Ottawa – They say beating a team three times in a row is one of the more difficult things to do in professional sports. Last night the Toronto Argonauts took that theory and flushed it down the toilet. Okay, maybe it wasn’t easy but it sure was memorable. In a game that began as a track meet, then a defensive stalemate, than a track meet again, the Argos prevailed with a thrilling 38 -35 victory over Ottawa and are now in second place in the CFL East Division.
Simply put this game did two things for me. First off it was more proof why I love the CFL. The notion that no lead is safe stood tall and true at TD Place last night. Secondly it cemented for me what I’ve enjoyed most about this Argonaut season. And that is its developing rivalry with Ottawa. All three games have been some of the more entertaining games the Argos have played this season and with every Argo victory you can feel the frustration and hate from Ottawa fans growing and growing.
We all knew going into this game what this game was. Yes a home game on the road and yet another twist and turn on this Toronto football train that is constantly leaving me dizzy, groggy and sometimes too tired to even scratch my head. But here’s the thing, IT IS WHAT IT IS. Maybe I haven’t completely learned that yet but thankfully the Argos have. The schedule has sucked, it’s really not any ones fault, and frankly bring on Calgary at Tim Hortons Field. As a fan I’ll make the trek to Steeltown because Head Coach Scott Milanovich and the entire Organization has one a great job of keeping the team focussed on what they can control. And that’s nothing more than winning football games when everyone thinks you shouldn’t. Do you think the Ottawa game day staff deciding to play the “Let’s Go Blue Jays” song when the Argos took the field went unnoticed? Not a chance. But hey thanks for adding more fuel to the fire. This team has thrived on adversity. Excuses are turned into motivational factors and last nights’ game against the REDBLACKS was no different.
Down by 4 with just over two minutes left Argo QB Trevor Harris did his best John Elway impersonation and drove the team 74 yards down the field capped off by a 10 yard touchdown pass to Chad Owens that will definitely go down as one of the great catches in this 2015 CFL season.
It was a defining moment for the flying Hawaiian who has battled injuries yet continues to make big plays for an Argonaut offense that prefers to spread the ball around rather than focus on any one receiver.
Are you supposed to win football games when you get called for 20 penalties? Nope. Are you supposed to win a football game when you get outscored 13 – 0 on points off of turnovers? Nope. But don’t ever underestimate the 2015 Toronto Argonauts. This team just doesn’t quick. All three facets of the team are at times inconsistent. But all three also make big plays when called upon. Yeah the defense may bend but it doesn’t break. The Argos essentially lost the field of possession game all night long. With an average start on the Ottawa 52 yard line and two Argo interceptions inside their own 30 the Argo D was able to stall drives and hold Ottawa to 4 field goals rather than converted touchdowns. And more to the point after watching Henry Burris throw for 504 yards with zero sacks allowed and zero interceptions against Montreal the Argonauts D reduced that number by half allowing 250 yards and sacked the MOP candidate five times and picked him off once.
Speaking of MOP candidates is the Trevor Harris story ever going to get old. Maybe we should just stop being surprised what he does on the field and expect that type of performance he put on last night for the simple reason that that’s exactly what he’s done all season long. Harris threw for 397 yards and five touchdown passes to five different receivers. He did throw 2 interceptions, but was never fazed and continued to spread the ball around to all of his receivers who should be considered as the deepest core of receivers in the CFL. With 11 catches out of the back field from Brandon Whitaker any defensive unit trying to lock in on any one receiver is an exercise in futility.
The Argos now travel to Montreal for a “traditional” road game against the Alouettes on Thanksgiving Monday. It is “supposed” to be their last road game of the season before they end their season with four home games at the Rogers Centre. That likely won’t be the case and why should we expect otherwise. The only thing we should expect is what we’ve seen all season long, a determined and prepared team that will play to win where ever they snap the ball.
Written by Anthony Ciardulli
Follow me on twitter @comicanthony