With so many crazy and exciting things going on in the universe this week (WALL-E’s robot brother landed on Mars, Canada got a few silver medals in Olympic rowing, etc.), it’s nice to know that the Toronto Argonauts are always there to give us something to talk about: something familiar, something we are interested in, something all of us can rally around, and something we understand. Monday night’s game against the defending Grey Cup champs was no different. There is lots to talk about.
As usual the pre-game tailgate party was something to celebrate: $5 tallboys, Marc Angelos Sausages, music, Argos Cheerleaders, face-painting, and good company always make for an exciting time. The Admirals met lovely fans who drove from as far away as Parry Sound and even some travelers from Calgary. Of course it just wouldn’t be a party unless some BC Lions fans showed up and felt a little out of place.
The party moved inside, Karl Wolf sang the national anthem, and then the game started with the Argos on the prowl to take over sole possession of the coveted first place spot in the Eastern Conference. During the Argos first possession Ricky Ray’s throw was intercepted by the BC Lion with the weirdest sense of style, James Yurichuk (check Geroy Simon’s instagram if you want proof of that). BC quarterback Travis Lulay wasted very little time connecting with Akeem Foster for a touchdown. What seemed like just moments later, Ricky Ray was picked off again. The Argonauts defense fought hard and BC had to settle for just a field goal by Paul McCallum.
The Argonauts were ready to fight back in the second quarter. Ricky Ray, Cory Boyd, and Andre Durie were all in their finest form and the Argos were starting to move down the field. Former Argo Byron Parker thought he intercepted Ricky Ray and ran for a touchdown. Good thing Keron Williams was offside and the touchdown was called back so Toronto maintained possession (Ha ha, BC!) What happened next was probably karma for us just laughing at BC: The Argos got more penalties than I can count, which made it difficult to move down the field. (These penalties against Toronto continued throughout the rest of the game) Swayze Waters punted back to BC and the Argos defense did not let the Lions score on that drive. Then McCallum’s punt resulted in a single point for the Lions, bringing their total to 11 compared to the Argos 0. After not one but two field goals by Waters and nothing exciting from BC, the half was over and the Argos were only five points behind (11-6).
The Argonauts defense continued to be strong in the second half. The Lions got nowhere on their first drive, and then Ricky Ray started to move the ball down the field. Once again Argos hero Swayze Waters kicked another field goal and the Argos were only down by 2 points! Even when the Lions were in the Red Zone, the Argos defense stayed strong. Then the penalties came back to haunt the boatmen and the Lions got an extra attempt to get the ball into the endzone from the 1 yard line. This time they got a touchdown. The fourth quarter efforts by the Argos to shrink the lead again were going well until Ray threw his final interception of the day. The BC Lions (including former Argos Byron Parker and Lin-J Shell) went on to win the game. The Argos now have their first loss at home. Both teams will now head into their bye week.
Something to keep in mind about this game is that the Argos were up against the defending Grey Cup Champions and the Argos held back the Lions to just over half the number of points they scored last game. The Argos were plagued by interceptions and penalties, which should be easily fixable over the course of the next few games. While this was not the best game the Argos have played, the Argos have what it takes to step up their game and make it to the Grey Cup. The Argos still have a winning record at home. More disciplined play will cut the number of penalties. Ray will bounce back. The Argos will be on their way up in the standings after a refreshing bye-week.
And on a lighter note: Monday was Cory Boyd’s birthday!! He celebrated with his friends, teammates, and fans after the game at Shoeless Joes and a good time was had by all.