By: David Alter
The Toronto Argonauts managed to hold of the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a 24-18 win at Rogers Centre, snapping a six-game losing skid. For awhile it looked like this was going to come easy as the Boatmen looked like a team much better than their record indicated at 1-6, while the Riders let turnovers and penalties get the best of them…Then the fourth quarter happened.
Carrying a 21-1 lead after three quarters of play, the Riders slowly but effectively started picking apart the Argonauts defence. First, Darian Durant connected with Chris Getzlaf for a 70-yard TD pass. After an Argo two-and-out, the Riders marched up the field allowing for former Argo James Robinson to find the endzone for a 21-yard TD Reception. The combined back-to-back touchdown drives helped in erasing a deficit cutting the Argos lead down to six points.
Inside a couple of minutes, the Argos offence is stopped on their secnd consecutive two-and-out, and the Riders are given one more shot with about a minute and-a-half left on the clock. The Riders would get the ball deep in Argo territory but the defence managed to get a couple of stops in the endzone, as the Riders turn it over on downs, and the game was decided.
Evan McCollough made a big impact in his return from injury. On the second-to-last Riders attempt, McCollough stopped Chris Getzlaf from a sure touchdown that would have secured it for Saskatchewan. Byron Parker responded to internal criticism from Head Coach Jim Barker, and had the game’s only interception. So when it came down to it, the defence did improve its’ performance.
The Argos won the turnover battle 4-0, and Saskatchewan killed themselves early with penalties, making 11 infractions for 99 yards lost. Toronto had five penalties, but only lost 30 yards.
Cleo Lemon didn’t have that spectacular 300+ yard game many may have expected but he made the best with what he was seeing. The Riders were playing a zone-defence so Lemon was forced to go underneath with short passes and go to the run. The only criticism really comes from why the offence wasn’t able to respond to Saskatchewan’s hot scoring in the fourth quarter.
Cory Boyd solid when he needed to be rushing for a pair of touchdowns, but limited to just 45 yards. He feels he could of done more. He also got involved in a bit of an argument at the end of the game with Special Teams coach Mike O’Shea, but when he was asked about it, all he said was he “didn’t know anything about it.”