Argos lose seventh straight to Eskimos

The Toronto Argonauts had a chance to play spoiler Friday night, but were no match for an Edmonton Eskimos squad hungry for a playoff spot.

Ricky Ray threw for 332 yards and a touchdown in Edmonton’s (8-9) 36-10 victory at Commonwealth Stadium.

Boxscore: Toronto vs. Edmonton

The loss was Toronto’s (3-14) seventh straight and comes just two weeks after the Eskimos knocked the Boatmen out of playoff contention.

Argos can’t act the spoilers against Edmonton

[audio: ]

Edmonton entered the game tied with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the final playoff spot, and the win kept the Eskimos hopes for a playoff spot alive. 

Fred Stamps, the CFL’s leading receiver. gained 139 yards through the air for Edmonton, while Arkee Whitlock rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown.

For the Argos, Chad Lucas netted 123 receiving yards and a touchdown while quarterbacks Kerry Joseph and rookie Stephen Reaves threw for 117 and 122 yards respectively.

Auditioning for next year

Argos coach Bart Andrus said earlier this week he wanted to give Reaves (Toronto’s third string quarterback) some playing time when the game was still in reach.

With Toronto trailing 17-0, the 24-year-old made his first career appearance three minutes into the second quarter.

Before leaving, Joseph had completed three out of eight passes, but four of those were dropped by receivers.

Reaves looked impressive with nine completions (including a string of six straight) on 13 attempts by halftime.

He threw his first touchdown on the final play of the second quarter, a two-yard throw to Lucas, narrowing the Argos’ deficit to 20-10.

Rookie Mistakes

Just when things were looking good for the Boatmen, Edmonton’s offence took advantage on a pair of rookie mistakes.

Reaves’ first pass coming out of the break was underthrown to receiver P.K. Sam and picked off by T.J. Hill, who returned it 56 yards for a major, making it 27-10 for the Eskimos.

Two minutes later, Reaves was picked off again, this time by former Argo Byron Parker. The pivot was shaken up by a hit from Maurice Lloyd on the return and left the game.

The Argos trailed 30-10 with nine minutes remaining when Joseph threw an interception to Eskimos safety Scott Gordon.

A few plays later, Ray threw a 33-yard completion to Stamps, placing Edmonton on the 16-yard line, but the Eskimos couldn’t score a major and had to settle on a field goal to go up 33-10.

Moreno’s at it again

Andrus and Zeke Moreno were fined Wednesday for “publicly disparaging” league officiating in last week’s 26-17 loss to Hamilton, and Moreno didn’t seem to learn his lesson.

With eight minutes to go in the first half, the linebacker questioned a call that led to a 30-yard catch from Stamps, and the Argos were given a 10-yard penalty for objectional conduct.

On the next play, Ray completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jason Barnes, putting the Eskimos up 17-0.

The Argos scored on a field goal the next drive, trimming Edmonton’s lead to 17-3.

Edmonton opened the scoring with a field goal from Derek Schiavone, capping off a nine-play drive three minutes into the game.

Schiavone converted all four field goal attempts on the night.

In the closing minute of the first quarter, Edmonton linebacker Tim St. Pierre recovered a fumble off a dropped snap from Joseph and the Eskimos quickly took advantage of the turnover.

Ray threw a 24-yard pass to Kamau Peterson before Whitlock rushed eight yards for a touchdown, giving Edmonton a 10-0 lead.

NOTES: Argos offensive tackle Rob Murphy was ejected from the game with 1:05 to go after arguing with the referee … Former Argo kicker Noel Prefontaine did not play due to an ankle injury.