Argos shut out for first time in 17 seasons

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

MONTREAL -- Kerry Joseph and the Argonauts' offence put in one heck of a blankety-blank performance last night.

For the first time since in nearly 17 years, the Argos dragged themselves off the field with no points, losing 25-0 to the Montreal Alouettes at Percival Molson Stadium.

Not since Sept. 13, 1992, in a home game against the Calgary Stampeders that ended 31-0, had the Argos been shut out anywhere. It's believed to be the first zero in the CFL since 2005, when the Argos beat Hamilton 48-0.

The shut out was first for the Alouettes in 33 years. The last time they blanked an opponent, coincidentally, was 25-0 over Toronto in 1975.

"To get shut out in the CFL is virtually unheard of," offensive lineman Rob Murphy said. "It's embarrassing, especially the way the defence played. It's a shame."

And if head coach Bart Andrus has anything to do about it, Joseph is not going anywhere. Replaced by Cody Pickett to start the fourth quarter, Joseph completed seven of 14 passes for 61 yards and spent much of his night trapped in the pocket and getting drilled to the carpet by the Alouettes defence. Joseph was sacked five times, the Argos have scored two touchdowns in four games and, somewhere out there, Casey Printers must be wondering what he is doing sitting at home.

"It's not necessarily the guy pulling the trigger," Andrus said, underlining his faith in Joseph. "It's a lot of things. (The quarterbacks) are a part of it, yes, but when it comes down to it, ultimately I am responsible for the entire team."

Andrus said the decision to lift Joseph was because the 35-year-old hit his head when he was sacked in the third quarter, and did not want to risk losing Joseph for a couple of weeks with another hit.

Andrus' background is in offence but that knowledge has yet to be revealed. Double-dipping as the offensive co-ordinator, Andrus has watched the offence regress since the start of the season.

The Argos head into their game against the B.C. Lions on Friday night at the Rogers Centre with a plethora of problems when they have the ball.

Joseph is not being protected, receivers can't get open to save their lives and little ground is being gained with each rush. The Argos had 126 yards of total offence in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,202 and if that's not the bottom of the barrel, cover your eyes.

Moving Brian Ramsay to offensive tackle from guard to replace Jonta Woodard, with Jeff Keeping slipping in at Ramsay's spot at guard, did not help.

"It's a blocking situation that needs to be corrected," Andrus said. "There were individual battles that we lost. We're searching for answers in that area. We will continually explore other options. This is something we own as a team. We did not play very good."

The defence was sharp in the early going, but was exhausted by game's end. Avon Cobourne had two rushing touchdowns for East Division leaders Montreal, while Eric Wilson caught a TD pass from Adrian McPherson. Anthony Calvillo had 35 completions for 395 yards.

From seven turnovers last week against Winnipeg, the Argos committed three, and two of those were on downs.

Joseph couldn't remember being shut out in any football game at any level.

"It's frustrating," Joseph said. "We have too much talent to be getting beat like we are. But those guys get paid and they came to play."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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