Report Card at Montreal
QUARTERBACK - B
Not a superstar night, but a solid performance. 240 yards and 2 touchdowns is a good night all day and a third td is vultured on goal line with Kelly. The deep pass interception in the second half was terrible and I can’t imagine what he was looking at, but he did drive the team down the field for the late touchdown and for the winning rouge! He is still on pace for 5000 yards for the season, but I can’t imagine that he will be playing next week.
WIDE RECEIVERS – B+
Terrific game by Kurleigh Gittens Jr was definitely the headline for the unit. His touchdown catch was an excellent adjustment and he found space the entire game and he added in 58 yac. The depth will be huge for the playoffs. DaVaris Daniels flashed, and Ambles had the catch of the day out of bounds but overall, it was a good night of blocking and no bad drops…. although Banks needs to bring that sideline throw in.
RUNNING BACKS – B+
Juggernaut will not be denied! Ouellette has absolutely grown into being a legitimate CFL starter. He runs over defenders, has shown enough waggle to bounce it outside added 3 catches for 30 and had a tone setting run in the first half. He almost had one late and I think he should get the ball more on the goal line. What is the most exciting is what the backfield might look like with Harris and AJ together. Teams have almost no film on two back sets out of the Argos and I hope they have some install happening.
OFFENSIVE LINE – A-
Like a good ref, sometimes a terrific night for the O line is a night where you don’t notice them doing their job. I think I have been toughest on this unit this season, but tonight they were solid. Only one sack, some pressure but nothing MBT couldn’t deal with and some decent running lanes. The short yardage conversion is better as is the goal line work. Adding Ryan Hunter has helped solidify this line and with potentially two starters coming back for the playoffs, I love the depth and prospects for this group. Montreal is a good football team, but they did not dominate the line.
DEFENSIVE LINE – A-
Four sacks were amazing to see from a group that has not been able to get to the quarterback much this season. It was great seeing Oakman still controlling the middle of the line and Davis is an all star if he plays every game this season. The new kid Ali Fayed showed his ability to be a pure situational pass rusher, which is big considering Ray is gone. I was happy to see Barlow get a shoutout from 3 Down. Can this unit keep this attack up in the playoffs? It will be the difference between a shot at the Grey Cup or another day in the cold November rain. It felt like Montreal did run a lot today because of a late stretch of success but they were only able to run for just over 100 which is nothing for them.
LINEBACKERS – B+
Henoc Muamba was everything you want from a team captain tonight. He was all over the field, he had a near pick, punishing hits and a beautiful A gap sack late. He set the tone for a team that has lost a lot in Montreal lately, that they were not going to get pushed around on the road tonight. He led the team with 9 tackles and his play flashed constantly on the broadcast. Jonathan Jones moved over to the backer unit has been nice and had probably the turning point play of the game in the first few minutes with his pick. It absolutely kept the Montreal crowd in check and turn the early game the Argos way. The off-tackle runs is going to be an area to look at on tape.
DEFENSIVE BACKS – C+
This is a weird grade as there were some good plays tonight from the secondary breaking up passes and almost a nice pick by Carnell, but Harris threw for 413 at a 75 percent completion clip. That is no bueno. The scourge of a zone defense in the redzone seemed to be at work for one of the touchdowns and the last-minute touchdown to Lewis was a situation where better execution is needed. Edwards was a surprise scratch and hopefully he is back and healthy for the East Final.
SPECIAL TEAMS – C+
Obviously, one does not simply shut down a returner of the ability of Chandler Worthy…but the Argos did ok at tonight. However, if the Argos are going to face Montreal in the playoffs, an 18-yard average on returns is way too high, with a long of 41. On the other side, Javon Leake continues to catch the eye with some good kick returns, unfortunately the punt return game is a lost cause. Bede was not great tonight with two misses, but he did achieve a rouge for the win. Haggerty had a bomb punt and a nice corner bury punt, but I am a little concerned that the coaches might be more excited him than they should be. His is a good punter but he is not from where I’m sitting, a game changing punter who you build strategy around
COACHING – B
No early challenge mistake low hanging fruit tonight for the report card. I did not love the decision to punt over attempting the long field goal, but Bede was definitely not feeling it tonight, so I have backed down on my disagreement there. The pass defense bennnnnnnnnnnnt and while it didn’t break, it definitely cracked. It was a win in Montreal and that should always be celebrated.