Boatmen defence fails to show up

Argonauts' Armond Armstead (left) and Brandon Isaac take down Roughriders' Kory Sheets during...

Argonauts' Armond Armstead (left) and Brandon Isaac take down Roughriders' Kory Sheets during Monday's game at the Rogers Centre. It might have been the only defensive play the hosts made all day in the disastrous loss. (DAVE ABEL/QMI AGENCY)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:12 AM ET

TORONTO - We know Jarious Jackson is not Ricky Ray.

We know Gerald Riggs Jr. is not Chad Kackert.

We know the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defence is becoming the stingiest in the Canadian Football League.

But for the Argonauts to throw up such a stinker, a true embarrassment considering what a victory would have meant in the standings, is inexcusable.

And in dissecting a 36-10 loss — the Argos’ worst setback in 2012 — we’re not letting the defence off the hook. In successive possessions in the third quarter, the Roughriders blew the Argos defence open, with Kory Sheets running for a 48-yard touchdown and Weston Dressler making a 78-yard reception for another major. Sheets’ run was the longest by a Roughrider this season; Dressler’s catch the longest by anyone in green and white.

“We understand that the next time we face them, it will be a brand new team,” Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin said of the team’s next meeting, on Oct. 7 in Regina. “Regardless of their ailments, we have to take advantage of it and we did today.”

Had the Argos won, they would have been tied with the Montreal Alouettes with 16 points apiece atop the East Division. That possibility looked more tantalizing after the Als were upset at home on Monday afternoon by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Instead, the Argos remain a middling bunch, and carry a 7-7 record into their home game on Sunday afternoon against Montreal. If you’re a true Argos fan, you have to pray to the football gods that Ray is ready by then to return to the active roster from injury.

AT THE HALF

The Argos’ special teams might have ingested too much turkey on the weekend. Brandon West returned the opening kickoff 81 yards, only to be caught from behind by Marcus Ball, and the Boatmen had too many men on the field when Sandro DeAngelis converted the Roughriders’ first touchdown ... The Argos were aided by a pass interference call on Saskatchewan’s Eddie Russ, who cost his team 30 yards when he hassled Dontrelle Inman. But the veteran savvy of Jackson came through on the next play, when he threw a bullet to Maurice Mann for a 21-yard gain. Riggs Jr. then made a five-yard catch for the Argos’ first touchdown. It also was Riggs Jr.’s first CFL major ... The visitors couldn’t stay out of penalty trouble, and a 32-yard gain by Greg Carr, which would have taken the Riders into Argos territory, was wiped out by an offside call. A punt soon followed ... Good teams take advantage of big plays, but the Argos had nothing to show for a crucial tackle by Brandon Isaac late in the second quarter. With Drew Willy in on short yardage and a touchdown just a rubber stamp away, Isaac stepped up and dropped the Riders’ backup quarterback for a three-yard loss, forcing Saskatchewan to settle for a 12-yard field goal by DeAngelis. But on their next set of downs, the Argos couldn’t gain any traction and had to punt ... Andre Durie broke several tackles for a 22-yard gain on the penultimate play of the third quarter, but by then it mattered little. Durie led the Argos with 51 yards receiving ... Chad Owens has had a couple of weeks to forget. The Argos receiver piled up only 148 combined yards after he was held to a season-low 94 last week versus Winnipeg.

EXTRA POINTS

If an observer didn’t know any better, the green-clad crowd behind the Roughriders’ bench made it appear Saskatchewan was playing at home. Announced attendance was 25,176, and at least a third of the fans was wearing green clothing of some kind. The Roughriders have supporters everywhere in Canada, but it was still a bit jarring to see — and hear — so many in the opponent’s stadium ... Shooting themselves in the foot has been an Achilles’ heel for the Argos at times in 2012. A promising drive in the third quarter, one that had advanced the football past midfield, was stalled by a procedure call on Tony Washington, costing the Argos five years. On second-and-15, the Riders blitzed Jackson and he threw the ball away, drawing a flag for intentional grounding ... Linebacker Kyle Jones handled the punting duties for the Argos as Swayze Waters nursed a sore left thumb. Jones had not punted since 2008, when he did it in three games for Bishop’s University. Jones did not fare too badly, averaging 40 yards on 12 punts ... DeAngelis had to punt for Saskatchewan after the first quarter after Chris Milo left the game with an injury ... Owens’ lateral to Zander Robinson on a punt return was a dangerous one. Robinson couldn’t have been anticipating the play and managed to gain just another four yards at midfield. Owens should have played safe and hung on to the football ... Taj Smith managed to avoid the double coverage of Patrick Watkins and T.J. Williams to make a spectacular catch for a 56-yard gain on the Riders’ second possession. A couple of plays later, Willy plunged over the goal line for the major ... That the Roughriders did such an effective job on defence was not overly surprising. In the previous eight games, the Riders had the best defence in the CFL, allowing an average of just 295 yards a game. When the game was done, the Argos had just 223 total yards on offence.

 


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