A loss is only a loss if it isn’t taken as a lesson.
After their Week 12 result, the Argonauts still find themselves tied for first place in the East Division, though point differential would put Montreal ahead if the season ended today, but the fate of the season is still squarely in the Argos’ hands.
Offence: Good news wasn’t a big theme on Friday night but a big bright spot was Canadian receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Gittens Jr. has developed into one of the premiere national pass catchers in the CFL.
It was his second straight 100-yard game and when asked if the previous week’s game against Hamilton was his best performance he responded by saying his best is yet to come. That type of answer bodes well for a great future for the young wideout. He currently sits tied for second in receptions (33) and third in yards (431) among all Canadian receivers this year.
Defence: It wasn’t a strong showing for the defence overall but it looks like Dexter McCoil and Chris Edwards will be in the conversation for Most Outstanding Defensive Player awards with each of them adding sacks to their season totals. Future Hall of Fame linebacker Henoc Muamba returned to the lineup after a three-game absence and notched a team-high eight defensive tackles.
Offence: More money, more problems! ‘Money Island’ sounds inviting however it was anything but on Friday night as Monshadrik ‘Money’ Hunter lived up to his name and caused the Argos offence fits all night.
The defensive back who recently got moved to the boundary cover man spot, which is tasked with shutting down the opposing team’s No. 1 threat, made a case for CFL Top Performer of the Week with a game-high two interceptions and overall excellent coverage on Toronto’s top receivers.
It began in the first quarter with the Argos in striking distance when McLeod Bethel-Thompson sent a fade pass into the boundary intended for DaVaris Daniels. Hunter displayed textbook technique using his feet to tail the near hip while using his hands to keep Daniels in range then timed his look back to the ball, tracking and deflecting it away forcing Toronto to settle for three points.
His first interception of the night was a sign of the relentless pressure McBeth would face all night. Although we know catching isn’t always easy for defensive backs, Hunter made it look easy making a sliding catch on the overthrown pass. His second was a thing of beauty playing off coverage and looking in at the quarterback. He was able to read the drop of the QB which gave him a clue of when the ball would be thrown and he was able to jump the route and make a diving interception.
Considering Hunter’s father is five-time MLB all-star centre fielder Torii Hunter, I think we should expect him to continue making difficult plays look easy.
Overall, the Argos offence faced pressure all night, and after Montreal took the lead in the second quarter with three straight scoring drives, Toronto was forced into a one dimensional offensive attack and as a result were forced into four interceptions.
Defence: Throughout his career William Stanback has been one of the most dominant running backs in the CFL. In a game where Montreal’s QB was making his second start of the season and facing a formidable Chris Jones defence, he chose the right time for a career night.
The league’s leading rusher put on a show that saw him rush for 203 yards and one touchdown. The Argos defence under Jones is an aggressive unit often bringing pressure and tasking defence backs back to play man or match coverage, which is a combination of man and zone principles, requiring ample communication. Toronto, knowing the top priority was slowing Stanback, left Geno Lewis in single coverage most of the night and he took full advantage accounting for 156 of his team’s total 212 passing yards.
At 6-4 the Argos take on the 4-6 B.C. Lions next week. It is slightly too early to call any game a must-win, but with four games remaining and Toronto looking to control their own destiny, games against teams like the Lions are prime opportunities to take control of the East.
- The biggest lesson the Argos can take into their next match-up is that protecting the QB and protecting the ball are two of the biggest factors when determining who wins and loses, especially approaching playoff time.
- Antonio Pipkin returned to face his former team, scoring two touchdowns. It is always cool to see coaches understand the emotional undercurrent and give a guy a chance to make a play when the game calls for it. You could tell this game meant something to Pipkin and the coaches were able to give him the opportunity to mark the occasion.
- Mentioned on the broadcast, Matt Shiltz and Quan Bray reconnect after first meeting during their time on the Indianapolis Colts practice fields where Bray was a young receiver, and Shiltz, who had moved on from football at that time, was working as an assistant.
- Geno Lewis had caught 13 career touchdowns, none at home in Montreal. That changed Friday night as he caught two touchdowns on home field.