Alouettes stomp all over Argos

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:29 PM ET

The quarterbacks can't hit their receivers and, when they do, there's no guarantee the receivers will hold on to the football.

The Argonauts offence, long past the day that it should have solidified, continues to be the drag on a club that is at the bottom of the Canadian Football League and on its way to a second consecutive year of missing the playoffs.

"We're not stepping up and making plays," Argos head coach Bart Andrus said yesterday after the Argos lost 27-8 to the Montreal Alouettes at the Rogers Centre. "Guys are in position to make a play and either we miss completely on a pass, or we complete the ball and it was dropped.

"You can't consistently function as an offence until you get better at those kind of things. There are a lot of things we need to correct, a lot of things wrong, and I am talking about the entire offence."

DOESN'T WASH

What's troubling is that both Argos quarterbacks -- Cody Pickett, in his seventh middling start in a row, and Kerry Joseph, who relieved Pickett to start the second half -- struggled against the Alouettes. Yes, Montreal has the best defence in the league, and yes, injuries have damaged the Argos receiving corps, but those reasons for inability to click don't totally wash.

Pickett has had more than enough time to demonstrate he can be the guy to take the Argos to another level. Joseph mostly has become the forgotten man, though he could start Saturday against the Roughriders in Saskatchewan. Anything is possible.

In the off-season, Argos management has to make finding an effective quarterback its top priority.

It must be painful to the organization as a whole that the team's defence is strong and, if there was something approaching a productive offence, its record would not be 3-10. When the offence seemingly is built around short passes to running back Jamal Robertson, a lot of points won't be the result.

Consider that Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who routinely rips up the opposition and looks like he will lead his team to a Grey Cup appearance, was held to producing one offensive touchdown. That came in the first quarter when Jamel Richardson caught a 10-yard pass. Otherwise, the Toronto defence held the Alouettes to four field goals by Damon Duval. Montreal also scored a major when Joseph fumbled and linebacker Chip Cox rumbled 61 yards to the end zone.

"The frustrating part is just the loss, regardless of what we do on defence," linebacker Willie Pile said.

"It all works hand-in-hand. We have to make more plays to get their offence off the field."

Pile was just being a team guy. The defence did its job.

Joseph, rather than take part in the customary friendly greetings with members of the opposing team at the final gun, turned and ran off the field.

Hard to blame him for being frustrated.

"Wouldn't you be angry too?" Joseph said. "We are sticking together as a team. We missed some throws, but any quarterback that plays this game is going to miss throws. If a receiver drops the ball, we just keep working together. That's all we can do. We're not perfect."

Robertson had the Argos touchdown, which came on an eight-yard run in the third quarter.

The win, combined with the Tiger-Cats' loss in Calgary last night, allowed the Alouettes to clinch first place in the East Division standings.

Though several hundred Alouettes fans were in the stands, the majority were Argos-backers.

Toronto has lost eight of nine and is 3-18 since Rich Stubler was fired 13 months ago and replaced by Don Matthews.

Argos fans deserve better than what they're watching when they get to their seats at the Rogers Centre.

For them, thankfully, there are just three home games left of the five remaining in the regular season.

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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