Kenny Rodgers once sang “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em and know when to walk away.”
Toronto Argonauts head coach Corey Chamblin seemed to struggle with that on Friday against the visiting Calgary Stampeders.
Down by 17 in the second quarter and on the opposing two-yard line after a phenomenal 18-yard catch and run by James Wilder Jr., Chamblin elected to kick a nine-yard field goal.
Argonauts’ (2-10) fans weren’t the only ones left irritated by the decision.
“I’ll be honest if I say I wasn’t frustrated with that,” said Wilder Jr. after a 23-16 loss at BMO Field. “Just as a competitor and a running back it is frustrating.”
Later in the half with less than two minutes remaining, on a third-and-five from the 53-yard line, Chamblin decided to gamble and it ended poorly.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson was unable to hit Derel Walker and the play resulted in a turnover on downs, which the Stampeders turned into three more points before the half.
Following the defeat, the 42 year-old explained his decision making.
“It’s not Vegas, its football,” said Chamblin, in his post-game media availability Friday. “Our thought process was trying to get it down to a two-score game.
“When you’re down three scores it’s tough to win.”
The Birmingham, Alabama native went on to further unveil his strategy behind the gamble late in the second quarter.
“I thought it was third- and-two at that point,” said Chamblin. “It was at the end of the half, so my thought process was like if we can get a first down, maybe we can score and make it a one-score game.
“It’s all about the math for me.”
The third downs weren’t the only choices that faced coach Chamblin throughout the night, as he was forced to turn to his bench in favour of a new signal-caller.
Bethel-Thompson struggled to find his receivers and make plays all game compiling only 86 yards through the air on 12 of 19 completions, with no touchdowns and an interception.
James Franklin, who started the season as the Double Blue’s man under centre came in and had success with a 75 per cent completion rating and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Walker.
Despite Bethel-Thompson leading the league in passing touchdowns and at second in passing yards, Chamblin is faced with a decision to make for next week’s home matchup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“It will be hard for me to make this decision right after the game,” said Chamblin. “There are a lot of things going on in my head but we will meet tomorrow and sit down with our coaching staff and players and then make a decision.”
Franklin lost his starting job to McLeod Bethel-Thompson after missing six games due to a hamstring injury. The 28-year-old is unsure of what’s to come in the remaining six games.
“I’ve had a lot of expectations this year and none of them have come true,” said Franklin, asked if he believes he’s done enough to earn a start next week. “I’m going to stop expecting things and just go with what I get.
“It’s not up to me so we’ll see.”
Bethel-Thompson was not available post-game for comment.