Argos starting to see Grey

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

When you are playing on a 2-6 football team, as the Argonauts were not so many weeks ago, even the inspirational words of Mike (Pinball) Clemons can lose some impact.

The Argos coach admitted as much last night after his team won its fourth in a row, a 35-17 smashing of the Montreal Alouettes.

He made the pitch anyway, hoping the veterans would buy in yet again, remembering that the CFL in July rarely resembles that of October.

Now at 8-7 and in sole possession of second place in the CFL East, suddenly playing host to the Grey Cup in their own building doesn't seem such a reach.

COMPLETE GAME

In front of a Rogers Centre crowd of 31,416, the Argos had their most complete game of the season, dominating on defence while adding some elusive offensive punch.

A win over the Als next Saturday at Montreal's Olympic Stadium would be enough to clinch second spot in the East and a guaranteed home playoff date.

"At 2-6 and standing in that room, we talked about staying together and understanding the Cup is in this city and how we need to do everything we can to get there," Clemons said after his team won for the sixth time in seven games.

"I'm not sure every guy in that room believed, but there were certainly enough that believed."

The gradual awakening of the offence is clearly the most encouraging development for a Boatmen crew that had perhaps grown tired of having a stifling defence and little else.

But now with the running of Robert Edwards and the maturation of quarterback Michael Bishop -- now 8-1 as a starter -- the Argos believe the best is yet to come.

"I've always had faith in our offence and in particular in Michael Bishop," said veteran receiver Michael Talbot, who equalled a career-high 122 receiving yards last night on six receptions.

"We haven't peaked yet, we are just getting there. The more our offensive co-ordinators have faith in (Bishop) that he can control a game, the better we can be and the more the offence and defence are going to play off each other."

The two units certainly did that last night.

As has become expected, the defence put up their own points scoring two touchdowns while putting a second-half licking on Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo.

The first score came on a 71-yard fumble return by Khalil Carter late in the third quarter then Byron Parker sealed things in the fourth with a 58-yard interception return.

But the offence had its plays too. There was a 70-yard Talbot catch to set up one score and a 67-yard Edwards run leading to another.

And for good measure, Bishop found Tony Miles on a 30-yard touchdown strike that had the Als defence on its heals.

Now in his seventh year with the Argos, Talbot said he could see that some of the younger players weren't immediately buying into Clemons speech.

"They may have doubted what it takes to be a champion and that in an 18-game season a lot of things can happen," Talbot said. "The bottom line is we have the best athletes in the CFLand we can change a game and take control."


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