard catch from Lemar Durant put the hosts in scoring range for Mitchell's touchdown throw to Rogers.
After Medlock's fourth field goal of the game, the Bombers attempted to recover an onside kick with 38 seconds remaining in the game. Stampeders middle linebacker Alex Singleton emerged with the ball, however.
The visitors trailed 14-11 after Medlock's 41-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Jackson's fumble on Calgary's first drive of the second half was recovered by Winnipeg's Taylor Loffler at the Stampeders 46-yard line.
Winnipeg ended up punting, but pinned Calgary's offence deep and eked a two-point safety to trail by six points.
Mitchell threw a pair of touchdown catches to Rogers in the second quarter for a 14-6 Calgary lead at halftime.
But a holding penalty by Stampeders defensive back Ciante Evans negated a Tunde Adeleke punt return to Winnipeg's end zone late in the quarter.
Mitchell found Rogers in Winnipeg's end zone with an eight-yard touchdown throw at 13:09.
Calgary's offence marched 92 yards capped by Mitchell's 12-yard touchdown toss to Rogers for a 7-6 lead at 10:32. That drive took eight minutes four seconds off the clock.
A Romar Morris catch and run to Winnipeg's one-yard line was called back because of a Chris Matthews pass interference call during that drive. Calgary lost a challenge on the call to sacrifice a time out.
Rene Paredes was wide left on a 45-yard field goal attempt midway through the opening quarter.
Kevin Fogg ran the ball out to Winnipeg's 40-yard line and Medlock capped the drive with a 36-yard boot to make it 6-0 for the Blue Bombers.
On Winnipeg's second possession of the game, Medlock kicked a wind-aided 57-yard field goal to open the scoring.