TORONTO — It’s not often that a football team goes 1-1 in a single week, but that’s the reality in Argo Land after playing two games in five days in an uncommon Week 8.
It’s been eight years since a team has faced this rare occurrence. In Week 6 of the 2005 campaign, it was these same Argos that ran-up against a packed seven day schedule and came away with wins over Montreal and Winnipeg.
This past week, Toronto had a strong showing on Tuesday night against Winnipeg, winning 38-21. But on the backend of the busy week, the team faded down the stretch and suffered a 33-17 setback to BC.
Knowing the challenges of the tight timetable, head coach Scott Milanovich wasn’t too critical of the loss.
“I’m not disappointed with our effort,” Milanovich told the media during the post-game press conference.
“We had a chance, but we made too many mistakes.”
One of those mistakes was on special teams. The Argos cover teams had some trouble throughout the contest and BC Lions return man Tim Brown was able to take advantage. The Stockton, California native’s 249 return yards garnered him Special Teams Player of the Week honours.
A bright spot for the Argos was the team’s defence in both games. Toronto limited the offensive opportunities of the first (Winnipeg) and second (BC) highest scoring teams heading into the busy week.
“I’m very comfortable with where they are going and what they’re doing.” Milanovich continued, “They kept us in this game tonight.”
Despite the loss, the Argos still sit atop the East with a 3-5 record as the halfway point of the 2014 season draws closer. However, coach and team are hardly satisfied with the team’s first place standing.
“It’s certainly better than not being in first place, but I know we are disappointed with our record.”
Ricky Ray echoed on his coach’s remarks. When asked whether it sounds odd to say the Argos are tops in the East considering their record, he responded, “Of course it does, we’ve been lucky that every other team has been struggling.”
Moving forward, the Argos are banking on the team being able to add healthy bodies into lineup, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
An offence missing key cogs in Chad Owens, Andre Durie, Anthony Coombs, and Steve Slaton, among others, really tests the organization’s depth – especially when all those key absences come on one side of the football.
The schedule doesn’t get much easier for the Argos as the team hits the road for an extended stretch. Week 9 will see the Argos pay a visit to Edmonton where Ray will make his second trip back to the city where he starred for nine seasons in the green and gold.
Following that game, the Argos play the Ticats on Labour Day, before playing two more on the road until their next home date against Edmonton in Week 15.
With every team currently in the East Division only two games behind the Argonauts, the team must maintain focus and avoid any lapses in order to stay ahead of the pack.