A week ago, the Toronto Argonauts used all three phases to rally and beat the Tiger-Cats with a second-half surge. The same script applied in Week 10, only the roles were reversed. Similar to week 9, the road team had several opportunities to put the home team away but couldn’t and faltered down the stretch.
Hamilton gave Toronto a dose of their own medicine from Week 9. The Ticats made big plays on special teams, defense, and offense to outscore Toronto 20-6 in the second half, on their way to a 34-27 victory. Had it not been for a late Boris Bede field goal, Week 10’s battle of the QEW would have had a very similar score, to Week 9, with the home team scoring 34 points.
In a telltale sign that the game’s script wasn’t going to have a favorable ending for Toronto. They lost one of their top receivers in warm-ups. And on the very first play of the game, the Argonauts were flagged for a delay penalty on the opening kick-off.
Instead of taking advantage and delivering a potential kill shot to a wounded rival. The Toronto Argonauts have given new life to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats season.
The now 4-4 Argos and 3-6 Ticats will happily take a week off from each other. Rounds 3 and 4 between the provincial rivals will resume on Friday, August 26th, and then culminate on Labour Day, Monday, September 5th.
A rejuvenated Hamilton squad is off to play a 3-6 Alouettes team in Montreal. The Als are also breathing new life after slaying the Winnipeg dragon. When the smoke clears next Friday night, the Ticats or Alouettes will be 4-6, riding a two-game win streak. The East is alive and well. And Toronto has left the door open for someone else to take their tentative spot on top.
The Boatmen will be back home playing the Calgary Stampeders next Saturday. The team has plenty of injury concerns and question marks as they head towards a crucial game at BMO. But before we break towards Week 11. Let’s break down different aspects of the Argos against Hamilton in Week 10.
Toronto Argonauts Week 10 Report Card
Coaching Grade: C minus
Tough week for the entire Argonauts coaching staff. All three phases failed the team—a complete role reversal from Week 9.
Injuries certainly didn’t help the coaching staff’s cause.
However, The Argos staff had no answers as the game progressed. Ryan Dinwiddie’s offense continues to go through dry spells in every game they play. They were fortunate to score two touchdowns in the first half. The first time came after a Robbie Smith interception set them up inside Hamilton’s five-yard line. The second Argos major came from a myriad of penalties against the Ticats defense and special teams.
Corey Mace’s defense started to wear down late. His unit faltered in critical spots.
Mickey Donovan, who was a hero a week ago, saw his special team’s coverage units single-handedly keep Hamilton in the game.
Up by seven late in the game, Ryan Dinwiddie’s decision to punt the ball on third and short near midfield backfired immensely against him. Even though Lawrence Woods’s game-tying punt 87-yard td return was called back.
The Argos had the momentum of the game turning against them. And they needed to stem the tide there. Dinwiddie failed the team in that sequence, and it was his worst moment and decision as a head coach.
Quarterback Grade: B minus
Statistically, McLeod Bethel Thompson’s numbers weren’t bad. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 287 yards and one touchdown. But the Argos’ inability to finish drives falls on his shoulders. In his defense, Thompson is not getting much help right now. And he has shown outstanding toughness in the pocket. But MBT has to shoulder some blame for the team’s inability to produce points.
Running Back Grade: B minus
Andrew Harris got off to a good start against Hamilton, averaging over six yards per rush. But unfortunately, he went down early to a shoulder injury. No concrete update yet on his status moving forward.
AJ Ouellette did a good job coming off the bench, running for 47 hard-earned yards on ten carries. Ouellette also had three receptions for 36 yards. Declan Cross always plays a pivotal role, but he showed up on the stat sheet with two receptions for 22 yards. Cross went down late to injury. It would be a crushing blow to lose one of the team’s best role players.
Wide Receiver Grade: C minus
A rough week for the overall group. And that’s before the game even started. Eric Rogers went back on the six-game shelf after playing one game. Juwan Brescasin wasn’t ready to return. Cam Phillips injured his groin in warm-ups. Tommy Nield, who filled in admirably temporarily, and then he went down to injury. So that left Toronto thinner than usual at a pretty deep position for the team.
