The Toronto Argonauts were riding a high wave of momentum going into Week 12. But the Montreal Alouettes took the wind out of the Boatmen’s sails by outclassing them 37-16 on Friday night.
The loss itself isn’t what’s troublesome for Toronto. After all, the Als’ have now won four straight games. What’s most troubling is how the Argos lost. This was their worst performance of the season.
Going into the game, the biggest concern with the Argos was not a letdown. Because the team knew what the stakes were against Montreal. Friday’s loss wasn’t a case of Toronto coming out flat on the road, digging themselves a hole early and not being able to crawl out. The Boatmen did have a 10-7 lead deep into the second quarter.
The real issue is that despite having plenty of rest, and nearly two weeks to prepare. The Argonauts were outcoached and outplayed by the Alouettes. And in some respects, Toronto was dominated by Montreal.
The Alouettes felt that their week eight loss against the Argos was due to them shooting themselves in the foot. It was a game in which they generated 560 total yards of offence against Toronto. So when the rematch rolled around, Montreal felt that they could beat Toronto if they didn’t beat themselves. That’s exactly what happened.
So, where do we go from here? The Alouettes and Argos’ are now tied for first in the East with four weeks remaining in the regular season. The Tiger-Cats are not too far behind, lurking in the shadows. Hamilton is hoping that they can sneak into the fray and take the East. They get to play the Argonauts in a few weeks.
Toronto had a chance to create separation and lay claim to the division. But that scenario is now out the window—no more smooth sailing for the Boatmen. The ride potentially back to the playoffs is going to be a turbulent one.
Before we move forward to Week 13 and a critical bounce-back spot for Toronto at home against BC, let’s look back at how the team graded out by position in Montreal.
Week 12 Toronto Argonauts Report Card
Toronto Argonauts Coaching
You know where this is going. Rough week all around for the Argos coaching staff.
On offense, the team had no answers for Montreal’s pass rush. Toronto had very few explosive plays in their passing game. The Argos also struggled to move the football on the ground.
For whatever reason, Ryan Dinwiddie didn’t challenge Eugene Lewis’s blatant offensive pass interference on Treston Decoud in the end zone when Lewis pulled Decoud to the ground by his hair before catching a 33-yard touchdown that gave the Alouettes their first lead of the game.
Dinwiddie, after the game, said that he didn’t have a quick enough opportunity to throw a challenge on the play. Regardless, Dinwiddie and his staff failed in not challenging the play. You can’t rely on replays on the road in the stadium to save you. There is no risk involved in losing your only coach’s challenge in the half at that point.
Defensively, Chris Jones and his unit fell short again against Montreal. The Argos knew Stanback was coming for them, and they had no answers for him. The Argos defence gave up nearly two hundred yards rushing in their first meeting last month. And they made no adjustments in the rematch, and they were dominated again by Montreal.
The Argos coaching staff had nearly two weeks to prepare for this game, and they came up short. No dancing around it.
The stat line looks pitiful for McLeod Bethel-Thompson. 25/40, 290 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions. But it wasn’t entirely his fault in this game. Bethel-Thompson had very little time to set his feet and throw in the pocket. Credit to Montreal’s pass rush and secondary for working so well in tandem. But MBT had very little chance for success.
Antonio Pipkin provided two of Toronto’s scores in this game. The Argos had well-designed plays for him in his sub role near the goal line.
Grade: C minus
DJ Foster got the start, but he did very little to nothing in this game. He had three carries for five yards on the ground and four receptions for 18 yards. John White had only four carries for 20 yards.
The game script got away from Toronto in this game, which limited the team’s run opportunities. Declan Cross was brought in to pass block and help Toronto with their line woes and did an admirable job.
Grade: C minus
Kurleigh Gittens Jr. had his second straight game with over a hundred yards receiving. (8-116). He had some great catches in this contest.
Ricky Collins Jr. was effective (6-95), especially with yards after the catch. One of his best traits. Collins accounted for the team’s longest play from scrimmage. (38 yards). However, he was targeted a lot in this game, and there were several misfires between him and Bethel-Thompson.
DeVaris Daniels chipped in with four catches. Damion Jeanpiere and Chandler Worthy were very quiet, registering just one catch after producing several splash plays in recent weeks.
The bottom line is that the Argos pass protection issues prevented the Argos receivers from having a more productive outing against Montreal.
The Argos missed RG Dariusz Bladek and RT Jamal Campbell greatly in Week 12.
The entire right side of Toronto’s offensive line was a sieve in this game. Shane Richards, who has filled in admirably at guard this season, looked a step slow throughout; that might’ve been injury-related because he was noticeably limping early on.
RT Trevon Tate was an even bigger issue on Friday. He had a miserable game. The entire right side of the line could not handle any line stunts that were presented against them. The Argos tried to get Tate some help with Theren Churchill coming into the game as an extra pass protector but to no avail.
Dejon Allen, Philip Blake, and Peter Nicastro played ok, but the right side of the line dragged down the whole offence.
Some well-designed blitzes by the Argos led to three sacks by the defence. But none of that production came from the defensive line. This was Shawn Oakman’s worst game in the CFL. He was out of place all night.
Charleston Hughes doesn’t exist anymore in the league. Father time is undefeated. He has had no impact. The team has needed him, and he hasn’t shown up.
The Argos got pushed around upfront. And if there is an area that the Boatmen need to address on their team through trade, it’s at defensive tackle. It’s so evident that the team doesn’t have a true run-stopping DT on their interior. Unfortunately, Drake Nevis was never able to get on and stay on the field due to injury.
To the Alouettes credit. Khari Jones and his staff found a way to target and neutralize Henoc Muamba in the run game. Montreal’s design was to wash him out of the play with double team blocks and force the Argos’ other defenders to make stops against the run. And the Alouettes scheme worked.
Henoc Muamba was active in his return with eight tackles, but he was neutralized and was kept from making an impact in his return to Montreal.
Dexter McCoil and Chris Edwards both had splash plays in this game. Each registering sacks, but neither player made any significant plays of impact. Edwards, in particular, was out of position on plays in the box, and he woke up the beast that is William Stanback by aggressively taunting him early in the game. Stanback had the last laugh when he ran over and around Edwards and the Argos defence to the tune of over 200 yards and 8.5 yards per rush.
When comparing all three units of Toronto’s defence. The secondary was the best of the bunch on Friday night, but that’s not saying much.
Once again, Chris Jones secondary had a mental lapse on the back end that was costly.
Jalen Collins had a good debut game starting on the boundary in coverage. The Argos did a good job shutting down CFL All-Star Jake Wieneke to zero catches. Collins was a bright spot.
Toronto Argonauts Special Teams
It was a bad omen for the Argos when strong-legged Boris Bede’s 49-yard field goal to start the game came up five yards short.
The Argos coverage units had a good game, and they nearly blocked a punt early on. Toronto’s special teams were not the issue in Montreal. They weren’t in a position to make an impact, one way or the other.
Grade: B minus
Toronto Argonauts Overall Grade: D
The effort level was there for Toronto’s players, but the execution wasn’t. The coaching staff did a poor job of preparing the team. Khari Jones and his crew outcoached them.
Montreal beat Toronto in every aspect. And this was a loss that the Argos earned. They have no one to blame but themselves for the resounding defeat they just experienced.
Earlier in the season. This type of loss for Toronto could be spun as a positive or a welcome wake-up call. But considering the late stage of the year and what was at stake. How the Argos lost in Montreal is a red flag.
Toronto doesn’t look like a team that is ready to win their division, and based on how they performed on Friday, they won’t.
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