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  • Reeve Batstone

Culture Club

Last week I said that in order for the Argos to beat the Lions they would need to win the turnover battle and tighten up their kick coverage. Wow, did they ever! Six interceptions and a punt return TD later, the Argos delivered in a highly entertaining game.

Chad Kelly continued to demonstrate composure and focus and managed the game well. He completed 79% of his passes and for an excellent 115 passer rating. By comparison, Vernon Adams completed 62% for a disappointing 56 passer rating. It's hard to imagine that Adams could have played worse and it's unlikely that he will plumb these depths again.

Special teams coach Mickey Donovan must be ecstatic about the improvement in kick coverage and punt return. The blocking on Leake's TD was exceptional and proved to be the turning point in the game. Six interceptions, three by Robertson Daniel, is almost unheard of. Vernon Adams should take heart, remarkably some of the CFLs best quarterbacks are responsible for some of its worst performances. Three time Grey Cup MVP Sonny Wade shares the record for most INTs in a single game (1972) with two other QBs including Ticats legend, Bernie Faloney (1958). They threw seven INTs. Former Argos QB and Super Bowl champion, Joe Theismann, threw five in one game and a total of nine in a two game span in 1972. Four of these interceptions went to Ti-Cat safety Al Brenner, who set the league record of 15 INTs in a 14 game schedule. The CFL single game record for interceptions is five, first set by NFL and CFL coaching legend, Bud Grant, who intercepted five passes vs Saskatchewan in a 1953 playoff game. Perhaps Grant's experience in getting rebounds in the NBA played a role in his success. Prior to individual stats being kept, the record was seven INTs by Joe Zelikovitz of Ottawa against Hamilton in 1938. Zelikovitz was popularly known as Zeli or the Flying Hebrew.

Situational Awareness

Football IQ is a cliche term. Nevertheless, it was on full display Monday as Andrew Harris had the presence of mind to throw the ball away after having a run play strung out and facing a likely six yard loss. Two other Argos without his veteran experience struggled. Cam Phillips failed to go down, and by extending the play after a catch wasted a chance to try a FG as the clock ran out at the end of the first half. A visibly upset Ryan Dinwiddie threw his headset in frustration then walked onto the field to check on his injured receiver. The other play was less obvious and more forgivable. Tavarus McFadden made an excellent interception on a third and four gamble by the Lions. Knocking the ball down would have gained the Argos about 22 yards of field position. Calling an INT a mental error is harsh.

More Lions, fewer Tigers BC is a very good football team and remained very much in the game until Adams served up his fifth INT. Each team registered three sacks. Notwithstanding Leake's pivotal punt return TD, the difference in this game was that the Argos shut down the BC running game limiting them to 52 yards and an average 3.7 yards per carry. This forced Adams into second a long situations and under continuous pass rush he made some very poor decisions and throws that the Argos secondary pounced on. It is unfortunate that the Argos do not have another game scheduled against BC this year. It would beat the heck out of yet another beat-down of the Ti-Cats. These teams are at risk of playing each other again in November. Finally, Ryan Dinwiddie's comments a couple of weeks ago regarding the Argos excellent culture this year should not be overlooked. The Argos appear to be more focused and it's not lost on anyone that they seem to be better off without a couple of high profile veterans from last year's team. As yet, they have been a composed team with no obvious conflict between players and coaches. So far, it looks like a very tight ship.

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