Argos eye top spot after downing Ticats

Toronto Argonauts running back Chad Kackert scores a touchdown behind Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive...

Toronto Argonauts running back Chad Kackert scores a touchdown behind Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back Armando Murillo during the second half of their CFL football game in Toronto September 8, 2012. (Mike Cassese/REUTERS)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:19 PM ET

TORONTO - The Argos are beginning to look like a team poised to go on a roll.

As for the Ticats, they continue to get steamrolled.

And such is the plight of the CFL's two franchises in the southern Ontario market, two teams heading in opposite directions.

While there are plenty of areas that need cleaning up in Argoland, the way they made plays, were able to run the ball and simply impose their will when a game needed to be seized speaks to a team that is beginning to believe.

In Tiger Town, there's disbelief, especially in the wake of Saturday's 45-31 loss, a setback that represents Hamilton¹s fifth in a row, a loss that drops the Ticats' record to 3-7.

Numbers are so often misleading and the final margin did not reflect what could have been had Toronto showed better discipline and execution.

Truth be told, the Argos could have won by 30 points.

In sweeping the Ticats in their back-to-back series, the Argos improved to 6-4 with three road games now looming, beginning with next week's game in Vancouver against the reigning CFL champions.

Clearly, the Argos are eyeing first in the East, which remains very much within reach.

The Ticats need to win a game by any means to get into the post-season equation. If heads don't roll in the event of a non-playoff season, then issues that go to the very top of the football food chain are clearly at play. Intolerable is the only word to describe Hamilton's current predicament.

Chad Kackert would emerge as the game's star, running hard each time he touched the ball, finding pay dirt, even when the officials, who had another tough game, did not originally signal for a major when Kackert went airborne in the corner of the end zone.

In total, Kackert rushed the ball 16 times for 172 yards and three touchdowns, while producing 67 yards on six receptions.

For those who questioned Cory Boyd's release, they should check their brain and their agenda. With so much that requires immediate repair, it would be foolish for anyone to single out what ails these Ticats.

Clearly, their secondary must be completely overhauled, Andy Fantuz must somehow get involved in the offence and the overall psyche must be addressed. Red zone efficiency is still a work in progress for the Argos, whose defensive secondary, despite another pick six, gave up far too many big plays down field.

"We weren't perfect, but we're heading in the right direction," Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said.

Ken-Yon Rambo looked much in sync, while Maurice Mann would haul in some catches.

It's not known what fate awaits Jason Barnes, who sat out his second game. Ricky Ray took shots downfield, but on this day the best offensive play was to hand it off to Kackert or find him on check downs.

Admittedly, Milanovich said he should have featured the run more in Monday's win against a Ticats front four that is very susceptible.

"We did a great job in the running game," said Kackert, who still needs to provide a better presence for Ray.

In Monday¹s 33-30 win, it was Chad Owens who stole the spotlight. Chad Kackert isn't as emotional as Owens, but in the return game he was just as explosive. Staying grounded and even keel is one lesson Kackert has learned from a friend.

"It's just as dangerous to be over-excited as it is to be upset," he said. "I just try to stay calm. Keep calm and carry calm."

How the Ticats keep their cool amid the losing and mounting misery is anyone's guess. Henry Burris was a woeful in the opening half, but he also received little help when sure balls were dropped.

Hamilton aired it out in the second, but it was far too late. The question now is whether the Ticats can salvage this season. As of today, they're on life support

For the Argos, they're emerging. Saturday's matinee didn't have the raw emotion that characterized the Labour Day Classic, which, in many ways, was expected given the short week.

Injuries would force both teams into making personnel moves, the most profile involving Chevon Walker, Hamilton's rookie sensation who got hurt on Monday. In his place, veteran tailback Avon Cobourne stepped in. In addition, the Ticats were minus starting centre Marwan Hage.

For the Argos, Ahmad Carroll, whose fourth-quarter pick six on Labour Day turned the tide in Toronto¹s favour, was a no-go, as was Ejiro Kuale. The Argos did a great job in concealing a neck strain to Swayze Waters, whose kicking spot was filled by one-time Ticat Eric Wilbur.

Milanovich described Wilbur's day as "admirable," but the rookie head coach was far too forgiving.

Luckily for the Argos, the outcome was not decided by a field goal.


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