Argonauts don’t make the grade

The Toronto Argonauts led the Saskatchewan Roughriders through most of their weekend contest – until it really mattered.

Being outscored 16-1 in the final quarter, the Argos (2-9) likely sealed their fate in the East Division after falling to Rider nation 30-20 at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday.

The Boatmen did score their first offensive touchdown since Aug. 18, a total of 186 minutes of football without a major.

In this Monday edition of the Argos’ classroom, the Observer offers its grades for Toronto’s effort in Regina.

OFFENCE

The Argos could only create one offensive touchdown the entire game. On the positive side, they had the potential to score more. Steven Jyles is not the saviour at quarterback for any team in the CFL, let alone the Argonauts. And the team doesn’t expect him to be. Against the Roughriders he effectively move up the field with his legs and arm. He was 19-for-33 with 254 yards in the air and had nine carries for 81 yards. Jyles’s running was a nice complement RB Cory Boyd’s 15 carries for 90 yards.

The offence also loses marks its three turnovers. Jyles threw two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and lost a fumble while calling his own number on the run. A team can’t win if it can’t hold on to the ball.

And despite playing in a very winnable game, and playing for three quarters as though they were going to win, the Argos lose big marks for a one-point fourth quarter and falling six points behind Hamilton for the final playoff spot in the East.

GRADE: C –

DEFENCE

This grade is low because of the aforementioned 16-1 fourth-quarter meltdown. Even though the Argos battled the Saskatchewan offence the entire game, they finally ran out of gas. Of course, one touchdown in the game is credited to a 33-yard interception that was run back for a score, but without the final touchdown, the Argos still lose.

The defence recorded only two sacks on Durant, which for a quarterback who isn’t afraid to move his feet, is low. Quarterbacks venturing out into the wilderness around the pocket are often vulnerable to a sack, but the Argos couldn’t get through and it cost them dearly.

Durant only threw for 279 yards with one touchdown, receiver Chris Getzlaf caught seven passes for 170 yards, his longest being a 64-yard TD strike.

To be nice, the Argonauts’ grade wasn’t lower because they produced an interception of their own.

GRADE: C –

SPECIAL TEAMS

The game wasn’t pretty, but the kicking was. This grade could’ve been much higher if only the Argos’ return specialists were, well, special.

One of the most explosive returners in the CFL, Chad Owens, had a human-like five kick returns for 95 yards. Despite a long of 33-yards, his 19-yard average didn’t stand out on any score sheet. The receiver had a shot at five punt returns yet only produced 50 total yards.

Kicker Noel Prefontaine kept the light shining on Toronto as long as he could. The veteran went 4-for-4 on field goals and knocked down the extra point on the Argos’ only touchdown. To cap off his impressive day, he threw a 39-yard lob for a first down on a fake punt. Pretty sneaky.

GRADE: C +

The Argonauts were not as terrible in this matchup as their record shows. However, they could not come through in a desperation situation and, while it’s not officially yet, are hanging on by a thread in the East. There were bright spots at separate moments, but not enough to make a difference in the outcome.

OVERALL GRADE: C –