Argos’ playoff plans on hold after loss to Roughriders

Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star

The Argonauts will go back to the drawing board to figure out why, despite all their offensive weapons, they came up short in the red zone in a tough 27-24 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.

The Argos did score a pair of touchdowns, but settled for field goals on two other key occasions when they had the ball inside the Riders’ 20-yard line at BMO Field. That lack of execution wasn’t the entire story behind the loss — when a victory would have guaranteed a playoff berth — but it was cause for concern for coach Marc Trestman and his staff.

“We had a chance to get off to a fast start on offence, but we limited ourselves,” Trestman said after the game. “We had the ball in the red zone, but we didn’t take advantage.”

Other sore spots for the Boatmen in Saturday’s thriller:

  • Several big plays by the Saskatchewan offence despite an ineffective start by quarterback Kevin Glenn, who was replaced mid-game by Mississauga native Brandon Bridge.
  • A last-second, eight-yard touchdown pass from Bridge to Naaman Roosevelt in the second quarter, marking the second consecutive week that the Argos had the lead and surrendered a crucial six in the dying moments before the half.

Bridge also hit Caleb Holley for a 75-yard TD pass-and-run in the third quarter that sent Saskatchewan ahead 24-17. That strike came on the first play after the Argos had gone up 17-16, off a 75-yard punt single.

Overall, Bridge was impressive in relief of Glenn, who left after completing just three of eight pass attempts for 29 yards. The Argos were up 16-3 when Bridge entered the game. He went on to complete 20 of 29 passes for 292 yards.

On the bright side for the Boatmen — who beat the Tiger-Cats last week despite allowing Hamilton to rack up more than 450 yards on offence:

  • QB Ricky Ray put up some big numbers of his own: 30 for 37 and 341 yards. Ray found S.J. Green open for a 19-yard TD strike at 11:19 of the fourth quarter that tied the game at 24-24. It was their only scoring drive of the second half.
  • Kick returner Martese Jackson also had arguably his best game of the season: 67 yards on kickoff runbacks, 26 on punts, plus 16 rushing and 28 receiving with a pair of catches.
  • Linebacker Bear Woods, who left practice and was hospitalized with an undisclosed ailment, was cleared to play, though he sat out to err on the side of caution.

Saskatchewan’s Tyler Crapigna booted four field goals, which helped bring the visitors back from that 16-3 deficit and take full advantage of the Argos’ inability to capitalize on their red-zone opportunities.

Bridge completed the comeback with a last-minute drive, moving the ball 64 yards on 11 plays, five of them runs by Kienan Lafrance. With seven seconds left, the ball was close enough for Crapigna to chip in the game winning 18-yard field goal.

“We started the second half and slapped ourselves with penalties . . . and we just didn’t stop them,” Trestman said. “I told the guys, we lost this one as a team.”

The disappointment was universal in the Argos dressing room. This was a hard-fought game that finished without star running back James Wilder Jr. — who was knocked out briefly after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Hanoc Muamba in the fourth quarter.

Wilder left the field under his own power and was examined by medical staff, then spent the rest of the game trying to rally the 15,102 in attendance to cheer the Argos on to a come-from-behind victory.

“He got me on the sweet spot,” Wilder said. “I told (doctors) I was good. I was jumping up and down on the sidelines, trying to get the fans loud, but they said play it safe, so I sat (out the rest of the game).”

Wilder still managed 72 yards on 13 carries and caught seven passes for another 90 yards.

“We didn’t play complete Argo football,” Wilder said. “We didn’t finish. They did, we didn’t.”

The Argos fell to 1-5 against the West and 7-8 overall. They finish with three games against Western opponents.


59 Comments on Argos’ playoff plans on hold after loss to Roughriders

  1. How many of the 15,102 in attendance were Riders fans?

  2. Who cares joe we all know the issues with fan attendance at argos games people don’t need to constantly bring it up !

    • RB Nation Section C // October 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm //

      If the Eastern Final is in Toronto vs Ottawa it’ll be a sell-out. 15,000 RB maniacs will head down the 401 for that one.

