The Argos win one at home…no, really!

Jamal Robertson

Will the real Jamal Robertson please stand up?

After 187 total yards in Toronto’s Canada Day stomping of the Tiger-Cats — including 134 on the ground — Toronto’s starting running back went into a drought. He entered Friday’s game averaging only 50 yards rushing in the games since. But as the old saying goes, there’s no time like the present.

Robertson played his best football of the season after halftime. After just five rushes in the first half, he carried the mail 13 times after the break, including key rushes of nine, six and eleven yards in overtime, leading the Argos to a 25-22 win.

Toronto head coach Bart Andrus said that the decision to go away from the run in the first half wasn’t by design, but knew he could depend on it late in the game.

“We ran it a couple of times early and got stuffed. […] I really felt like we would be able to run the ball if we could be close,” he said.

Sure enough, Robertson delivered on his coach’s words, and was grateful for the faith he was shown.

“It’s great that they believe in me, that they have confidence in me. I’m just glad I could come through for them when they need me,” said the second-year Argo. “I train hard in the off-season, and hope that I’m able to carry that load, and hope I can do that for the team when they call on me.”

Andrus also spoke highly of quarterback Cody Pickett’s play. While Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille brought in backup Quinton Porter on multiple occasions, Pickett played the entire game (minus a 2nd & 1 play which Kerry Joseph came in for, which turned out to be negated due to a penalty), and earned his first win as a starter in the CFL. He threw for 254 yards, but that wasn’t the only thing that impressed Andrus.

“He’s able to accept the play. He didn’t throw any interceptions. He has a high completion percentage, even with a few drops,” said Andrus. “That stuff will take care of itself as he gets more and more familiar with the guys running routes.”

Robertson had the best analogy for a team that snapped a franchise-record ten game home losing streak.

“We’re trying to get that momentum. It’s like when a basketball team goes on a 10-0 run. We’ve got to try to take advantage of this.”

Though there are few games that carry more weight on their schedule emotionally than those against Hamilton, the Argos go on the road for two games that could make or break their season. Matchups at BC and Winnipeg, the two teams directly above them in the standings, will go a long way in determining their fate come November.

One positive from Friday’s win is that Toronto has already eclipsed their post-Labour Day win total from a year ago. For Robertson and the Argos, what happened in recent history doesn’t matter.

-Marc Tessier

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