Argos will be praying Ray not out too long
Argos backup quarterback Jarious Jackson gets off a pass under pressure from the Alouettes' Kyries Hebert in Montreal on Sunday. Jackson was called into action when starter Ricky Ray was injured in the first half of the game.
The Argonauts have to keep their fingers crossed that Ricky Ray will not be on the sideline for long.
That’s obvious. Any road the Argos take to the Grey Cup has to have their quarterback, their leader, driving the bus.
Jarious Jackson had not so much as thrown a pass in 2012 before he trotted on to the field in Montreal on Sunday afternoon, having come in only on short yardage previously.
For someone who had been as inactive as Jackson, he was not terrible, but he couldn’t produce a touchdown in a 31-10 Toronto loss. Jackson is not the guy to lead the Argos the rest of the way, and asking him to get comfortable with a receiving corps with two-thirds of the season gone would be unreasonable.
With Ray on the sideline nursing a leg injury, it was impossible to get a true read of the Argos and how they would have stood up against the top team in the East Division.
But the end result can’t be denied, and for the second week in a row, the Argos couldn’t beat one of the best teams in the CFL, marking the first time this season they have been beaten in back-to-back games.
Next up are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who won’t be a miserable bunch at practice this week following their beatdown of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
No matter who is under centre for the Boatmen on Saturday night at Canad Inns Stadium, the Argos simply have to win. Losing against a Bombers team that has been mostly dysfunctional in 2012 would be inexcusable, no matter the circumstances.
At the half
The shine is off the Argos’ special teams and co-ordinator Mike O’Shea. Gone, mostly, are the trick plays which the Argos appeared to pull off with relative ease a year ago. And there was Trent Guy — no one was going to bring him down by his hair this time — returning a missed Swayze Waters field goal 129 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. The Argos have allowed five touchdowns on returns this season, the most in the league. There appear to be communication issues on the field. Any chance that Bryan Crawford be lured out of retirement? ... Waters also missed his next field-goal attempt to get a single, so instead of being down 17-12, the Argos were behind 24-7. In the end, it did not matter ... Ricky Foley isn’t as quick as he used to be, something that was evident when 40-year-old Anthony Calvillo scampered past the Argos end for a first down in the second quarter. It was just the second time this season Calvillo ran for more than 10 yards ... Good for Chad Owens to become the first 1,000-yard receiver for the Boatmen since 2008, when Arland Bruce did it, and even better that Owens hit the milestone in Montreal against the Als, the team that had no use for him when it more or less handed him to the Argos in 2010. Marc Trestman has made few mistakes as the head coach of the Alouettes, but failing to recognize the talent in Owens was one of his bigger ones ... The Argos defence didn’t make it a difficult day for Calvillo, who passed for 315 yards, the ninth time in 2012 he has gone over 300. The Argos had been solid against the pass, allowing an average of 250 yards a game, the second-fewest in the CFL.
Part of the problem with celebrating after making a routine play is the chance you could get burned just easily. That happened to Argos linebacker Marcus Ball on the Als’ opening drive. Ball dropped Victor Anderson for a three-yard loss and did the little jump and fist-pump thing, only to bite hard on Anderson on the following play. Anderson ran for a 40-yard touchdown after taking a short pass from Calvillo, leaving several Argos grasping at the air, including Ball. We understand the competitive nature of most pro athletes, but don’t act silly when you simply have done your job ... That marked the fourth game in a row that Montreal has scored a major on their first possession. They have not given one up on the opponent’s opening drive since Week 5 versus Toronto ... Holder Trevor Harris’ fingers were about three inches too short to come up with Chad Rempel’s snap on a field-goal attempt, and the Argos turned over the ball on their opening drive ... Pacino Horne picked off Calvillo toward the end of the third quarter on an pass attempt to Jamel Richardson, just the eighth time this season Calvillo has thrown an interception. Since 2006, Calvillo has hit double digits in interceptions in a season just once, coming in 2008 when he tossed 13. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Argos defensive back T.J. Williams picked off Calvillo. Williams is a brother of New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie ... It’s at the point where we are beating a dead horse regarding the Argos and penalties, but if head coach Scott Milanovich is imploring his players to smarten up, the message it taking its sweet time to sink in. A players-only meeting in the days leading up to the game regarding the problem didn’t help. A couple of face-masking flags kept the Als going. Gift-wrapping first downs for the opponent is dangerous at any time, never mind against the division rival you are trying to track down in the standings.