Posted by: Jeremy | July 11, 2009

Argos cough up five turnovers, lose opener to Riders

Joseph, surrendering one of five Toronto turnovers

Joseph, surrendering one of five Toronto turnovers

If the Argos could erase the second quarter in Saturday’s home opener, they certainly would. Unfortunately, the 15 minute frame, which began with Toronto ahead 13-7 and ended with them down 37-13, stood out as the difference in a 46-36 loss to Saskatchewan in front of 30,055 fans at Rogers Centre.

Toronto started strong, forcing a two-and-out on the Roughriders’ opening drive and scoring on their first three offensive possessions. Kerry Joseph hooked up with Reggie McNeal for a 30-yard touchdown and kicker Justin Medlock kicked a pair of field goals to give Toronto an early 13-7 lead. That’s when the wheels fell off.

Saskatchewan defensive end Stevie Baggs reached Joseph in the end zone for a safety early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 13-9, and the Roughriders followed with four touchdowns in the final five minutes of the half to put the game out of reach. Jerrell Freeman provided the last of the blows, blocking and recovering a Medlock punt in the end zone. The turnover was one of five for the Argos, who didn’t turn the ball over in last week’s season opening win in Hamilton.

“You can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win,” Argos head coach Bart Andrus said after the game, “unless you get the opponent to turn it over six times.”

Toronto bounced back in the second half, picking up a touchdown run from Jamal Robertson and scoring receptions from Tyler Scott and Mike Bradwell, but it wasn’t enough to make the game close.

Aside from the deciding stretch in the second quarter, a contributing factor to Toronto’s collapse was penalties, of which they picked up 12. Defensive tackle Adriano Belli picked up four alone in the second, including two unneccary roughness flags and a facemask.

Andrus questioned his team’s discipline after the game, particularly that of Belli, who he considers a team leader.

“The issue that needs to be addressed is whether these guys want to be street fighters or football players,” he said afterward. “It’s simple as that, and it’s going to end. It’s going to end because guys that are doing that aren’t going to be here.”

Belli declined to comment on Andrus’ street fighter quote, but admitted it’s important to stay focused and said doing so won’t be a problem in coming games.

“I have to be able to keep my composure and so does everyone else on the field,” Belli said. “We’re not worried about it — we’re going to fix it for next week.”

There were positives for Toronto — Robertson added 80 yards on the ground to go with his third quarter touchdown. McNeal caught five passes for 114 yards and Joseph completed 27-of-46 attempts for 348 yards and three touchdowns.

After the game, Joseph refused to point fingers for the lack of discipline, insisting it’s a team game.

“Everybody was at fault today,” he said. “Everybody was a part of it, nobody more than anyone else. We give credit to Saskatchewan for capitalizing on our mistakes.”



  1. I agree with what belli did! he is a leader on the argos D he has to send a message to opposing offenences that they won’t be pushed around. the addition of murphy on the OL does the same for the offense. the argos need to cut down on the off sides on O, D and specials, no yards and all those mental mistake penalties

  2. Yeah, I think coach Andrus just wishes he could’ve sent the message without picking up a couple personal fouls. Penalties were definitely a killer on Saturday though…

    Thanks for the comment! Keep checking back, I’ll have plenty of Argos updates all season long…

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