That's not the way to keep fans coming back for more.
Playing before their largest home-opening crowd in 16 years, the Argos were horrible in all facets last night in a stunning loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Point fingers everywhere in the Argos locker room -- this horrible stench emanated from all corners.
The offence and defence conspired to lay a giant egg before 30,822 at the Rogers Centre, leading to a 32-13 loss to Jesse Lumsden and the Ticats. Lumsden rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns, eating the Argos defenders alive each time he carried the ball.
And as Argos head coach Rich Stubler continued to insist there was no quarterbacking controversy, he was right in one sense. Kerry Joseph went the distance for Toronto, which meant no one will ever know how Michael Bishop, who spent most of the evening brooding at one far end of the bench, would have performed.
"I can tell you we do not have a very good offence right now regardless of who is running it," said Stubler, whose club didn't heed its own words about not taking the Tiger-Cats lightly. "We are going to make some changes to make that happen. We are just not very good on that side of the ball right now. Kerry Joseph is not totally responsible."
The Argos fell to 1-1 and have not started a regular season with consecutive victories since 1997. The Ticats broke an 0-10 road skid and won for the first time in Toronto since 2001. Lastly, the Argos had an eight-game winning streak, the third-longest in team history, end.
The Argos got a clear indication of how their night was going to unfold when Arland Bruce and Dominique Dorsey missed catchable throws on the team's first possession. Toronto lost arguably its best receiver, Bethel Johnson, to a right leg sprain, but Stubler expected that Johnson will play next week in Edmonton.
Joseph actually showed improvement in the second half, when he was given the green light to start calling more plays. The 2007 CFL most outstanding player completed 12 of 17 passes, and one strong Argos drive was snuffed when Bruce fumbled at the Ticats 40-yard line and Hamilton recovered. Joseph rolled out more and had more creativity, but it was not nearly enough.
"In the second half we moved the ball, the first half we sputtered," Joseph said. "When you call it as a quarterback, you know what you are comfortable with. But regardless of who calls them, we have to make the plays when they are there."
The defence, which has propped up the Argos more often than not, allowed a total of 309 yards rushing. Ticats quarterback Casey Printers also ran for two scores. In no game in 2007 did the Argos give up more than 173 yards rushing. The frustration boiled over late in the third quarter when defensive tackle Adriano Belli was ejected for punching a Tiger-Cat.
"They ran the ball down our throat," safety Orlondo Steinauer said. "Every team misses tackles, but we missed way too many to play championship football. It was poor."
Lumsden, naturally, loved it.
"It's a huge victory," Lumsden said. "No one expected us to come out like that. Toronto does not give up big plays. You have to nickel and dime them and maintain drives. That's what we did."
Watching all this was Bishop, who reportedly thought at one point this week that he was going to be the starter. If Stubler sticks to his promise of changes on offence, it's inconceivable that Bishop won't get on the field in Week 3.
"I thought I had an opportunity but it turned out that I didn't," Bishop said. "I just have to focus on next week."
So much for a 2-0 start. The Argos lost badly to a team they were supposed to beat badly, with quarterback Kerry Joseph taking all of the snaps. Not good.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Ticats' Jesse Lumsden led CFL running backs in 2007 with an average of 7.6 yards per carry, and in the opening 30 minutes he was dominant. Lumsden rumbled for 86 yards on 10 carries, giving him an average of 8.6 yards each time he touched the ball.
Dominique Dorsey might be among the smallest players in the game but he continues to come up big for the Argos. He returned a missed field goal by Nick Setta 63 yards in the first quarter and would have been gone for a touchdown had he not been tackled by Zeke Moreno.
Argos cornerback Willie Middlebrooks, the CFL defensive player of the week for Week 1, was a late scratch with a minor foot injury. Wayne Shaw started in his place. The Argos lost defensive end Adriano Belli in the third quarter when he punched a Tiger-Cat and was tossed.
Mike Vanderjagt, who missed three field goals last week, practised the past few days on the artificial turf at St. Marcellinus Secondary in Mississauga and it paid off. Vanderjagt made both field-goal attempts, from 50 and 27 yards respectively.