Report Card vs Calgary
Clearly MBT’s worst game since the BC debacle. I can imagine fans might be clamouring for an F here, but McLeod was let down by his line; the protection was not great and the ability to rush 3 and drop the 41st Battalion into the secondary made things very tough on the quarterback. Nevertheless, it says here 50 percent passing percentage and two interceptions is a terrible night on the job. MBT has always been a streaky quarterback and Calgary never let him get into a rhythm and forced him to try and lead a comeback, which is not where his skill sets lie. Kelly looked like a QB who needs more time in his short cameo.
Wide Receivers: F
I have praised this unit all season for depth and skill but their weakness was on display tonight. This is not a fast group and so tight man coverage can really put a clamp on what can be an explosive offense. I don’t think this flaw is fatal but more scheme solutions are needed. They tend to have nights where the ball is dropped a lot, and this was one of them. The Daniels miss hurt the chances of a comeback and Calgary was able to eliminate Banks and KGJ. One bright spot, it was great to see Cam Phillips back.
Running Backs: B
A decent game from Oullette. It may be that Calgary was ok with having a softer run defense and having a crowded secondary, but AJ still took advantage of his situation and ran for an average of 7.3 yards per carry! That is an astonishing number and suggests maybe more run should be the plan, to punish the game planning. 85 yards from scrimmage is a great contribution on a night where not much was working. Hopefully Daniel Adeboboye is alright after sustaining an injury early in the game.
Offensive Line: C-
Not a good night. Calgary was chasing MBT all night and the inability to take care of a three-man rush led to two huge drive-killing sacks. All was not lost as they were able to dominate a light box to run the ball effectively. The new addition, Ryan Hunter, will take some time to get used to Canadian ball before he can play tackle with regularity, but his work at left guard featured some successful reps as well as a few learning opportunities.
Defensive Line: B-
Is it possible to have a decent grade on a night that looked like a washout embarrassment? Yes! The defense kept Calgary, at home, to 14 points into the 4th quarter. And the first touchdown was a tilted field from a turnover deep in the Argos' end. The defensive line lost Ray early which was definitely a morale blow as much as a system issue but still played really well. Oakman was dialed in all night and while Calgary was able to get over 160 yards rushing, the running game was not so dominant as to cost them the game.
McManis watch is all that matters now with this grade. It looked like it could be sprain rather than a tear but it was part of a brutal first quarter that helped bury the Argos in Calgary. As we have been lucky enough to experience since his signing, Henoc Muamba stepped up in the absence and caught two interceptions that unfortunately the offense was not able to convert, but Muamba was doing what he could. Hoyte nearly had a pick in the second half that would have been huge. The running game found success on the edge, so is that a linebacker scraping issue. I don’t know, but they have to take some of the hit for the running success. With McManis hopefully just out a few games, I’m really hoping to see Edwards flash once again as one of the best in the CFL.
Defensive Backs: B+
Calgary only threw for 175 yards in the air and were kept in check until the end of the game. 22 of Calgary's 29 points came off turnovers. The positive to take from this game is that the defense showed up and played elite ball on the road against the second-best team in the CFL. The dark cloud of the game, is that we saw this same movie when Calgary came to Toronto and the offense could not match the success rate of the defense. Even without Peters, the secondary kept Calgary under wraps and if Amos closes that interception, maybe that helps the offense score as well. They did their job tonight.
Special Teams: C
I have given Bede a pass this season for some misses, saying he hit the big ones, but missing that kick was really a gut punch for a team that was struggling so badly offensively. The coverage teams were again excellent and the return teams were again decidedly non-excellent. A game like this is where not having any game-breakers in the return game to add in points or spark a drive with great field position really hurts. It is a three-phase game (O, D and ST) and often they are short one.
As was mentioned on the broadcast, Calgary seemed to be reading Toronto’s mail on offense. Maybe the overlap in offensive philosophies is too much to change for one game, but clearly the staff has not been able to create an offensive game-plan that works against Calgary. On the flip side of this coin, the defensive staff had a terrific plan and despite injuries to two of their best players, kept Calgary to two scores for most of the game which should be enough for a win. Maybe a little more success stopping the run was needed. A bounce-back in strategy and execution is definitely needed versus BC.