TORONTO - There are more than 10 years in age and more than 67,000 passing yards separating the great Anthony Calvillo and the forever emerging Steven Jyles.
And on a record breaking afternoon at Molson Stadium, the difference between the record breaking quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes and his Toronto Argonauts learning-on-the-job counterpart seemed more extreme than a 29-19 victory by the Grey Cup champions.
Even on a day where his timing was off, his team was off, the Argos defence played very well for three quarters, Calvillo had a presence about him, a way in which he carries himself and conducts the offence. He wasnít doing the singing as much as he was conducting the orchestra.
And his presence is forever commanding.
Thatís where he differs from Damon Allen, whose record he surpassed on an emotional Thanksgiving Monday. Thatís the part of the game the athletic, strong-armed, Jyles ó on his fourth CFL team, no kid at the age of 29 ó seems to lack. General manager and coach Jim Barker, running out of time in one or maybe both of those jobs, has put his stock in Jyles for now because he has no one else to put his stock in.
This would be nice if Jyles was a youngster, at the beginning of his learning curve, not making the mistakes now he made a year ago in Winnipeg and probably before that when he didnít play at all in Saskatchewan or Edmonton. Calvillo, himself, began as a retread of sorts. He threw for the Las Vegas Posse ó remember them, the team that practised in the parking lot ó moved on to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where he kicked around for three unsuccessful seasons, was let go by coach Ron Lancaster, a legend himself. But hereís the difference: He was 25 when he left Hamilton for Montreal as a free agent.
Jyles is closing in on 30 and making kid mistakes like he made against the Als on Monday.
He holds the ball too long going back to pass and doesnít read the clock or the play very well. He was sacked five times, including once in the end zone, and on at least three of them didnít have the presence in the pocket to throw the ball away.
The safety began the undermining of the Argos on what started out as a pretty good day for the troubled team. They were beating the Als into the third quarter ó but the two-points and Calvilloís eventual record-breaking touchdown throw to Jamel Richardson changed the game and ended the Argos afternoon.
It wasnít all about quarterbacks in Montreal but it sure seemed like it.
The eventual record-setting pass, pushing Calvillo past Allen on the all-time list, stopped the game for obvious reasons. The ceremony was touching, emotional, brilliant and so not CFL. The game truly could have ended there for the Argos. They didnít offer up much post-ceremony. The day began as Calvilloís to win, and ended with wonderful emotion.
As for the Argos, well, itís another loss in a season going nowhere. A little good. A little bad. And a chance for the most successful passer in the history of the league to take a bow. All quarterbacks could learn a thing or two watching Calvillo: The question with Jyles is, does he have the time, the inclination and the composure to do so?
THE NUMBERS GAME
On what wasnít his most dominant game of the season, Calvillo still threw for 305 yards and a touchdown, and still completed 26 of 38 passes. Jyles completed 21 passes for 223 yards and no touchdowns. There is no doubt he is better than Cleo Lemon, his predecessor. The question is: How much better? ... In this waste of an Argos season, no player is being more under-utilized than running back Cory Boyd. You can make a pretty good argument that Boyd is the best running back in the CFL. But you canít make it statistically. Against the Als, he carried seven times for 27 yards and caught three passes for 24. In all, the ball was in his hands for 10 plays and 51 yards. By comparison, Brandon Whitaker of the Als, who is not of Boydís calibre, rushed for 126 yards on 17 carries and caught five passes for 43 yards: He accounted for 169 yards of Montrealís offence. Wonder how many yards Boyd would end up with on an offence that chose to utilize his talents ... Calvillo passed Allen in his 300th CFL game, and in 70 fewer starts. Calvillo, and probably no quarterback ever, will rush for 11,920 yards, a certain that is certain never to be broken. Thatís more yards than O.J. Simpson ran for in his NFL career.
MORE NUMBERS AND STUFF
The Argos have lost seven straight games on the road after opening the season with an impressive win in Calgary ... An area the Argos need to upgrade: Import receivers. Brandon Rideau seems far too average to use up an import spot on a CFL team and the once-great Jeremaine Copeland, frustrated by the lack of balls being thrown his way, again had an ordinary day numbers wise. With Copeland, itís clear the end is near, but what isnít clear is: How near? He could probably be an excellent possession receiver if the Argos had a game breaker of some kind ... The one game breaker the Argos have is Chad Owens, who made a terrific play on the Argos only touchdown, a punt return. A year ago, the word around the CFL was to beat the Argos, you had to stop Owens and Boyd. The Als didnít stop Owens yesterday and the Argos basically stopped Boyd themselves. Makes it easy for the opponents under those circumstances