There was fight, effort and a compete level, but once again the Argos fell short for reasons that have plagued this year’s edition almost from opening week.
In virtually all three phases, there is some dimension lacking, a piece here, a few pieces there that have prevented the Argos from breaking through and mounting some kind of roll.
At no point this season, which mercifully has three games left, have the Argos played a complete game and Friday night would be no exception.
The fact the visiting Ticats would come to town and beat the Argos for the third time this season shouldn’t come as a surprise. They had superior quarterback play with Jeremiah Masoli pulling the trigger, two big-time playmakers on offence in Brandon Banks and Luke Tasker who combined for four touchdowns — three by Tasker — a more opportunistic and aggressive defence and better schemes.
It was close early, but eventually the Ticats pulled away in the third quarter en route to a 34-20 win.
The announced crowd was 14,184 on a cold, wet night at BMO Field when some 18,000 tickets were sold.
Needless to say, there’s work to do, a lot it should be noted, with the Argos, on and off the field, as the team dropped its seventh straight to fall to 3-12.
“You’ve got to give Masoli credit,’’ said Argos head coach Marc Trestman. “He just doesn’t do it one week, he does it every week. He finds a way to get out of the pocket and make a throw, Tasker is always around or Speedy (Banks) is always around. You just have to give him credit.”
Masoli deserves the credit as the Tabbies get ready for a crucial home-and-home with Ottawa, a team that went into the Hammer earlier in the season to knock off the Ticats.
A sweep by the Ticats and first place will be Hamilton’s and that all-important bye into the divisional final.
The Redblacks are in Edmonton on Saturday as the race for top spot in the East intensifies.
Whether it’s Hamilton or Ottawa, one will play host to the Western crossover.
The Argos, meanwhile, are trying to save face following yet another setback, once again playing well enough during stretches but alsounable to sustain their level of play.
It was 10-10 following the game’s opening 15 minutes as the Argos matched Hamilton, first after the Ticats took the opening kickoff to put three points on the board, then by matching Hamilton’s touchdown with their own major.
Hamilton, however, outscored the Argos 21-0 in the second and third quarters.
S.J. Green, hands down the Argos’ best player all season, surpassed 10,000 receiving yards in his career when many had written him off two years ago following knee surgery. He caught seven passes from James Franklin for 127 yards and a last-minute TD to make the score more respectable.
There aren’t enough Greens on the Argos’ roster and the lack of talent and explosiveness Friday night was evident.
“Right now we’ve got too much error in our game,’’ continued Trestman. “In all three phases and it hasn’t changed. It’s really been that way throughout the season.”
When it comes to preparation and effort, according to Trestman, none of that will be questioned.
But, and it’s a major but, when a team has won only three games and no single area of play has been consistent, questions surface, which goes with the territory.
Franklin was fine in his return as the team’s starting QB, but his third-quarter fumble cost the Argos, one of four turnovers by Toronto.
Even had the Argos played cleanly, it’s doubtful they would have won. As the game wore on, the Ticats emerged as the best team and the final score was fitting, in some ways flattering the Argos.
With no consistency in any of the Argos’ three phases, there’s no dominant area to help overcome the issues that continue to plague this unit.
They did try to go deep more but once again Duron Carter was a non-factor.
Just before the half, Carter allowed a punt to go into the end zone for a single point, a moot point in the grand scheme of things but it was a mental mistake.
Some bad calls that went against the Argos didn’t help, but the bottom line is that the Ticats are better and they have bigger fish to fry in the weeks ahead. A sweep of the Redblacks and the Ticats can rest many of their walking wounded for the season finale against Montreal.
Like the Argos, the Als have been eliminated from the post-season.
Montreal comes to BMO next Saturday afternoon as Johnny Manziel makes his first appearance in Toronto.
Toronto’s seven-game slide began in Montreal on a night when its offence could not score a single point in the fourth quarter of a three-point loss.
More than any loss, that setback summed up this disappointment of a season.
While Hamilton and Ottawa will battle for first in the East, the Argos and Als will battle in their home and home for what is essentially the right to finish second last in the CFL.
And that’s for the winner.
For the loser goes the title of league’s worst.
The Argos close out the regular season in Ottawa.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies