Report Card vs BC
QUARTERBACK - A
Not a perfect night, with a bad game changing fumble on a house blitz but MBT never gave up. He had long stretches where no one was open but he kept working to win the damn game and he did it. He ended up with 352 yards and a touchdown and had a touchdown dropped early on. This is the gamer that I have been defending and praising all summer. That touchdown to Tommy Nield was a perfect throw and it was a game winner. That’s what you ask of your starting quarterback.
WIDE RECEIVERS - A
On a night where every receiver was starting at a new position from the last week, this was a pretty good showing by the unit. Markeith Ambles is definitely a future star in the CFL, he can run all the routes, has great hands and as he gets used to CFL defenses and where to find the soft zones, he will be an incredible asset. He still runs the deep over and the post well and I think he should have caught that touchdown, but it was a terrific night for him with 121 yards and 63 YAC! KGJ was rock solid as always and Cam Phillips had the play of the game on his deep route.
RUNNING BACKS – C+
BC did not cede the box to the running game the way Calgary did, which was an odd choice. But you do you BC. Oullette runs so violently and with such will, it is impossible to not cheer for him and I know the defense loves when he goes full Juggernaut (my name for him moving forward) and bounces linebackers or God help them a db who finds him in space. I still stand behind my belief that the majority of his runs need motion and misdirection, as he can shoot a seam, but he isn’t quick enough to make one. His catches out of the backfield may not look like much on the stat sheet tonight, but they help MBT get into a rhythm and that is vital for team success.
OFFENSIVE LINE - B-
Still a unit looking for a great game, but they get the job done. Yes, MBT was sacked 3 times and one caused a fumble and they were not able to impose the running game on the Lions until the final few plays. BUT they kept MBT upright long enough to throw some gorgeous deep passes and his 352 is built on their shoulders. The midfield, 2nd down drive killing sack is becoming a bit ominous, however. An area to look at.
DEFENSIVE LINE - A
I thought this was one of the best games the D line played all season, impressive as it was without Ray. Ja’Gared Davis was excellent tonight, he led the team with 6 tackles and 2 sacks, set the edge, chased Adams around the pocket, kept the vibes right. He has been a superb free agent signing. The unit did a great job of keeping Adams from rolling or getting first downs with his legs and that was the key to victory. They had 3 sacks and easily could have had another 3 as they dominated the line play. Robbie Smith has been a solid contributor all season as well, who might not get the headlines, but he has been valuable.
LINEBACKERS – B
A lot of moving parts with McManis out for a few more weeks but they kept a very good back in Butler largely in check. He was able to break off some big runs on cutbacks where it looked the backer was washed out by a lineman getting to the second level. That will often happen with inexperience at the position. I feared BC might try and punish the chaos at the position with screens and low crossers, but they didn’t allow it to happen. Muamba’s presence is even more valuable now til the return of WM. You didn’t hear it from me…. but I might let Cassar blitz on some obvious passing downs or have him hunt screens.
DEFENSIVE BACKS - B
Another unit moving everyone around the chess board, but it largely worked tonight. Adams had no idea what he was looking at in the first quarter and Chris Edwards absolutely demolished some poor receivers who were sent to the flats to die. Robert Priester flashed all game, with a forced fumble and a near pick and great coverage. The two touchdowns in the air were not highlight moments. The first was just two dbs not sure of who was doing what as they were there at same time and the second seemed to be a bust for Edwards, but they kept the passing game in check.
SPECIAL TEAMS - A
Special teams won this game for the Argos. Beede was in form going 3 for 3 on fgs and 2 for 2 on converts, that is the version of him we need for a playoff run. The kick cover team was in top form with Hoyte and Cassar absolutely screaming down the field to deliver punishment. AND…the return game had some spice! I have been a fan of Leake, he definitely is the best returner the Argos have tried over the year and he showed last night that he can be useful. Ok…the punt return game is still pedestrian at an 8-yard clip = but we seem good at drawing no yards. The kick return game was much better, with a 24-yard average, keeping pace with Terry Williams on BC. Haggerty started the game off slow with some very mediocre punts, but he had the play of the game with a cross field run and tackle his rugby coach would be proud of to stop a touchdown return that would have cost the Argos the game.
COACHING - B+
I LOVED the aggressive third down decisions in the game after the first drive. Far too many teams are afraid to push it but the Argos should try more often when the defense is having a good night. Burning the last timeout on a soft PI was probably a mistake and more effort to keep a timeout/challenge for the last five minutes is needed. The defensive gameplan kept BC guessing for most of the first half and they never really got comfortable. This was a huge win for the confidence of the team and a notice to the league that the East will be heard from.