Argos tackling dummies

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Casey Printers? Jesse Lumsden? Who needs 'em?

Certainly not the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last night. The Tabbies might even want to lobby the CFL to have a couple of more games against the Argos tacked on to their 2008 regular season schedule.

The Ticats, behind the arm of quarterback Richie Williams, stunned the Argos 45-21 before an announced crowd of 19,423 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

The Argos fell to 3-4 and, in doing so, regressed from a fine defensive outing against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers a week earlier. Toronto had won its four previous visits to Steeltown but now remains the only team to lose to Hamilton this season, and it has happened twice.

What is troubling for the Argos is that there has been no continuity from one game to the next. Strong performances are not followed by another. Yes, there is plenty of football to play, but that doesn't mean the Argos will find their way out of the woods.

Tackling, or the major lack thereof, gnawed at head coach Rich Stubler last night. His defence was a step behind and couldn't contain Terry Caulley, who started in Lumsden's place and ran for 127 yards on 14 carries.

"It was horrible," Stubler said. "I can't tell you how bad it was. When the defensive scheme allows you to have a free player at the football and we can't tackle him ... it's not (NFL legend) Jim Brown.

"That probably was the worst game we played since one in Calgary (in 2004). We're at the end of three games in 11 days and we are feeling sorry for ourselves. But we had better not any more. We could not make a tackle. It was embarrassing."

Michael Fletcher and Willie Pile were among those who were lunging at air as Ticats ball-carriers streamed past. But no one on the Argos defence, which is not so vaunted any more, was good.

"It does not get much worse than that," defensive tackle Adriano Belli said. "But I know there is nobody on this defence that does not try their hardest."

The humiliation for the Argos was hammered home in the fourth quarter when Williams hit Chris Bauman, who stepped around Pile, for a 63-yard touchdown.

The lone uplifting part of the Argos' game was the performance by fourth-string quarterback Reggie McNeal, who became the first Toronto QB since Danny Barrett in the 1988 East final to dress as a receiver. McNeal, described a day earlier by Stubler as the best athlete on the roster, caught six balls for 101 yards to lead Argos receivers.

"Stats don't mean much if you don't come out with the victory," McNeal said. "I had a blast -- outside of us losing."

Stubler said he was "tempted" to put QB Michael Bishop into the game when it was out of reach to replace Kerry Joseph, but he did not.

Joseph threw for just more than 300 yards, but with two interceptions and no TDs.

Jamal Robertson and Dominique Dorsey each had a rushing touchdown in the first half for the Boatmen.

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ARGOS REPLAY

PLAY OF THE GAME

Tiger-Cats linebacker Markeith Knowlton snared a Kerry Joseph pass in the third quarter and returned it 45 yards untouched for a Hamilton touchdown.

JULY'S BEST

Argos RB/KR Dominique Dorsey yesterday was named CFL special teams player for July. Dorsey, who also captured the award for September last year, had 665 return yards.

WEATHER THIS

The field and stands at Ivor Wynne were cleared of players and fans, respectively, about 50 minutes before kickoff as a hail storm moved through. The storm warning was lifted about 20 minutes later.

DROUGHT OVER

Jamal Robertson's one-yard touchdown plunge in the first quarter was the Argos' first offensive touchdown since the loss in Saskatchewan on July 27, covering a span of seven quarters.


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