The Argonaut 3 game winning streak came to a grinding halt Saturday in Hamilton as the Argos lost 27-15 to the defending Grey Cup champions. I refuse to call this a home game for Toronto, being forced to play in their most hated rival’s stadium where the Argos have yet to win a game. This was the team’s 4th road game in a row and 12th road game in 15 games and counting, and the wear and tear appeared to catch up to them on this day.
The players, coaches and management don’t even talk about it anymore unless prompted and they genuinely don’t care anymore where they play, but let’s face it what team in any sport would have a winning record with so many road games. Nobody would put money down on having a winning record much less an opportunity to still finish first.
The Argos looked like a team with 12 road games under it’s belt Saturday. Trevor Harris had his worst game as a pro throwing 3 interceptions, receivers dropped balls, the d-line only generated one sack on Bo-Levi Mitchell, and special teams had another poor game. And it was the worst attended Argo game in living memory.
The Rogers Centre have really done the Argos no favours this year and no longer even seem to hide the fact they will not accomodate them to play there until the baseball season is over. This really is an unfortunate situation completely of the stadiums making. They do not want to help a fellow Toronto franchise that pays them rent. I don’t know why. It seems petty, childish and unprofessional. In no way is this the Blue Jays fault. They are winning, just as the Argos win. That is why we are fans, to watch our teams win, sports are about having a “rooting” interest in your team. To my mind the Dome have not articulated effectively why the Argos are not able to play their home games there this season. It seems like a series of excuses and lack of will to change the situation. Better days are ahead next season at BMO Field.
It is easy to say that the Calgary Stampeders are the superior team. On Saturday they were, and they have some significant injuries as well. This was a road game for them too. Calgary deserved the win, but the Argos were never really out of it until late in the game despite a very poor first half of play. Again the Argos have loads of excuses to use, which the players and coaches do not, but I will. The Argos are only 1-6 against Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton this year – the elite – teams. Some will say they are not at their level, and their record says they are not. But this season is not over yet, and this team overcomes adversity and have shown they can play with those teams. Only 1 of those games were the Argos never in, the Labour Day Classic against Hamilton. We only played Hamilton once in a home game, and honestly Toronto would have won that game without some horrendous officiating. Calgary and Edmonton never played in Toronto and we had opportunities to win all of the other games.
You have to play mistake free football in order to beat the best. This is what the team and coaching staff need to work on. When playing road games you need to win the turnover battle. When the Argos win the turnover battle they are 8-0. The best teams rarely allow you to survive your mistakes – they make you pay. In the playoffs you cannot make mistakes. Scott Milanovich is a good coach. I believe he will work hard to prepare his team. He should be a leading candidate for Coach of the Year given the winning record and the schedule, off-field distractions the last 4 seasons.
There was one play that stands out. A diving catch for a touchdown by Tori Gurley in the corner of the endzone early in the second half to make it a game. Otherwise it was largely a forgettable game. The Argos need to re-focus and get ready to finish out the season on a high note over the next three weeks.
Here’s a parting thought for the Rogers Centre and a sentiment expressed in the Bad News Bears in Breaking Training….Let them Play, Let them Play, Let them Play, Let them Play…