Posted by: Jeremy | October 3, 2009

Als put clamps on Argos offense, win 27-8

Jason Carter can't get his hands on a Cody Pickett pass

Jason Carter can't get his hands on a Cody Pickett pass

Well, at least the Argos didn’t get blanked this time around. Toronto, shutout in Montreal Aug. 7, fared little better at home Saturday, falling 27-8 to the Alouettes in front of an announced crowd of 26,826 at Rogers Centre. The loss was the Argos’ third straight and eighth in nine games.

Neither Cody Pickett or Kerry Joseph was able to solve Montreal’s air-tight defense, which held the Argos to a mere 104 passing yards. Pickett was replaced at halftime after completing just 7-of-17 attempts for 64 yards in the first two quarters, but Joseph fared little better, converting just 8-of-15 for 47 yards. A Joseph fumble with just over eight minutes remaining was returned 61 yards by Montreal’s Chip Cox to give the Als a 24-8 lead and essentially put the game to bed.

“We’re not stepping up and making plays on offense,” Argos head coach Bart Andrus said after the game. “I saw it several times this afternoon — guys in position to make the plays and the ball doesn’t get from A to B.”

Joseph’s relief appearance was his second in two weeks. Last Saturday in Winnipeg, the veteran helped lead a comeback that fell just short in a 29-24 loss. This time around, Joseph wasn’t able to provide much of a spark.

“We’re still trying to find our rhythm,” Joseph said of Toronto’s offense. “Sometimes we get into it in spurts and sometimes we don’t get into it at all. We’re still looking for that consistency.”

The Argos’ defense, on the other hand, again played solid  in defeat, containing Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who entered the game as the league’s top passer. Calvillo completed 22-of-31 attempts for 216 yards, though he wasn’t able to get much going downfield and was forced to throw underneath most of the afternoon. He was sacked four times, and Kevin Eiben’s third quarter interception of a Calvillo pass led to Toronto’s only touchdown of the game — a seven-yard scamper by Jamal Robertson.

“We win and lose as a team,” linebacker Willie Pile said after the game, refusing to point a finger at the Argos’ stagnant offense. “Losing is frustrating, period. It’s a three-part game, though — offense, defense and special teams. It’s just a matter of putting that perfect game together, and until we do that we won’t be satisfied.”

The loss dropped Toronto to a CFL-worst 3-10, leaving them two games back of Winnipeg for the league’s second-worst record. The Argos sit four back of B.C. and Edmonton, who hold the league’s final two playoff positions.

With just five games to go and the post-season hopes all but dwindled, how does Andrus intend to keep the team motivated?

“We challenge them in every practice and every meeting,” he said. “We challenge them to improve. These are professional players and they have a lot of pride. They work hard because they know if they don’t, they’ll be embarassed.”


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