It was almost as if Argonauts quarterback Michael Bishop was sending a message to his Tiger-Cats counterpart, Casey Printers.
And perhaps to the Argos' braintrust, as well.
Starting his second consecutive game against the Hamilton Ticats since returning from a broken wrist, Bishop threw for 261 yards and two TDs over three quarters yesterday, guiding the Argos to a 35-22 victory. Printers, Hamilton's newly signed million-dollar QB, could only watch from the Rogers Centre sidelines.
The Argos had expressed interest in Printers' services last week, but the CFL's most outstanding player in 2004 was snatched up by the Tabbies. There were suggestions that Bishop may have taken Toronto's interest in Printers as a slap in the face. But Bishop insisted yesterday that was not the case, adding that the only message he was sending out was to his teammates was: "The sky is the limit. We can only go up," he said.
In the end, the win improved the Argos' record to 4-6, while the Ticats dropped to 1-9. And, more importantly, there is a sense in the Toronto locker room that the team is on a definite rise.
"We're going to follow Michael Bishop all the way to the Grey Cup," said Argos defensive back Khalil Carter, who ran back an interception 82 yards for Toronto's final touchdown.
With Printers not yet ready to call the plays for the Tabbies, Hamilton head coach Charlie Taaffe started rookie Timmy Chang for the second week in a row. And for the second consecutive game, Chang failed to get any offence going, tossing four interceptions, and managing only 75 yards through the air on 10-for-22 passing.
By the end of the third quarter, Taaffe had replaced Chang with third-stringer Richie Williams, who marched the Ticats to a couple of late touchdowns.
The home side's margin of victory could have been more, if not for the fact that Toronto failed to convert on a couple of chances from inside the Hamilton 10-yard line.
"We did leave some plays on the field," head coach Michael Clemons said. "But we did play well enough to win and I guess, ultimately, that's what's most important."
One of the highlights for the Argos was a 55-yard, second-quarter pass from Bishop to Frank Murphy, who caught the ball while falling, a play that brought the 28,279 spectators to their feet. On the next play, Bishop hit Patrick Johnson for an eight-yard TD and 15-2 lead.
The Argos had jumped ahead 7-2 eight minutes into the first quarter when Bishop found Jamall Broussard in the middle in the end zone, for a 17-yard completion. It was Broussard's first career TD reception in the CFL, capping an 81-yard drive.
Byron Parker pulled in two interceptions for the Boatmen, while Michael Fletcher and Carter each had one. The Argos now have 14 interceptions on the season, tying B.C. for the CFL lead.
Even without rookie running back Jesse Lumsden, who missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury, the Ticats rushed for 173 yards, 80 of them from. Anthony Davis.