All-around Argonauts

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

EDMONTON -- The Argos silenced the Edmonton Eskimos last night in what history will forever recall as the Famous CBC Lockout Bowl.

Amid the ambient sounds in Commonwealth Stadium -- much of it coarse language from both benches and swearing by restless fans -- the Argos beat the Eskimos 22-18.

The Argos improved to 5-3, tying them with the Ottawa Renegades for first in the East Division with a game in hand.

Edmonton dropped to 5-3 after its second loss in a row.

The Argos scored three touchdowns, one each by Robert Baker, who hurdled over an Eskimo defender en route to his score, Arland Bruce and Tony Miles.

D WAS KEY

But the key to victory was the defence. It clearly frustrated Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray, who couldn't find a way to go deep, his preferred method of aerial attack. He threw 56 passes and completed 40 for 414 yards, but his longest was only 26 yards. By comparison, Argos counterpart Damon Allen clicked on several long bombs.

"The thing that was kind of surprising was they really didn't attempt to go long until their backs were against the wall (trailing 21-4 after three quarters)," safety Orlondo Steinauer said.

The turning point of the game came late in the third quarter, after Toronto scored its second touchdown on an 89-yard pass-and-run to Bruce to lead 14-4. On the ensuing kickoff, Tony Tompkins fumbled and Riall Johnson recovered at Edmonton's 45-yard line. Three plays later, the Argos scored.

Edmonton made it close with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including one with 1:58 to go. Allen gave the Argos some breathing room on their final drive by connecting with Miles on a 46-yard pass play that began at Toronto's 10-yard line. Toronto added a key single point on a 69-yard punt by Noel Prefontaine.

"To come here and come away with the victory that's big for us," Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said.

After a scoreless opening quarter, the Argos grabbed the lead at 2:36 of the second quarter on a 90-yard touchdown play between Allen and Baker. The talented receiver took the pass in the flat, ran a few yards upfield, then pulled a Perdita Felicien and hurdled over cornerback Davis Sanchez and continued to the end zone.

"In NFL Europe I caught a shake route in front of the offensive line and jumped over two people and they were standing straight up," Baker said. "I high-jumped 6-foot-8 in high school, so it's no problem. I don't get excited about stuff I'm supposed to do."

Later in the quarter, the teams combined to produce three consecutive turnovers, but neither team could make use of the opportunities.

The first turnover came on a fumble by Edmonton fullback Mike Maurer. The Argos moved the ball only eight yards on the first two plays, then unveiled a crazy formation on third down to try and draw the Eskimos off side. Prefontaine tried an unsuccessful pass to backup running back John Williams, who was covered by two defenders.

After that turnover, Ray threw an interception under pressure from linebacker Kevin Eiben.


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