Defeat shakes up Argos

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

The Argos didn't think they needed an alarm clock to signal that the playoffs were coming, but they got it yesterday.

In the wake of Friday's miserable 13-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the coaching staff cancelled a scheduled day off.

Instead, players were required to show up to the practice facility in Mississauga to review what went wrong in a game in which they could have secured a home playoff date.

"We had a (crap) week in practice and this is what happens when you don't prepare," receiver Andre Talbot said following the loss. "It does have repercussions.

"I think maybe guys were looking beyond this game and getting overconfident. Sometimes we tend to think we are better than we are, but offensively we're not that good."

It certainly looked that way Friday when the Argos couldn't score a touchdown and were held to just 11 first downs.

If there was consolation, it came yesterday when the Montreal Alouettes were dumped 30-20 by Edmonton.

That defeat set up a showdown for first in the CFL East this Saturday at the Rogers Centre. With a win or a tie, the Argos would secure that spot and a first-round bye.

FRUSTRATION

Several Argos veterans were troubled by the team's effort Friday and, more specifically, the days leading up to it.

Quarterback Damon Allen expressed his frustration at the lack of focus in practice while veteran linebacker Michael Fletcher went a step further.

"I'd like to see everybody as a whole step up," Fletcher said.

"Get over there (to practice) early and stay after. This is your job, this is what you do for a living. Put in that extra time, extra work and make yourself more successful."

While it is clear the defence has been carrying this team to a 10-7 record, it can only do so much. Most weeks, holding an opponent to 13 points means a win in the CFL.

But Allen struggled Friday after being faced with too many second and long situations. That was set up by the inept running game of Ricky Williams and John Avery, who have combined for a meager 107 yards between them the past two games.

"We never did get into rhythm," Allen said.

"You can't win ball games when you are in second and long the majority of the game."

Another concern is the health of kicker Noel Prefontaine, who has now missed four of his past six field goal attempts. The veteran special teams leader played on Friday while nursing ankle and knee injuries to his non-kicking leg.

Still, if there was a good time to lay a stinker, Friday was the last chance for that.

"The reality is that we've got one game on our home field against Montreal with a chance to win the division," coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons said. "If you would have told us that 10 weeks ago, we would have taken it.

"We feel good about a game of this magnitude. That's the way it should be -- kudos to the schedule maker."


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