  3. Rick cowan // October 8, 2017 at 9:08 am //

    Does anyone think there will be any major trades before the trade deadline on Wednesday

  4. Scottsask // October 8, 2017 at 9:23 am //

    No, I think it does need to be brought up. There are more people living in Toronto than the entire populations of Saskatchewan and Manitoba combined. This was a franchise that used to put 50,000 into old CNE stadium. What the hell is going on with this ownership group that simply does not care how many people show up. It comes down to that very group to market the team properly and to try to reach an untapped market of youth football players and a massive immigrant population. If this means giving away tickets to schools and youth football teams to build up this base then do it. Other wise the good people of Halifax might be cheering for the Highlanders or Quebec City for the whatever the hell that team might be called. Get it done Toronto, otherwise you should fully expect to get called out.

    • Once or twice maybe but not every week. It gets tiring, and distracts from the football the team is playing.

  5. The TV ratings for the Argos are always near the top every week, so people are watching, and they’re watching the Argos way more than they’re watching the Raptors or TFC, so the fan base is there, but they’re just not going to the games live. Another thing that hasn’t been talked about enough I think is that a lot of the players drafted in recent years are coming from the GTA. Many of them get out of the wastelands there and go to better football universities elsewhere, but they come originally from the GTA. So people are watching and playing, but they’re not going to see live games.

    • Stephen Fisher // October 8, 2017 at 11:12 am //

      That is very interesting. RFD, Please respond to let us know where you found these statistics on tv ratings. TV ratings are still very important to the viability of the leak.

      I used to go to several games a year when they were at Skydome to which I could walk. I went to one game at the new stadium (by bike-they had valet bike parking!) and sat on the east side with the sun in my eyes which made it unwatchable. I have not gone back, but do watch all CFL games on TV. Argos have had ticket specials this year where you could attend a game for $15 or for $20 and it just doesn’t seem to lure people to the stadium. ( I paid $95 each for crappy seats at the 10 yard line at Molson stadium this year.) It’s hard to figure. One upside at BMO Field is that it is very easy for Hamilton fans to come to a game and park.

      • Stephen Fisher // October 8, 2017 at 11:13 am //


      • Stephen Fisher // October 8, 2017 at 11:14 am //

        League not leak

      • There is a reporter named Chris Zelkovich who for many years used to do articles on the weekend sports TV ratings. He did it for a couple of different publications over the years, most recently for Yahoo Sports where he called it The Great Canadian Ratings Report, but this ended almost a year ago now, and if he’s still doing it anywhere else I haven’t been able to find it. He has a twitter account but I haven’t seen any mention of him doing it anywhere else. Most recently they’ve been posting ratings reports periodically on this site. If you look back or do a search I’m sure you’ll find them.

      • If you search this you’ll find an example of one of Chris’ articles from a couple of years ago:

        The Great Canadian Ratings Report: MLS not scoring on television

  6. Scottsask // October 8, 2017 at 10:12 am //

    That’s exactly why a fan base that actually will show up to games needs to be built up, and they need to start with school kifd, minor football players and new Canadians. It’s not rocket surgery.

  7. A hard-fought battle between two promising sides. Argos roster banged-up (a handful of starters not playing), but no excuse. Double Blue messed up on a (very) few plays that cost them. Looking forward to seeing how things play out in the East (and West, for that matter).

  8. 15,000 fans? It looked more like 1500 fans to me

  9. Lancaster/Reed // October 8, 2017 at 10:59 am //

    Just an fyi, the riders have 19 players on the 6-game injured list, including 2 starting defensive linemen among other starters. Otha foster, riders 2016 pick for defensive POY, is also injured ( 1 game list ) and did not play against toronto. I dont think any team, currently, is as banged up as the riders.

