Toronto Argonauts Robbed By Riders; Still Have Work to Do

Josh LewisSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

Last week, it looked like the Toronto Argonauts were turning the corner.

Kerry Joseph had finally shown his MOP form in driving the Argos to a last-second, game-winning touchdown over the Edmonton Eskimos. The defense had been solid, and receivers Tyler Scott and James Robinson came out of nowhere to help lead the double blue to victory.

Then came last night's 28-22 loss to the defending Grey Cup champ Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the Argonauts are back at one game under .500.

But what the score doesn't tell you is that the Argos played a very strong game last night and should have won. The Boatmen can attribute their loss to two awful calls in the fourth quarter.

The first came when, after two goal line stops by the Argo defensive line, Riders running back Wes Cates tried to go up and over for the touchdown.

Mike O'Shea leapt forward to meet him, and replays showed that O'Shea was clearly past the plain of the goal line when he made contact with Cates.

The ball was hard to see, but there was certainly no clear evidence of it being over the plain. But it was ruled a touchdown anyway, and the Riders went up 27-22.

Then, with less than three minutes remaining, former Argo receiver Michael Palmer fumbled the ball as he was being brought down and Toronto recovered. The play was ruled a fumble on the field, which means conclusive evidence was needed to overturn the decision.

Replays clearly showed that the ball was loose before Palmer's knee was down. It was clear as day. Yet the ruling was reversed with no video evidence whatsoever.

That ridiculous decision ended any chance the Argos had at getting back in the game. They did get the ball back one last time, but a poor pass by Joseph in the dying seconds gave the win to Saskatchewan.

The good news for the Argos is that they looked solid on most fronts last night. Joseph again looked comfortable behind centre, and he's beginning to use his legs more, which is a great sign for a Toronto team that has never had much of a running game.

The receiving corps continues to improve, anchored by Arland Bruce and supported by Andre Talbot, who has really stepped up with the loss of Tony Miles and the injury to Bethel Johnson.

Rookies Tyler Scott and James Robinson didn't do much last night but both showed all kinds of potential in last week's win over Edmonton. Obed Cetoute and Johnnie Morant have also shown some flashes of ability.

On the running side, Dominique Dorsey was merely average last night and Jamal Robertson hasn't really done anything since a solid opening game against Winnipeg.

No, running isn't as important in the CFL as it is south of the border, but you still need an effective back to open up more options for your quarterback.

The D continued to look good but not great. Something has been missing from this unit this season. It's been solid but hasn't shown the usual effectiveness we've grown accustomed to.

Of course, the absence of Kevin Eiben in the midfield may have contributed to that last night.

Maybe it's the loss of Rich Stubler as defensive coordinator or the loss of players like Khalil Carter and Jeff Keeping, but the defense doesn't seem to have that airtight quality to it, so far.

Ryan Dinwiddie and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are next up for the Argos. That game goes Friday night, and it's a crucial one for the Boatmen if they want to keep a leg up on Winnipeg and stay in the running for first in the East.