November 25, 2012
Grey Cup Snaps: Too many weapons for Argos
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
TORONTO - As much as Chad Owens was the centrepiece in the Argonauts offence in 2012, he was not the only piece.
That quarterback Ricky Ray had several offensive weapons at his disposal meant that it didn't matter a whole heck of a lot that Owens, the Canadian Football League's most outstanding player in 2012, was held in check by the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup.
In the Argos' 35-22 victory, there was MVP Chad Kackert (Cory who?) running the ball down the Stamps' throats before 53,208 at a rocking Rogers Centre. There was local guy Andre Durie, forever putting to rest the injuries he suffered early in his career, with a fourth-quarter touchdown. There was Dontrelle Inman, making a circus-like catch to get the Argos to the Stamps' one-yard line, and then taking a one-yard pass from backup quarterback Jarious Jackson for a touchdown in the second quarter. There was Jason Barnes, running 62 yards after taking a short pass from Ray, who had eluded a Stamps defender.
"That is what a good offence does," Argos general manager Jim Barker said during the post-game bedlam on the field. "That is a credit to the coaching staff. They figured out what these guys could do, and they put them in a position to make plays."
Consider that when the Argos watched film of the team's highlights on Saturday, receiver Maurice Mann said he was not in enough of them, but it was OK, because it meant there were many players coming up big.
"I knew they were going to zero in on Chad," veteran running back Jeff Johnson said. "Ricky does what Ricky does best, and that is move the ball around. If it is not there, he is not going to force it. We have everybody on offence who can make plays, and you saw that tonight. It makes an offence that is unstoppable."
AT THE HALF
It's just about impossible to underestimate the Ray factor for the Argos. Few can throw an interception on the first pass attempt of the game and come back and play like it never happened. But that's what Ray did, connecting with Owens on a five-yard touchdown pass seven minutes later. Time and again Ray's teammates say that nothing, no matter how bad, ruffles the 33-year-old. Now they have evidence from the biggest game of the season ... The Stampeders' discipline, or lack thereof, got them into trouble. A 15-yard face-mask penalty on Demonte Bolden aided in the drive that resulted in Owens' touchdown. It's one thing to get your fingers caught up in an opponent's mask when you're tackling him, because it can happen without malice. But the call on Bolden was made yards away from Kackert, who carried the ball on the play ... Penalties were a problem through much of the regular season for the Argos. But they were not flagged once in the opening 30 minutes, which is astounding for any team ... Ejiro Kuale plays with a level of ferocity that's not matched by many of his peers, and there he was dropping Romby Bryant for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter. It was a huge play because it meant the Stamps had to settle for an 18-yard field goal ... Jon Cornish ran for 57 yards on 15 carries as the Argos stacked the defensive line. In two games against the Argos in the regular season, Cornish was not great, gaining 39 and 43 yards respectively ... Ricky Foley, named the top Canadian, provided a nice souvenir when he kicked the football into the stands after recovering a Cornish fumble ... We're not sure of the contract status of either Marcus Ball or Pacino Horne, but they should be signed to extensions by Barker as soon as possible.
Johnson, with 13 CFL seasons on his resume, wants to come back, as does fellow veteran Noel Prefontaine. "They're going to have to take my pads away from me," Johnson said. "This is the highest level possible, without a doubt, but this game is in my heart, soul, in my blood. And I'm not ready to hang them up yet."... Owens wore a Michael (Pinball) Clemons jersey during the warmup. Clemons wore an Owens jersey to the game. Neither knew one would be wearing the other's garb ... Perhaps it's because the CFL's fan base is not a young one, but Owens, who has been on Twitter for months, had just 5,339 followers on Sunday afternoon. By comparison, Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak had 92,474, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia had 113,162 and the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan had 173,964 ... It's strange that the Argos have not signed Barker to a contract extension. A lot of the moves Barker has overseen -- Owens, Ray, coach Scott Milanovich -- have had a profound impact on turning the organization around. Having said that, where would the Argos defence have been had Milanovich and Chris Jones been just passing acquaintances and not close friends? ... Jones couldn't have been more jacked up when the Argos stuffed the Stamps on third-and-one at midfield. Jones looked like he was told he had won the lottery the way he was jumping around on the sideline ... A holding penalty on Keon Raymond snuffed out a 105-yard return for a touchdown by Larry Taylor in the third quarter. That about summed up a dismal game for Calgary ... "It's the 100th Grey Cup," Johnson said. "It's the end of a fairy tale. We're here at home, Toronto is hosting it, and we are victorious. This is a historic game and I hope this is a turning point for the game in this city."