  10. Biggest reason attendance is off is competition from TFC and MLS in General. Attendance off in other two MLS cities MTL and Vancouver. Learn from MLS. Sign celebrity designated players such as Bradly, Altidore, Kaka, and the very first one David Beckham. That means you Manziel. Expand away from MLS into Halifax, Quebec City, Erie Shore region, Windor, Victoria, and Sherbrooke. Will have to reduce Cancon to 4 to account for player needs. Jump on fan revolt of NFL by signing celebrities who are also good players and put teams near border.

    • ??? Attendance is off in those three cities, but I’m sure it has nothing to do with MLS. The CFL crushes MLS in terms of TV ratings and total fan base. I don’t think there’s a lot of overlap between the fan bases either. It’s true that in Toronto TFC draws more fans to their games than the Argos do, but that is just an isolated oddity. MLS is the definition of a niche sport. TFC draws something like 27,000, but their TV audience is only about 2 to 3 times that. CFL games draw 5 to 10 times more viewers, including Argos games. And given that TFC is ten years old and still not generating 6 digit TV ratings I don’t see a lot of growth in their future. TFC is a failure story, not a success story.

  11. justforkicks // October 8, 2017 at 11:41 am //

    Access to the facility should be easily addressed. Park and ride from major shopping centers would fix that. Works great in Edmonton and Calgary. Must be in use elsewhere. If the fan base is watching on TV there must be a reason they don’t show up to watch. Rider fans drive for hours.
    As far as the game went, Bridge a huge factor but defense held when required. No huge reffing gaffs that I noticed. Riders are coming together nicely. Still a bit weak with the run and run stop.

  12. I think we’re all getting tired of Riders telling us what we should correct about our teams. Let’s talk about the “myth” of Rider attendance superiority – and YES Stephen, you can look it up on the CFL stats.

    1) Riders have led the CFL in attendance TWICE -last year by a mere 327 fans per game & in 2013 with the Cup in Regina. If you can find another year in the foregoing decades, by all means, please advise.
    2) In 2007 their previous GC you were 5th in attendance, an improvement from 2006.
    3) Those great Rider teams from 2008 (another GC appearance) to 2012 you were 4th, then 3rd until 2012 behind Edmonton & the Stamps in McMahon. So much for all the ridicule to pass along on McMahon. Another stat you might like is McMahon, since built in 1960, has seen 14 Division titles & 6 Grey Cups. For the record I am not a Stamps fan. Where were all the Rider fans supporting that team of the Golden Era?
    4) You’re sitting 2nd in attendance so far this year so good luck in your final 2 home games.
    5) Next year Edmonton hosts the Cup. Last time that happened was 2010 when tickets were sold out within 3 days, a record. That’s for 56,000 seats. As I recall in 2013 you had trouble finding enough hotel rooms for the big show. Weren’t fans stashed away in private homes? Why didn’t build a bigger barn? All your money, all those clamouring for tickets. Shouldn’t you at least deserve a stadium bigger than McMahon?

    All foam, no beer.

    • A million less people and we need a bigger stadium? We will stick with our 99.85% arrendance and fresh beer in new lines thanks.

    • Great win by the Riders and Bridge is starting to more and more comfortable. Nice to see Jones emphatically state that Glenn is our starter…as he should be.

      Regarding CFL game attendance, as gate-driven league, I think the entire league is trouble. We can debate all day long about who has the greatest fans or highest attendance, but outside of the West, attendance is abysmal. No one cares in BC, there have been some poor crowds in Winnipeg and Calgary despite their winning records. EDM has great fan suppport and SK is right behind them in attendance. TV ratings are approaching horrible and who knows if TSN will even be interested in renewing and if they are, at what price? My guess would be lower and the CFL frankly doesn’t have any leverage. If interest doesn’t pick up soon, it might not matter if the Riders have the best stadium and McMahon the crappiest. There might not be anyone to play in them.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm //

      As a % of the population, riders kick butt. Edmonton has 4 times the population of regina, so they should easily top our attendance numbers. So should calgary at 5x the pop, but they are below riders . Vancouver , toronto, montreal all dwarf regina population. Winnipeg 3x, hamilton 2x. So when you put things into perspective , the riders attendance is damn impressive.

