Horror show for Argos

Blue Bombers' Clarence Denmark gets tackled by the Argonauts Lin-J Shell in Winnipeg last night....

Blue Bombers' Clarence Denmark gets tackled by the Argonauts Lin-J Shell in Winnipeg last night. Two late turnovers by the Argos sealed their fate. (Brian Donogh/QMI Agency)

Mike Ganter, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:20 PM ET

Just a guess here, but the Argos are going to be hearing a lot about self discipline and attention to detail this week during practice.

In a game that was there for the taking, the Argos inability to stay away from penalties cost them in a big way as they failed to take advantage of yet another strong defensive effort in a 22-16 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

It was that very ability a year ago, the discipline to stay on side and stay away from those needless penalties that was a big part of the Argos’ success as they went from a penalty prone team to the least penalized team in the CFL.

That wasn’t the case Friday night as some untimely penalties (a few off sides) and far too many dumb one’s after the whistle had already been blown helped the Bombers sustain some drives and extend others.

Neither side had much offensive consistency in the game, but the Argos handed the Bombers yards time and again in a game where every inch gained was precious.

An offside call on Andre Durie at the beginning of the second quarter took a 28-yard gain by Brandon Rideau off the board.

Midway through the third quarter newcomer Claude Wroten was whistled for a major foul costing his team 15 yards after Ricky Foley had limited Fred Reid to a two-yard gain.

Early in the fourth after the Argos had already taken down the Bombers ball carrier for a loss, Ejiro Kuale was flagged for face masking costing the Argos another 15 yards.

All told, the Argos were whistled for penalties 12 times for yards, a number which won’t sit well at all with head coach Jim Barker, who thought he had cleaned up those nasty tendencies in his first year.

And if the Argos weren’t giving yards away they were having trouble holding on to the ball. Whether it was Lemon or Cory Boyd or Chad Owens, all had their problems, none more costly than Owens fumble with a minute and a half to go and the Argos trailing by three points.

Owens hauled in a short pass from Lemon on the sidelines but as he danced around trying to make extra yardage, the ball popped loose and with it any chance the Argos had to tie the football game.

Winnipeg settled for a 23-yard field goal by Justin Palardy to give them a six-point lead but more importantly left the Argos with 52 seconds and needing a touchdown to win.

A long pass to Rideau might have been interference on the Winnipeg defender but the referees didn’t see it that way.

Another long one to Copeland didn’t have a chance. Copeland and Lemon redeemed themselves on the next play hooking up for a 19-yard gain on third down.

Lemon went back to Copleland again on the next pass but underthrew him.

With 20 seconds remaining a bad snap from centre put the ball back in Winnipeg’s hands who then held on for the 22-16 win.

For the second week in a row, the Argos offence was very slow to find its rhythm in the first half.

In fact, it was slower than Week 1 with the Argos unable to muster much of anything outside an opening drive field goal that was only made possible by a 45-yard reception by Jeremaine Copeland, who did his best impression of a juggler to make it happen.

Those 45 yards which came on the second play of the game accounted for almost half of Lemon’s passing yardage in the half. He finished the half with 94 yards passing although he did complete 10 of his 14 attempts.

Toronto eventually settled for a 21-year field goal from Noel Prefontaine.

Unfortunately for the Argos that was about the only offensive highlight of the half.

The Argos productive special teams unit that was eerily conservative in last week did revert to its 2010 just before the end of the first quarter when punter Prefontaine hit a wide open Evan McCollough for a 32-yard gain to give the Argos some momentum heading into the second quarter.

That momentum fizzled rather quickly when what appeared to be a huge 28-yard gain by Rideau was called back when Andre Durie jumped early erasing the play.

The Argos didn’t make another first down until there were three minutes left in the half.

Winnipeg meanwhile didn’t have that much more success offensively but a 29-yard return by Jovon Johnson set the Bombers up at the Argos 33-yard line.

Slotback Clarence Denmark carried the bulk of the load from there before Fred Reid went in from three yards out for the only major of the first half and gave the Bombers an 8-3 lead.

The Bombers would add one more field goal just before the half to take an eight point lead into halftime.


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