DaVaris Daniels (4-49-1td) and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (4-38) made some standout plays but not enough. Especially late in the game in crucial situations. Brandon Banks was targeted eight times but only finished with two receptions for 27 yards. Markeith Ambles contributed with five receptions for 51 yards.
The entire receiving corps is not delivering any plays of significance, and they are struggling to get open downfield. Hamilton’s talented secondary won the battle with them two weeks in a row. The Argos receivers could not create separation.
Offensive Line Grade: C
There was more room in the run game, but the pass protection continues to be shaky. The Argos line gave up another three sacks this week and countless pressures. The QB has been bailing out the offensive line by standing tall in the pocket and evading defenders. But sooner or later, McLeod Bethel-Thompson is going to get injured. Micah Johnson had a field day against Toronto’s line. The rookie Gregor MacKellar has shown flashes, but as expected, he lacks consistency.
The laughable issues that the Argos have on QB sneaks is probably the most significant blemish on the team and its offensive line. The play itself should not require gimmicks to work. It’s a joint operation with the QB and o-line upfront. But the fact that Toronto’s line can’t get a push for one yard when the d-line is way off the line of scrimmage is puzzling.
Defensive Line Grade: C minus
For the second week in a row against Hamilton’s front. The Argos’ big-ticket players, Shane Ray, JaGared Davis, and Shawn Oakman, didn’t get to the quarterback or make any impact plays. Davis could’ve had a sack, but he was flagged for a facemask penalty.
Robbie Smith’s interception turned the game in Toronto’s favor early. It was a heck of a play—the one standout moment from this group.
The most significant issue with the Argos’ defensive line was their lack of gap discipline. Hamilton ran through and around them for long gains. The Ticats averaged seven yards per run play.
Linebackers Grade: B
Wynton McManis and Henoc Muamba continue to play at an elite level in coverage and against the run. McManis had seven tackles and a sack. Chris Edwards also played well for the most part.
Secondary Grade: C +
Injuries affected Toronto’s pass defense. Particuarly on the back end of the secondary, and it didn’t help that the unit was already without Shaq Richardson and then lost his replacement Robert Priester early on.
Despite all that, The Argos’ secondary was pretty sound all game, except for a few key plays. Unfortunately, there was one specific player who had a rough day at the office.
Dashaun Amos was flagged for PI near the end zone, which led to Hamilton’s first major. Amos was out of position on Tim White’s game-tying 60-yard touchdown catch. And he was also late to fill the gap on Sean Thomas-Erlington’s touchdown run. Three easy scores for Hamilton fell under his watch.
It wasn’t only Amos who struggled in Toronto’s secondary; see Tarvaris McFadden’s misplay on a two-point conversion pass in his direction. Those three specific misplays by Amos decided the game.
Special Teams Grade: C minus
On a positive note, Boris Bede and punter John Haggerty had good games. Long snapper Max Latour also had a nice outing filling in for the injured Jake Reinhart.
Unfortunately, the good on Toronto’s special teams was overshadowed greatly by the ugly.
Toronto’s coverage units against Hamilton had their worst performance of the season. They were abysmal. Poor angles, lack of discipline, and missed tackles were the order of the day. Lawrence Woods averaged an astounding 25 yards per punt return. And that’s with an 87-yard play called back. Woods had over 200 yards on returns and nearly scored on multiple occasions.
A week after aiding the Argos to victory, Mickey Donovan’s special teams unit was a significant reason why the Argonauts lost.
Toronto Argonauts Overall Team Grade: C minus
The Argonauts should have won Friday’s game. They had Hamilton on the ropes and down to their third quarterback. Injuries certainly played a role in Toronto falling apart and running out of gas. But all season long, Toronto hasn’t been able to string together quality football for four quarters in every game they play.
Twice this season, against Ottawa and Hamilton, the Double Blue have had opponents on the ropes and prone to a knockout, but the Argos have failed to capitalize.
Every time it appears that the Argonauts are ready to head towards easy street. They take an adverse turn back into uncertainty. That’s where the team is right now as it heads towards the mid-way point of their season.