Boyd not enough as Argos lose again

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Dalton Bell is sacked by Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman...

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Dalton Bell is sacked by Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman Keith Shologan during the second half of Saturday's game. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:28 PM ET

A stunning season from Argonauts rookie Cory Boyd slowly is going to waste.

On Saturday, Boyd became the fastest player in team history — and we’re talking about an organization that is celebrating its 137th anniversary in 2010 — to reach 1,000 yards rushing, hitting the milestone in just 11 games.

But with a new quarterback in Dalton Bell, the result was not much different than what happened in the previous five weeks. Another Argos loss, another setback with an offence that can’t execute once it gets to within 20 yards of the opponent’s end zone.

Consider that of Justin Medlock’s three field goals in a 27-16 loss at the Rogers Centre against the Saskatchewan Roughriders before a crowd of 23,873, one was from 15 yards and another from 18.

“You don’t want any field goals once you get inside the 20,” Argos slotback Jeremaine Copeland said. “You want to put some points on the board for real. You can’t win with field goals in this league, especially against a team like Saskatchewan. We have to start scoring touchdowns.”

The Argos will get another shot at the Roughriders, who they have not beaten since 2007, in six days in Regina. But what adjustments, really, can the offence make so quickly? It’s six games now that the Argos have not scored 18 points. Is there some kind of magic that Bell, or Cleo Lemon, if he has recovered from a concussion (which is doubtful), can pull out of a hat?

And will the defence devise a solution for Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant, who passed for 310 yards (29-for-37) and rushed for 47 more?

Bell’s first performance as a starter in the Canadian Football League was not awe-inspiring. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 153 yards. But he did not throw an interception and was responsible for just a single turnover, fumbling the football when he was crushed by Keith Shologan in the fourth quarter.

Soon after, Luca Congi kicked a 22-yard field goal, further ensuring that the ’Riders clinched a playoff spot.

On the Argos’ opening drive, Bell did something Lemon had not done in the previous 12 games: Get the Boatmen to the end zone for a touchdown. Boyd had a 49-yard run, the Argos’ longest of the season, and Bell capped the march with a 12-yard run.

But on successive plays from the visitors’ 11-yard line in the second quarter, Bell threw incompletions. On one, either Reggie McNeal ran the wrong route or the ball was thrown to the wrong spot. During another drive that fizzled, Bell threw an incomplete pass to James Robinson from the eight-yard line.

“Saskatchewan had a good defence and they had some answers that we did not fully adjust to,” Bell said. “I missed a couple of throws down the field. I felt like we had a good game plan.”

The Argos fell to 6-7 and have lost five of their past six. They’re still in a battle for second place in the East Division with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, mostly because the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have struggled.

Head coach Jim Barker figured a holding call against Cedric Gagne-Marcoux that snuffed out a 23-yard reception by Copeland in the third quarter was a turning point, but there’s no guarantee the Argos would have gone down the field and scored a touchdown had the penalty not happened.

Amongst it all was Boyd’s 145-yard game on 20 rushes. He was back with a vengeance after missing two games with a concussion, and has 1,048 yards on the ground, becoming the third-youngest Argo to reach 1,000.

“I found myself just thinking a lot about what has been going on,” said Boyd, who attended the funeral of close friend Kenny McKinley on Monday. “My teammates just kept me in it with their determination. It felt good to be out there.”


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