Damon's day is saved

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Damon Allen Day at the Rogers Centre almost turned into Disaster Day for the honoured guest and his Argos.

But in the end, a clutch kicker, a stellar Argos defence and the ineptitude of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats combined to give pro football's career leading passer one of his ugliest wins as a pro.

With Allen's entire family, including famous older brother Marcus, and the man he passed for the record on Labour Day -- Warren Moon -- looking on, Noel Prefontaine's 47-yard field goal with 34 seconds left propelled the Argos to an 11-9 win yesterday before a crowd of 26,212. In a CFL rarity, not a touchdown was scored.

"You go into games thinking you can handle things, but I guess it was somewhat of a distraction," Allen said after a day which included a 20-minute pre-game ceremony and the presentation of a Ford Explorer to the Argos QB from the club's owners.

"For some reason, it didn't allow me to be as patient as I wanted to be and I ended up forcing some things ... But good football teams find ways to win and that's what we were able to do."

It was the fifth win in a row for the Argos, who leaped into a tie for first place in the CFL East with the Montreal Alouettes heading into a bye week.

Allen was off the mark yesterday, throwing three interceptions and completing just 19 of 36 passes. But to his credit, he made his final drive count. Starting from the Argos 20-yard line with 2:40 left, Allen used the next eight plays to take his team to the Ticats 40. After missing field goals from 47 and 52 yards earlier, Prefontaine was bang on with the game on the line.

"(Allen) was dealing with a ton of stuff this week and rightfully so," Prefontaine said. "It's great this week is done. I'm sure he is relieved and ready to go home and focus on (a back-to-back set against the Calgary Stampeders) after the bye week. Now that it's out of the way, he's going to be a little looser."

Fortunately for Allen, Ticats counterpart Jason Maas was even worse than him. Maas also threw three interceptions as the Ticats failed to score a TD for the third game in a row.

The Argos missed chances to give themselves breathing room. Arland Bruce III couldn't haul in a sure touchdown pass and backup QB Michael Bishop was stopped cold when sneaking left on a third-and-goal gamble from the one. The Argos defence, however, stepped up, forcing five turnovers.

"We've definitely got to get better," Bruce said, "There is always room for improvement. I think people in this locker room understand that."


Videos

Photos