Argos will use bye-week to reflect on loss, regroup

Argos defensive back Lin-J Shell was ejected from Friday's game for spitting on a Ticats player at...

Argos defensive back Lin-J Shell was ejected from Friday's game for spitting on a Ticats player at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 PM ET

The Argos began their bye-week on Saturday, humbled in the wake of a lost opportunity and mindful of what’s required to bounce back after taking a step backward.

“Obviously we’re not good enough to coast through and make mistakes and not pay the price,’’ said Bryan Crawford, a special teams stalwart and one of the Argos’ co-captains.

A Hamilton native, Crawford will have plenty of time to reflect on Friday’s 16-12 loss to the Ticats, who play host to the Argos on Labour Day.

“We need to use this loss to keep us motivated, to light that first as we start the second half of the season, to not think we’re more than what we are,’’ he continued.

Unquestionably, the Argos are an offensively limited team that can’t turn the ball over and simply must be productive on first downs to avoid obvious passing situations.

It’s also a team that can’t afford to take costly penalties.

The hope is that the sting of losing will linger during their period of inactivity.

More than anything, the Argos were guilty of being too cocky in blowing a 12-3 lead they took into the final quarter on Friday.

Good teams, especially when playing at home, don’t lose the battle of field position, don’t lose their composure and always find a way to finish a game.

“This validates what we’ve been saying since Day 1,’’ head coach Jim Barker said. “Everyone needs to be better. What we need now is to regroup after the break.”

Clearly, the group that needs to step up is on the offensive side of the ball.

The offensive line had been the team’s biggest strength, but it was outplayed by Hamilton on Friday.

When the Argos aren’t able to run the football, the offence becomes too one-dimensional and it’s not advanced enough to make plays consistently when the down and distance favours an opponent.

Jeremaine Copeland’s absence was particularly felt, a void that made the Argos revert to gadget plays, including a double reverse that saw Chad Owens complete a 37-yard pass, their longest play from scrimmage.

Owens and Brandon Rideau dropped passes, Cleo Lemon looked too stationary in the pocket and Cory Boyd was a complete non-factor.

Lost in the defeat was the play of York product Andre Durie, Toronto’s most reliable and productive player, himself a victim of a long gain that was negated by a penalty.

“No excuses,’’ Barker said of his offence, which was held to 98 rushing yards and which yielded four sacks. “We just have to get better.”

In the fourth quarter, the game’s turning point arrived when Ryan Christian fumbled a kickoff, a turnover the Tabbies parlayed into the game-winning touchdown.

During the game’s final 15 minutes, the Argos had three possessions, sequences that featured two sacks, a Lemon fumble that was recovered and a turnover on downs.

‘Got to learn’

“You’ve got to learn from mistakes,’’ offensive guard Taylor Robertson said. “In this business, you better do your job or you’re gone.”

As good as the team’s cover units were on Friday, the special teams get a failing grade for nullifying an Owens punt return for a touchdown, for the costly fumble by Christian and for placekicker Grant Shaw’s inability to convert.

Just as Durie’s play was overlooked, so too was Jamie Boreham’s work on kickoffs and punts.

“You just don’t forget,’’ Robertson said of Friday’s loss. “It’ll be with us for how many days there are until our next game.”

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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