It was not MBT’s statistically best game, but it felt like his best as an Argo. He did have a 70% completion rate and two touchdowns, but it was a more a feel. He was not going to let the Argos lose this game. The offense got off to a slow start and even in the 4th Quarter a few passes sailed on him as he put extra heat on them, but he challenged with the deep ball and he made no bad decisions. It felt like a playoff win.
WIDE RECEIVERS: A-
Two big developments for the future in this game as Daniels was fed the ball more and he rewarded that with a terrific touchdown catch. MORE TARGETS for Double D. The second was the emergence of Cameron Phillips as a real weapon for the team. If he can be the player we see on film, that is a huge add to the team especially as it gets healthier. Banks still has a drop issue and needs to secure the ball faster, but his speed and versatility keeps defenses working as MBT likes to throw to him all over the field.
RUNNING BACKS: B
I am on the record about my deep appreciation for the edge, toughness and drive that Andrew Harris brings to the offense but the Argos need to find a way to scheme up more inside run and get some more use out of their fullbacks on offense. I’m going to ding the coaches for the lack of success today on the ground. And for the love of all that is holy, can we get Harris a TD run???
OFFENSIVE LINE: B+
A mixed grade as is often the case with the unit, as they absolutely crushed a huge challenge, keeping an elite Riders D line in check. The pass blocking was fantastic, keeping MBT healthy and giving him time to punish the run blitzes with deep passes, even with the occasional MBT ordered hit to make him feel part of the game. And Bladek sets a tone of angry pass blocking which is great to watch. However, the run blocking is still a work in progress; Today was tough as Sask sent a lot of pressure and manpower to stop the run. It was a good performance and there are guys on the line absolutely gutting it out with injuries, they are an impressive unit.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A
Welcome back CN POWER! Oakman was the most energized Argo (just ahead of Harris) in the warmups and that resulted in him absolutely setting a tone all game. He had two sacks, a bunch of holding penalties called because of his pressure and he single handedly made the 3-man line work which is a huge advantage for the Argos. I really loved Davis’s game today as well. They are a dangerous duo. We talked pregame about keeping the Sask running game in check and the line helped get it done.
This new trio, The Doom Patrol, of Muamba, McManis and Edwards was the best unit on the field and a joy to behold. Edwards return brought a blue flame edge to the physicality of the whole team and his elite coverage ability opens so many different looks for the D. Muamba continues to bull doze fools who wander into the middle of the field and McManis has become a leader and he did what real leaders do; he won the damn game with the winning pick 6.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: B+
Yes, Fajardo threw for 284 and two touchdowns, so there was sill still some zone issues and maybe a few first downs were given up by a soft sticks zone, but this unit shut down the Riders when needed. Jamal Peters had a terrific game with 5 tackles, a sack and a few great pass break ups and obviously Shaq icing the game was the perfect ending for a man who had been so disrespected by his opponent. The unit has really improved its tackling in space, and they set the edge well on jets and outside runs.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Bede was 2 for 3 on field goals and his miss was very close. He has not kicked at his rate last year, but still fine for now. The punt return solution does not look to be Dejon Brissett, as he suffered the same no space that all the Argos PR have faced this year. Is there a way to draw more ‘no yards’ flags as a unit? That would definitely help. The coverage on KR and PR remains solid and a shout to the original Hagerty as Josh Hagerty continues to shine on special teams and is an absolute dog on punt return.
Coaching is a results-based category more than any and it was a terrific performance. To take a team on the road to the other side of the country, with PR events and new facilities and a new field and still have them that ready to play is impressive. As well the crowd was almost entirely for Saskatchewan, so they had to deal with the noise of a road game while playing at “home”. And I really dig the energy of defensive backs coach, Josh Bell. Being close to the sideline this game, I could see how he brings an intensity to the unit but also knows when to calmly go over fundamentals and his running on to the field to protect Shaq Richardson in the 4th was what all good coaches do, protect the unit.