Horses corralled

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:15 PM ET

The rejuvenated horse stumbled out of the starting gate ...

Around the backstretch it started picking up steam, still behind but with the leader in sight. Coming down the home stretch, it ran out of steam.

The defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders 22-16 last night in front of 34,102 at McMahon Stadium.

Toronto improves to 1-1 with the win, while the Stamps drop to 0-1, already two wins behind West Division-leading Edmonton.

The performance was surprising, not only in the result but how it happened.

The man given the keys to the franchise started veering off the road early.

Free-agent quarterback Henry Burris made three costly errors in the first half, fumbling twice and throwing an interception in enemy territory.

When it came time to win the game, again Burris made an error, tossing a pass into the arms of Argos linebacker Michael Fletcher.

Head coach Tom Higgins wasn't about to commend his quarterback's performance but wasn't going to blame him either.

"Toronto does a good job of creating turnovers," Higgins said. "They did that at opportune times.

"Henry had some pressure on him and made some decisions he would probably not make right now."

For nearly three quarters, Burris and the new-look offence didn't deliver. By the time Burris recovered from his slow start, his team was down by 18 points.

At the end of the third quarter, Burris hit a wide-open Ken-Yon Rambo in the middle of the field and the Stamps newcomer scampered 57 yards for the club's first major of the season.

The Stamps kept chipping away at the lead with field goals but it was too much.

"They did a good job of turning those turnovers into touchdowns," Burris said. "If it wasn't for that, it would have been a completely different game. That's something I have to remember for future reference."

Ageless Argos quarterback Damon Allen orchestrated an impressive game, throwing two touchdown passes to Tony Miles and one to Robert Baker for 340 total yards.

But the 2004 Grey Cup MVP got a lot of help from his counterpart on the other sideline.

With the game scoreless near the end of the first quarter, Burris put the ball on the ground at midfield.

In the second, Burris looked like he would tie the contest at seven but threw a pass into double coverage while under pressure from Argos defensive lineman Eric England and it was picked off by Adrion Smith.

Later in the same frame, Burris again fumbled and Allen hit Miles a few plays later to open up a 14-0 lead.

The pressure from Toronto's linemen coupled with the tight coverage downfield led to all the mistakes.

"They do a good job with different things," said Burris, who finished 22-of-32 for 275 yards. "They're not trying to hide what they're doing. They line up and play their defence.

"They're taught to go for the ball and that's their game."

Sandro DeAngelis had field goals of 48, 18 and 38 yards and was perfect just like he was in the pre-season, a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing performance.

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TORONTO ARGONAUTS: 22

CALGARY STAMPEDERS: 16


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