      • Point taken Lancaster but as pointed out the Riders draw from across the province, not just the Regina area

        • Lancaster/Reed // October 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm //

          How many BC, Stamps, or toronto fans are willing to drive 3 hrs for a game? 97-99% of their cities population cant be bothered to drive 45 minutes to attend. 70% of Sask population is a minimum of 1hr away from Regina, and so yes rider fans travel , but to include the whole sask population in comparison to other CITIES attendance , is like apples and oranges. If regina had 500,000 people, we probably could currently sell out a 40-45,000 stadium pretty regularly. So again, comparing city to city, Regina wins.

    • justforkicks // October 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm //

      Sorry Boneyard, no disrespect intended. Just observations of a Rider fan living in Alberta and seeing ideas and promotions in place. Riders attendance might not be highest in the league but all home games are sold out this year as per stats on the CFL homepage.

    • Boneyard, we have a population in the entire province, less than the city of Edmonton and surrounding area. I think we do quite well regarding that fact. Secondly, when the Riders travel to Edmonton or Calgary, the fact that so many Rider fans are in Commonwealth or McMahon Stadium beef up your stats considerably. Thirdly, if we had a larger stadium, say 40,000-seat arena instead of the previously, 28,000 seat arena (which you base some of your stats on) we would be well ahead of our Alberta rivals. And lastly, it will be rather interesting with the Eskimos having lost 6 straight games to see what attendance figures come out from your ballpark. Lastly, I think we do quite well and deserve a little respect.

    • Yawn Boneyard. How much time did you waste making up those stats? Loser.

  13. Very disappointing loss for the Argos and their fans. They do not seem to be a team hungry for the Grey Cup like the Redblacks or the Tigercats for that matter.

    • Boy, if I was an Argos fan I sure wouldn’t be disappointed. With the Bombers loss at home the Riders will probably be the #2 team in the league this week, and the Argos hung with us right up until the end. Ray certainly looked hungry on that last TD drive of yours, jumping up and giving the fist pump when you scored. I think you’re on track to be one of the upper level teams next year. How can you be disappointed with that?

  14. My g/f and I got free tix yesterday just walking around and talking to people. lol it was everything I expected! Toronto is super desperate to keep this team. That said, the tailgating is the best in the league I’d say.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm //

      Well, spread the word about the tailgating to everyone you know, so more people come to the games and the argos can stay in toronto. It was an exciting game,and should have been fun to watch it in person.

  15. Not saying you don’t do quite well with your limited population. Of course, you have the whole population of Saskatchewan to draw from, don’t you? The telethons didn’t just target Regina. Your fans travel ALL OVER but not to Regina? You can expand to 40,000. Why don’t you do it? Can’t fill it? And RFD, since you brought it up, the Eskimos are leading the league in attendance this year DESPITE the 6 losses, not Riders. That’s also available @ CFL website. Unlike the Rider fans during GC 2007 – 5th in the league. Pathetic. So new stadium I would expect 100% attendance. But since only twice have you exceeded 32,000 I’d give it a year or two before we find out what you settle back into. Don’t forget every other CFL city, except Hamilton, has to support major league hockey as well. The dollars are spread around because there’s lots to do. What’s the over/under on events held in Mosaic year round? I suspect it’s not in triple figures. But, yeah, be proud. But come up with something new to talk about.

    • I think you’ve got me mixed up with somebody else.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 12:28 am //

      Well boneyard, if you insist riders must use entire sask population to base their numbers on , its only fair that the eskimos use half of alberta, so lets say 2 million people. Almost twice the population to draw from but averaging only 211 more per game than the riders this year
      . Eskimos top game attendance was the riders at 41,738. Based on your avearge attendance, approx 8000 in attendance were rider fans. Minus those rider fans from your average and your per game average is about 1000 less so you drop to about 800 per game less than the riders. Thing arent looking so rosy attendance wise now for the esks.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 1:01 am //

      Also boneyard, not sure where you are getting your 32,000 numbers from, but according to and cfldb, the riders have sold out 5 of the 6 regular season home games. 33,350 per game. The only game not sold out was when hamilton visited, but still 33,050.

