The Toronto Argonauts slim playoff chances grew even slimmer after the 48-20 Thanksgiving beatdown they were served by the Calgary Stampeders Monday at BMO Field.
Calgary, boasting the CFL’s top offensive and defensive units dominated right from the start scoring points (two touchdowns and a field goal) on three of its four first quarter possessions and added two successful two-point converts on their way to a 19-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
“We didn’t execute in all three phases and we got outcoached,” said Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich after the game.
Asked specifically whether he was implying that the Stampeders were 28 points better than his squad, Milanovich, unsurprisingly, said no, but acknowledged that it was imperative his team be the ones in the driver’s seat.
“I was hoping that we get the coin toss but we didn’t and for the rest of the night you’re playing from behind and they can do whatever they want because Jerome Messam’s getting downhill and Bo Levi Mitchell is playing well.
“You can’t start like that against a good team. You can’t put yourself in a hole like that.”
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 10, 2016
Messam, who trucked Argonaut defenders all game long, became the first running back this season to surpass 1,000 yards rushing with the 133 he recorded against Toronto, and his quarterback Mitchell put up 281 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
With the win, Calgary (13-1-1) clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
There was never any sense that Toronto (5-10) would mount a comeback and that perhaps mixed with their postseason hopes fading, frustration mounted with under three minutes to go before halftime.
With Calgary up 25-6 at this point and looking for more points at Toronto’s goal-line, a wrestling match between the Stamps’ Kamar Jorden and the Argos Devin Smith ensued in the end zone well after a three-yard rush from Messam.
Smith’s teammate, Josh Mitchell, jumped in slapping Jorden’s helmet and then that of Calgary’s Marquay McDaniel before the two teams were separated by the officials.
Surprisingly, Mitchell remained in the game while Smith and McDaniel were tossed.
Argonauts’ quarterback Drew Willy was efficient going 26-of 31 for 215 yards and two TDs, but the bulk of those numbers were recorded with the game well out of reach. Toronto’s first major didn’t come until the 11:32 mark of the third frame when Willy hit Kenny Shaw for a 10-yard pass.
The Argos rushing attack was nonexistent, with Brandon Whitaker, the CFL’s second-leading rusher coming into the game being held to -3 yards on just 3 carries.
“That one definitely hurts, they’re a good football team but we obviously didn’t play our A game and against that team you need to play a great game,” said Willy, who was sacked six times on the night. “Have to look at the film and get better from it, we got a short week here so we got to move on to (Saskatchewan).
With just three games remaining in the regular season, including another one with these Stampeders, the Argos more than likely need to win the rests of their contests if they’re going to earn a spot in the post-season.
They missed a golden opportunity to make up ground in the abysmal Eastern Division with Ottawa losing this week and Hamilton off on a bye.