Argo's ship is sinking

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Perfection met imperfection and the outcome was never in doubt -- and nor should it have been.

This was a case of two teams going in opposite directions with the Argos suddenly staring at an uncertain future.

With so many key players unavailable because of injury, the Argos needed divine intervention on this night to even stay competitive against the mighty Montreal Alouettes.

It would turn into an expected one-sided game and the Argos licking their many wounds following a 31-7 loss.

The Argos only score was produced by Khalil Carter, who returned a Nealon Greene interception 84 yards for a touchdown with 2:42 remaining.

Almost from the opening kickoff, the Argos were in over their heads against a superior Als team that improved to a CFL-best 7-0 with the win.

FUTILITY STANDARD

The Argos were abysmal on offence, setting a futility standard that featured a unit that was unable to cross midfield, penalty prone, unable to make tackles that kept possessions alive and just generally was overmatched all over the field.

Maybe for the first time all season, the Argos grew frustrated at calls that went against them.

Certainly the defence, which was on the field for close to 38 minutes, did not play up to par. The Argos' longest play from scrimmage was 21 yards on a night when the offence produced 138 yards.

There was some mild suspense at the start of the game when Damon Allen was announced as the starting quarterback, only to have Spergon Wynn line up under centre.

It didn't really matter who was tossing incompletions because the Argos are in such a mess that it's almost impossible to right this ship as currently constituted.

At 2-5, the Argos find themselves in a must-win scenario next week when they venture down the QEW for a Saturday slugfest against the equally inept Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Some of the team's injured are expected back, but time is now a factor and it could be quite a while before the Argos find any rhythm on either side of the ball.

"Offensively, we have to find answers," head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons said. "Whether Damon plays or not, it's imperative we find answers. We do that and our football team will be fine."

Last night marked a six-game stretch that sees the Argos play against Eastern rivals. When the period ends with a Sept. 9 home game against Hamilton, it's quite possible the Argos will have no hope of the post-season, a stunning turn of events given the team's back-to-back appearances in the divisional final and 2004 Grey Cup championship.

"How we're going to turn this thing around? I don't know," veteran free safety Orlondo Steinauer said. "It has to come within each player. The organization as a whole has to look at where it's at."

The answer can be as simple as a philosophy change on offence, but the Argos' woes are so widespread that it's almost impossible to properly quantify.


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