  16. Sorry RFD, you’re right.

  17. Feeling Blue // October 8, 2017 at 9:50 pm //

    BMO is a great stadium to watch a game. Argos just have to be more consistent, but they are entertaining. At the end of the game it was loud. The Argo fans are great people and true blue. It’s the old story… have to focus on the positives and there are lot’s of them.

  18. Ok boneyard….great stats gathering, but the fact is only around 5000 people from outside regina attend each rider home games. It is impressive but its not like the riders are benefitting hugely from this.

    The Cfl estimates over 4.5 million rider fans in Canada. Thats where they boast the biggest part of the support. Every game the riders play have many rider fans….home and away. Travel to any major event anywhere in North America or the caribean and you will see rider jerseys.

    TO and SK both played well yesterday. Nice to see a game where neither side spent the next day whining about the officiating.

  19. the flammer // October 8, 2017 at 11:21 pm //

    my nephew and his girlfriend went to the argo, rider game to get tickets and were wearing their rider gear, when an aro fan asked them if they needed tickets, he had 2 extra,which he gave tom them and thanked them for coming to the game, no matter if they were cheering for the riders or not. so there are some great argo fans in to.

  20. justforkicks // October 8, 2017 at 11:54 pm //

    To date as per CFL the attendance across the league has been the highest when the riders play in each city except for CGY (Edm outdrew) MTL (OTT outdrew)
    and OTT (Ham outdrew), so either highest or 2nd highest. In Regina 33,350 for all six games. Above does not include game in TO as it was not in their tables yet.

  21. Total for any complete season, Riders only exceeded 32,000 by season end twice. Population has nothing to do with attendance records. Whomever has the most average attendance is the attendance leader regardless of population. Other teams may have bigger pools to draw on but that has nothing to do with the # of paying customers drawn over the year. That you fill Mosaic to near capacity doesn’t mean you draw more fans. You might check out the CFL which also showed Eskimos led the league in National TV ratings last year (article Oct 21/16). Green Bay Packers drew 78,000 avg (5th) last year. Dallas drew 14,000 more. Green Bay has 105,139 pop. census 2016. So are they the attendance champs – no. Dallas is. BTW, they’re also America’s team. Great that GB can draw 75% of their population to the game but nothing to do with who leads in attendance. Apples & oranges. Riders inflate other teams stats? Again a) what has that got to do with attendance @ Mosaic? & b) their money spent there belongs to the other team. This is meaningless as regards Rider attendance.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 1:56 am //

      Like i said boneyard, take the 8000 rider fans out of eskimo attendance numbers this season , and your attendance numbers fall to #2 . Onthe flip side, the riders might benefit by a total of 200 eskimo fans later this season.
      Yes the league will recognize edmonton as attendance winners for the season, but it doesnt happen without rider fans.

    • You didn’t excel in advanced math did you Boneyard? Lol

  22. greenenvy? // October 9, 2017 at 1:49 am //

    I seriously doubt there are 4.5 MM fans of the Riders in Canada, Alice. Millennials, for one, don’t follow the CFL much, never mind the Riders. That would mean 13% of the entire Canadian population follows the Riders. According to Forbes the Green Bay Packers have the most followers on social media with 6.6 Million followers in a football mad country of over 325 MM. There is no way the Riders have 4.5 MM followers in Canada. Sorry, can’t buy that.

