A-mazing

Saskatchewan Roughriders' Travis Moore (right) is tackled by Toronto Argonauts' Jordan Younger as...

Saskatchewan Roughriders' Travis Moore (right) is tackled by Toronto Argonauts' Jordan Younger as he dives for a touchdown during second quarter CFL action in Toronto on Saturday July 9, 2005. (CP PHOTO/Tobin Grimshaw)

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

It was a night when the Argos saved their best for the very last.

Until that fateful final minute and final drive, the Argos were self-destructing, incapable of keeping their cool, inefficient on offence and in general inadequate.

Somehow, every mental meltdown, the team's inability to run the ball and produce big plays were rendered irrelevant.

With two drives and one costly Saskatchewan turnover that effectively saw the game's balance shift Toronto's way, the Argos manufactured a 27-26 win on a night that was absolutely perfect inside the Rogers Centre.

With the roof peeled back, old reliable himself, Damon Allen, took control by airing the ball on two touchdown drives that were masterful as they were timely.

No matter how ugly this win was produced, a win, as they say, is a win and the Argos improved to 2-1 as they now await a meeting with the B.C. Lions, who spoiled the Argos' curtain-raiser and unveiling of their Grey Cup banner.

"Victory can camouflage some serious flaws,'' Argos coach Michael Clemons cautioned in the aftermath of last night's dizzying turn of events. "You have to be careful to not find defeat in victory.

"It's easier to teach principles when you win because you can be a lot more hard."

While grateful for the win, the Argos' first at Rogers Centre this year, Clemons knows there's plenty of work on the horizon for a team that found a way to win.

A breakdown on special teams led to the Argos taking their second timeout in the first half in a league where only one timeout is allowed per half. It led to a Travis Moore touchdown, his second of the game.

John Avery, whose tenure in Toronto has been marred by injuries and underachievement, fumbled twice, the second leading to a Roughrider major and a 26-14 lead.

"Championship teams find a way to win,'' Argos linebacker Kevin Eiben said. "We won ugly, but the bottom line is a win. We now get B.C. and we owe them one."

Despite all the blunders, missed opportunities, mental breakdowns and Allen's first interception of the season, the Argos made it a game when Arland Bruce hauled in his second major with 2:45 left to make it 26-21. The 10-play, 92-yard scoring drive was set up when Chris Szarka fumbled the exchange with Nealon Greene on a series that would have sealed Toronto's fate.

As it turned out, the Argos had possession on their 27-yard line with 1:49 left after forcing a Saskatchewan punt. Tony Miles drew an interference call that moved the ball to midfield five seconds later.

Allen would find Miles again, use his savvy to gain yards along the ground and finally hooked up with Michael Palmer for a three-yard score and a 27-26 lead with 23 ticks on the clock.

It was stunning and totally unexpected. The loss was a heartbreaker for a Saskatchewan team accustomed to heartache. The loss was the Roughriders' first after beginning the year at 2-0 and came on an evening when Paul McCallum missed two makeable field goals.

There were plenty of misses for the Argos as well, but their defence stepped up in the second half and Allen led an offence that was opportunistic and timely.


Videos

Photos