Argos paying for sins

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

MONTREAL — The Argonauts accomplished a first in the 2010 regular season on Thursday night, but head coach Jim Barker was not pleased about it.

In four games before they were blown out by the Montreal Alouettes at Molson Stadium, the Argos had not reached double digits in penalties.

That changed against the Als, when the Argos were flagged 10 times for 80 yards.

“The crowd was a factor, and we had a couple of offsides,” Barker said.

“Penalties hurt us, and we had a key turnover, and against a team like that you can’t do that and have a chance to win.”

The capacity gathering of 25,012 indeed was loud, but it wasn’t the reason that Ejiro Kuale roughed up Als punter Damon Duval to keep a Montreal drive alive, and it didn’t cause centre Dominic Picard to pick up 20 yards in penalties for face-masking and unnecessary roughness after the Alouettes recovered a Chad Owens fumble.

On their only touchdown drive, a 17-play, 77-yard march that chewed up seven minutes 46 seconds of the first quarter, the Argos managed to get to the end zone despite taking four penalties.

In short, the discipline that Barker got out of his players through the first four weeks went by the wayside against the best team in the Canadian Football League. Not good.

Still, it’s a far cry from a year ago, when the Argos were flagged 215 times, the second-most in team history.

Through five games in 2009, the Argos had taken 63 penalties. This year, the number is 35.

“We had them where we wanted them at halftime (Montreal was ahead 17-10), and then they just poured it on,” Argos offensive tackle Rob Murphy said.

“Stupid penalties, stupid turnovers (though the Argos had just one). You see the end result.”


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