Argos Losing Streak Ends Against Ticats

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 20, 2016: Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Shawn Lemon (40) jumps on Toronto Argonauts defensive tackle Bryan Hall (4) after Hall sacked the Eskimos quarterback during the second half against the Edmonton Eskimos at BMO Field on August 20, 2016. Final score was 46-23 for Edmonton. (Andrew Lahodynskyj/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto Argonauts needed a short memory after their dramatic Labour Day loss to their arch rivals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The 49-36 loss hurt the Argos more than in the standings. Before the rematch game at BMO Field it was determined that Argos starting quarterback Ricky Ray wouldn’t be available to play after suffering a deflated lung. In his place head coach Scott Milanovich turned to veteran quarterback Dan LeFevour to lead the Argos to victory. By the final horn, the Toronto players and coaches were all smiles as they snapped the four game Argos losing streak.

Argos Losing Streak Ends Against Ticats

LeFevour full of Options

Toronto got off to a great start with new new starter LeFevour. On the opening drive LeFevour, with the aid of Brandon Whitaker, chewed up yardage on their way to a 7-0 lead. The opening drive went 71 yards in seven plays, capped off by a great touchdown reception from receiver Tori Gurley.

Ticats come back again…

Although Toronto stormed out to a 13-0 lead, fate was a cruel mistress for Toronto. The lead was erased by the Tiger-Cats before the half closed. Toronto would go to the locker room at halftime down 20-16 after losing the lead they had built again.

Second Half Dominance from Toronto

The Argonauts came out firing to open the second half. Opening with a kickoff return reverse, the Argos played their cards and cashed in, with a deep pitch and catch between LeFevour and Gurley. Gurley outmuscled the defender to grab the contested ball, moving the chains for Toronto.

And on the next play…

Whitaker was a constant headache for Hamilton. The running back was able to wear down the Hamilton defence, opening up some big passes for his receivers. LeFevour used a variety of option plays to move the ball on Hamilton. After serving as the short-yardage specialist in previous weeks, the quarterback showed great poise executing the offence. The Argonauts quarterback distributed the ball across all of his receivers.

Post-game, head coach Scott Milanovich reflected on his experience with the veteran quarterback.

“I still don’t know Dan that well. I’d seen cutups of every play he’s done in the CFL and veterans have a lot more opinions than young guys. We asked him what he liked and didn’t like and we adjusted based on his feedback. Prior to this week, he had zero reps in our offence, so we let him read things within our system the way he was comfortable with,” said Milanovich at his post-game press conference.

Two Games, Two Blocked Punts

The Argos had just retaken the lead when they forced Hamilton to punt away after another failed offensive drive. The momentum had been back and forth at that point all throughout the game when Justin Hickman made the play that sent the momentum the Argos’ way for good. Hickman blocked the punt and two plays later Whitaker was walking into the end zone for a six-yard touchdown to extend the Boatmen’s lead.

“I came free and was able to get there in time to make the block. We just executed, we practice it all week, and did we our jobs today,” said Hickman after the game.

Collaros: Nowhere to Hide

Zach Collaros wouldn’t be able to solve the Argos defence the week after putting up 49 points on the boatmen a week ago. The aggressive defence was in his face the entire game. Going into the fourth quarter Hamilton’s quarterback had completed fewer than 40% of his passes and was hit many times by the Argos front seven, forcing incompletions and interceptions.

When Hamilton finally gained some offensive momentum, the Argos defence shut the door, bending but never breaking during the game. The final straw came when Collaros fumbled the ball Shawn Lemon hit the quarterbacks throwing hand in a pass rush with 1:53 remaining in the game. The ball was recovered in the air by Daryl Waud, sealing the game for Toronto’s second win at BMO in front of the 17,214 spectators.

After the game, Waud was still humble about his massive contribution to the win. “That play was all (Lemon), I was just in the right place at the right time. He got to him and knocked the ball loose and I was aware enough that the ball was up in the air to grab it,” said Waud.

Moving Forward

The Argos will fly out to Winnipeg for their first long travel game in over a month. After beating the the Tiger-Cats, the Argos announced that they traded for Winnipeg’s former starting quarterback, Drew Willy. The Argos sent T.J. Heath and two draft picks to Winnipeg to acquire the quarterback.

The Argos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers have created some very interesting story lines with this move ahead of their next game.

 

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