It's just bad football

Steve Simmons, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

If the best of David Braley’s two teams in the Canadian Football League could be turned into one, he might come up with one roster of football consequence.

But for now, he muddles on with the very average B.C. Lions at 3-6 and the terrible Toronto Argonauts at 2-7 and not getting better.

Last night’s dreadful match between two of the league’s worst teams was a dreary exhibition of football, lacking just about everything you’d want in a CFL game — except from the Toronto side, a return to last year’s form by Chad Owens.

That aside, the second smallest crowd of the CFL season saw a game deserving of the tiny numbers.

Especially from the home team, which can’t live up to its own hype and radio commercials.

The Argos started with Cleo Lemon at quarterback, who was pulled after producing no first-half offence. They switched to Dalton Bell, who produced all kinds of second-half offence, especially for the Lions.

If coach Jim Barker doesn’t trust Lemon, why should we? He won’t let him open up the offence. He won’t let him throw downfield. It’s play-not-to-lose football rather than play to win.

Then Bell came in for the second half and went 4-for-13 for 31 yards and four interceptions. In all, the Argos had a woeful 86 yards passing. In a league built for passing?

Of Braley’s two teams, at least Travis Lulay kind of looks like a quarterback. Not necessarily a conventional quarterback, but a QB nonetheless. The Lions have the QB. The Argos have the running back in Cory Boyd. The Lions have the receivers.

And if you picked the 12 best defensive players on both teams, which would include Argos’ Claude Wroten and Ricky Foley and the Lions’ superb linebacker, Solomon Elimimian, you might have a special defence.

Instead, you have two teams that won’t really be competitive this year with anyone. The Lions are better than the Argos, which frankly, doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything.

WHY WE LOVE TWITTER

Argos all-star offensive tackle Rob Murphy was injured last night but tweeted about his health in the second half of the game. “For being the most hated player in this league for the last 6 years, I’m sure feeling love of twitter, text and bbm...” wrote Murphy, who then updated his own injury, not by sending out his own MRI but by informing: “All I can say is, it’s serious.”

THIS AND THAT

The Argos had the ball nine times in the first half, and managed just four first downs. They punted six times, and tried three field goals, making two. Exciting and entertaining they were not ... Owens, who has been rather quiet all season long, finally had a coming-out party against the Lions. He had a 62-yard kickoff return in the first half, looked dangerous on punt returns and then broke a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half. In all, he had an Argos-record 245 yards in kickoff returns, and he might have broken the league record had the Argos defence not stopped the Lions on a late third-down gamble. This was the Owens the Argos have been waiting all season for .... The local kid, Akeem Foster, has turned into a dangerous receiver for the B.C. Lions. Not only do the Lions have the veteran legends in Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce at receiver, but they also have Foster and emerging Canadian star Shawn Gore. With that group of receivers, they really should have no trouble throwing the ball. Foster, from Ajax, caught eight balls for 144 yards, which is almost twice the number of Argos passing yards ... Lemon ended the first half 11-for-15 passes, which looks even more impressive when you consider he had three passes dropped. Not impressive: Lemon had only 57 yards throwing and didn’t return for the second half ... Not dressed for the Lions last night: The ex-Argo Jamal Robertson ... Yes, in case you noticed, that was Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, in Braley’s box ... What’s with not getting the ball to Boyd? I mean, you have one of the few stud backs in the CFL and you don’t try and grind it out with him? The Argos used Boyd as a decoy most of the first half — he had just four carries for 21 yards — but who else on their roster is making five yards a play? Boyd is a beast: Not finding a way to utilize him is a waste ... The Argos have been looking for big-time turnovers all year and they got one against the Lions when Wroten made Lulay fumble and Foley recovered against his ex-teammates. But the Argos managed to get no points off the turnover after a missed field goal was ran out of the end zone. In the second half, when Bell turned the ball over twice on aimless interceptions, B.C. quickly converted with a touchdown and a field goal ... Best move last night: Opening the roof.

ATTENDANCE WOES

The paid attendance was 19,593, which represents the second smallest crowd in the CFL this season. The Argos, in the largest market in the country, have the four smallest crowds in the league, in each of their home games. The smallest crowd of the season: 19,204 versus Montreal.


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