Quarterback Doug Flutie made a triumphant return to his hometown last night, leading the Calgary Stampeders to a 42-16 victory over the Baltimore CFLs before 39,247 at Memorial Stadium.
Flutie completed 24 of 38 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns to spoil the return of pro football to Baltimore after a 10-year absence.
It was the first loss by Baltimore's Canadian Football League expansion team after one regular-season win and two preseason wins.
Baltimore quarterback Tracy Ham was 23 of 33 for 286 yards with one touchdown in the defeat. He twisted his right ankle early in the fourth quarter and had to leave the game.
The Stampeders (1-1) scored 21 points after Ham's departure to rout the CFLs.
The Stampeders were opportunistic in taking a 22-13 halftime lead.
They got a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by Pee Wee Smith in the second period.
And after fullback Peter Tuipulotu missed a handoff to turn the ball over on the Calgary 30, Flutie took the Stampeders 80 yards to another touchdown.
It was a first half in which Flutie was as dangerous running as throwing. He launched a first-quarter scoring drive with an 18-yard scramble. After throwing a 22-yard completion to
slotback Dave Sapunjis, Flutie hit again on a second-down pass over the middle for a 19-yard touchdown.
Sapunjis caught the ball at the 2, was hit by safety Michael Brooks, but fell forward to the goal line.
Calgary's offense stalled after that until its last drive of the half. Smith's punt return on a short, 28-yard kick by Josh Miller went right up the middle. No Baltimore player got a clean shot at him. It was the second punt return touchdown the CFLs have given up in two games.
Baltimore was driving for a go-ahead score in the final two minutes of the half when Tuipulotu fumbled Ham's handoff.
Flutie got the drive started with a 25-yard run around the left
side. From there, he threw 12 yards to Tony Stewart, 18 to Allen Pitts and 19 to Stewart. That put Calgary on the Baltimore 16.
One play after Flutie kept the ball on a dive for a first down to the 15, he ran a naked bootleg left. Getting a block from Pitts, he slide baseball-style into the end zone for a touchdown.
Flutie completed 11 of 18 passes for 142 yards in the half and ran four times for 59.
Ham, meanwhile threw for 221 yards, completing 16 of 23 passes, including his third touchdown pass to Chris Armstrong this season. That play covered 20 yards in the second quarter at the end of a 70-yard, five-play drive.
The big play in the series was a 35-yard completion to Walter Wilson to the Calgary 20.
On the touchdown, Ham play-faked left, rolled right and floated a pass over the head of Gerald Vaughn to Armstrong. It came out of a new offensive set, the "scatter" formation.
Four players _ Shawn Beals, Mike Pringle, Wilson and Eddie Britton _ line up in an I behind Ham in the formation, then run toward the line of scrimmage in different directions before the snap.
Running out of their "scatter" set on the game's first series, the CFLs went 76 yards in 12 plays to get a 13-yard field goal by Donald Igwebuike.
Coach Don Matthews uses it as a run formation, and indeed, Pringle rushed five times for 30 yards. Ham completed four of five passes, but a second-down incompletion from the Calgary 6 stopped the drive. The pass was batted by middle linebacker Marvin Pope.
Baltimore drove 66 yards to another Igwebuike field goal in the second quarter, this one from 16 yards out. Pringle went 18 yards on a draw to set up that kick.
Pringle finished the half with 68 yards rushing on 10 carries in his first start for Baltimore.
Calgary dodged another bullet early in the third quarter when free safety Greg Knox intercepted a tipped Ham pass inside the Stampeders' 5-yard line. Ham's 24-yard scramble put Baltimore on the 14-yard line the play before.
Igwebuike kicked his third field goal of the game _ and seventh of the season _ on Baltimore's next series. Ham threw completions of 11 yards to Beals and 15 to Wilson to get to the Calgary 22.
On third-and-5 from the 14, Igwebuike kicked a 21-yard field goal. That narrowed Calgary's lead to 22-16.
Calgary took a 9-point lead just 41 seconds into the fourth quarter when Mark McLoughlin kicked his first field goal of the season, a 25-yarder. That made it 25-16.
Flutie set up the kick with a 22-yard run to the 18.
Ham was injured on Baltimore's next series when he was sacked on second down by Pope. He left the game with a sprained right ankle and walked off the field to the locker room for X-rays.
After a punt, Calgary drove 55 yards to a touchdown and 32-16 lead. Flutie found Pitts for 14 yards on a crossing pattern to reach the Baltimore 37.
From the 25, Brian Wiggins caught a 17-yard pass to the 8. Then, two plays later, Flutie threw to Pitts on an out pattern for a 5-yard score. Newly-signed defensive back Stan Petry was beaten on the play.