The Toronto Argonauts recorded a much-needed victory on Saturday evening against their Western rivals, the Calgary Stampeders. It has been a long week for the Argonauts’ following the controversial release of running back, Cory Boyd and the announcement that Chad Kackert would be taking over as the team’s lead back.
Following a poor offensive performance against the B.C Lions in which Ricky Ray had three interceptions and a 52.9 passer rating, he and the Argonauts’ offence came out sharp in Calgary, with their new tailback leading the way.
Ricky Ray opened up the ball game with a 50-yard pass completion to Chad Owens on the Argonauts’ opening play from scrimmage on Saturday evening. From there it would be Swayze Waters getting the Argonauts’ on the board first with a 23-yard field goal. Argonauts’ defensive lineman, David Lee showed flashes of brilliance early on in the football game. The 21-year old made one tackle in the game but also had a forced fumble and was providing constant pressure on Stampeder quarterback, Kevin Glenn. Later in the first quarter, Ricky Ray completed a short pass to running back/fullback, Jeff Johnson who then shook off a couple Stampeder defenders and rumbled for a big 52-yard pick up and an Argonauts’ first down deep in Calgary territory. The Argonauts’ red zone issues continued in this football game. Following the big completion to Johnson, the Argos’ were unable to punch the ball into the end zone and were forced to settle for another three points on a 27-yard Swayze Waters field goal.
The Argonauts’ defence continued to impress on Saturday evening. Entering last night’s contest, the Argonauts’ defence ranked in the top third of sixteen different defensive categories in the CFL and on this night they were laying some massive hits on the stars of the Stampeders’ offence. Running back, Jon Cornish left the game briefly for the Stampeders in the second quarter following a hit from Argos’ defensive back, Brandon Isaac. The Argos’ defence managed to keep Cornish in check for a majority of the game and they seemed to be getting under the skin of the reigning CFL Player of the Week. Rene Paredes finally got the Stampeders on the board later on in the quarter with an 18-yard, chip shot, field goal. Chad Kackert began to find a rhythm for the Argonauts’ offence in the second quarter. He showed why Head Coach, Scott Milanovich elected to have him as the Argonauts’ lead running back rather than Cory Boyd. Milanovich wanted to utilize Kackert out of the backfield in the Argonauts’ passing attack on Saturday evening. Kackert certainly looked impressive when he had the opportunity to get the ball in the open field and he did a tremendous job of fighting for those few extra yards. The Argonauts’ offence looked as though it would end the team’s two-game touchdown drought late in the first half but their offensive drive was stalled yet again by a time count violation penalty, as there was confusion in the Argos’ backfield with Chad Kackert and Ricky Ray. The Argonauts’ were forced to kick yet another field goal and Swayze Waters was good from 11 yards out giving the Argos’ a 9-3 lead late in the first half. On the ensuing Stampeders’ offensive possession, Kevin Glenn would hook up with Johnny Forzani for a 50-yard pass completion setting up an opportunity for the Stamps to put more points on the board before halftime. The Stampeder drive stalled and Rene Paredes was back out to kick a 14-yard field goal to cut the Argos lead back down to just three.
The third quarter began with the Argonauts leading the Stamps’ 9-6 but they would continue to add on as Swayze Waters made his fourth field goal of the evening, this time from 48 yards out extending the Argonauts’ lead to 12-6. On the final play of the third quarter, Ricky Ray spotted Andre Durie wide open in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown extending the Argonauts’ lead to thirteen points and finally ending the drought of almost ten quarters of football without an Argonauts’ offensive touchdown.
The fourth quarter saw the Argonauts’ defence continue its dominance in the football game. Jordan Younger recorded his third interception of the season, tying him for first in the CFL with Eskimos cornerback, Joe Burnett. Swayze Waters continued to pour it on the Stampeders’ as he added another three points to extend the Argonauts’ lead to 22-6. With twelve seconds remaining in the game, Kevin Glenn completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Bauman. The Stampeders’ would successfully convert the two-point conversion but the Argonauts’ would recover the ensuing onside kick, sealing the victory for the Boatmen.
Chad Kackert finished with over 100 yards of total offence in the football game. He had fourteen carries for 94 yards rushing and recorded five catches out of the backfield for 41 yards receiving on the evening. He seemed to add another dimension to the Argonauts’ offence on Saturday. He did not see an overwhelming amount of touches but when he did get the football in his hands, he was very effective.
Ricky Ray recorded his third 300-yard passing game of the season on Saturday evening. Ray has had tremendous success against the Stampeders’ defence so far this season as he has passed for 723 yards and three touchdowns in two games against the Stamps’ in 2012.
The Argonauts’ defence was impressive yet again against the Stampeders. The Argos’ had three defensive players record five or more tackles in the football game. The defence also managed to limit the reigning CFL Player of the Week, Jon Cornish to just 43 yards rushing on twelve carries and one reception for 28 yards. Argonauts’ defensive backs also did a good job of slowing down Nik Lewis who had a monster performance in the Argos last meeting with the Stampeders in early July. Lewis managed to have just six catches for 68 yards receiving on the evening.
The biggest performance of the night came from the Argonauts’ punt and kick coverage team. The Argos’ special teams managed to hold the CFL’s leading return man, Larry Taylor to just 66 yards on seven kick return attempts.
This victory moves the Argonauts into first-place in the CFL’s Eastern Division ahead of the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The victory marks the fifth consecutive game that the Argonauts have defeated the Stampeders.
– Daniele Franceschi –