  23. Attendance is attendance Lancaster. What don’t you understand about that? The attendance measures how many people went to the game at Commonwealth, whether they just want to watch football, watch the Esks, watch the other team, or like the hot dogs. It’s attendance at the PARK. You don’t just take Rider fans out & say they weren’t there. Where were they? At Mosaic? You going to add 8000 by your count to Mosaic & subtract from Commonwealth so you now have 41,000 in a 33,000 seat stadium? Or do you adjust the figures down by 8,000 downward & they just disappear? Do that for every team by your arbritary Rider # & we have a decline in overall CFL attendance which wouldn’t jive with ticket sales would it. If the Grey Cup sells out again, should we subract all the tickets sales for out of town fans who aren’t cheering for the home team or should we just list the attendance as zero if the home team isn’t in the game? Dumb argument, sorry.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 3:09 am //

      Boneyard, not sure whats so hard to understand. I said that eskimos willl have the largest attendance figures this year. Not disputing that. Do you deny that 8000 rider fans at commonwealth puts you over the top ? If there were 8000 eskimo fans at mosaic, then its a wash. But we both know there will not be anywhere near that number.

  24. I say it’s irrelevant. Whether 8000 or 30000 you’re paying to see the Eskimos play. It doesn’t matter what color you wear or who you cheer for. ATTENDance measures how many ATTEND the game, not where they come from. Rider fans always have a YES BUT to add. There is no yes but. You go to Commonwealth, pay your ticket, buy food, cheer for your team and we’re happy you attend and support the Eskimos with your cash. I think it’s likely that if 8000 keep coming back they probably like football a lot, not just the Riders.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm //

      Well those 8000 arent coming for the rest of the esks games, so its pretty safe to assume they are there because the riders are playing.
      And the fact they are rider fans in commonwealth is completely relevant. Your beef was with rider fans attendance. Well these rider fans are attending cfl games, just not at mosaic. Look at the away games attendance for riders and esks. On average, rider away games are drawing 2500 more fans this season than eskimo away games. And that trend is consistant going back at least 6 years. Thats because rider fans living in these other cities are buying tickets for rider games. Eskimo fans, in general, are not.
      So taken as a whole, rider fans are buying more cfl game tickets than any other team, regardless of the stadium. There is a reason the rider brand is ranked # 3 in canada, behind only the Habs and Leafs.

  25. Check with your accountant Lancaster & ask him how Rider fans buying CFL tickets at other CFL parks bumps up Mosaic attendance figures. The answer is zero. Rider attendance figures are a sum of all their home games – period. Early in the year when the Riders were 2-4 you talked about the wins you should have. Now you’re talking about the attendance you should have. You can buy twenty thousand tickets to every away game – doesn’t affect YOUR attendance which is your Mosaic figures. Don’t like it – call the commisioner. Good luck.

    • You are an idiot Boneyard. Listen to yourself man. Christ.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm //

      When did i say those figures should be added to mosaic numbers? Nice strawman. Your first comment was about the ” myth ” of RIDER FAN attendance. NOT MOSAIC ATTENDANCE. so rider fans attending cfl games in other stadiums is a portion of rider fan attendance, just not mosaic attendance. You set the ground rules.
      So my conclusion is accurate. There are more rider fans attending cfl games than any other individual team. Dont like it? The facts are the facts.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm //

      Oh yeah, Stamps fans will be delighted to know that when you go to the labour day game at mcmahon, youre not there to see the eskimos, youre there to see the stamps.

  26. How many Esks fans at this Montreal game? Maybe Boneyard hahaha. Esks suck.

  27. Where are the clowns.??? Send in the clowns…… Don’t bother they’re here. Not that you would know what I’m referencing. Wait long enough & Gopher nation will chime in to protect their own with some inane comment. Esks suck – that’s clever. Love it. You must have given your imagination a good workout before you came up with that. PS… On none of my posts have I said I was an Esk fan. These posts were about attendance, in which I reference the Eskimos who have almost exclusively led the CFL in attendance for decades. You have picked up your game attendance wise recently, which is good. The CFL needs Regina, sure, but not as much as it needs Toronto, although I am not sure the denizens of Gopher Gulch understand that. Now I’m out. Good luck to the Riders in the playoffs. PPS. You & Esks currently suck equally.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm //

      Oh a stamps fan. Its all making sense now. An inferiority complex about YOUR attendance numbers.

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