Before today’s game between the Argonauts and Alouettes started, I told myself that one of the teams would firmly establish itself at one extreme of the CFL totem pole. Is Montreal really as good as their now 11-2 record indicates? Or is Toronto, who reached double digits in the loss column with Saturday’s 27-8 defeat, just that bad?
Consider this: the last time these two teams met, Montreal shut out Toronto 25-0, a rare feat in an offensive league like the CFL. Jamal Robertson found the endzone in the third quarter, so at least the Argos scored, but that’s about all they had going in their favour.
Frankly, Montreal was less than impressive. Though they put 27 points on the board (just five short of their season average) Anthony Calvillo wasn’t the gunslinger we’ve come to know. He looked a bit out of sync with his receivers. There were several instances where A.C. and one of his targets held their hands up at each other after a ball hit the turf. Their longest completion was for 20 yards. The Als’ longest play from scrimmage was a 30 yard Calvillo run. (Not a typo.)
The Toronto defence played well. Holding the Alouettes to just 14 points through three quarters is no small feat. So maybe Toronto isn’t that bad…
Toronto amassed just 227 yards of offence, their third straight game under 300. For the second consecutive week, Kerry Joseph came in to relieve Cody Pickett at quarterback, but didn’t fare much better. Yes, Joseph led the Argos on their touchdown drive, but only one of the eight plays on the drive was a completed pass. The play that kept the drive alive? A botched snap on thrid down that forced punter Justin Medlock to run for his life, where he moved the chains. Safe to say that wasn’t exactly how Bart Andrus drew it up.
If the word ‘playoff’ was still in the Argo lexicon, they could refer back to the Jim Mora school of thought at this point. (“Playoffs!?!?! Don’t talk about playoffs! You kiddin’ me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!”) With Winnipeg and BC winning on Friday, Toronto is now two and three games behind their closest competitors. (Furthermore, it might as well be three and four games, since the Argos lost both season series.)
You could hear a pin drop at the Rogers Centre as Montreal began to impose their will on the hapless Argos. It’ll be even quieter in November, when the Argos won’t host a playoff game for the second consecutive year.