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24th of October 2018

International



Missed field goal gives Riders win over Argos

The misery continues for the Argos, a team that does not know how to win, even when it gives itself a chance, which hasn’t been often this season.

Defensively, the Argos were pretty good in the second half, liming the visiting Riders to only six points, but the Boatmen couldn’t kick field goals when it mattered and when Saskatchewan sent the proverbial house on a patented Chris Jones pressure scheme, the Argos could not complete a pass that would have scored a touchdown and potentially provide some hope in a season that is going down the toilet quickly.

In the end, the Riders held on for a 30-29 win Saturday night, aided by a missed 36-yard field goal by the Argos’ Zack Medeiros, who then missed from 51 yards with seconds left that would have given the Argos a much-needed victory.

With the loss, the Argos now drop to 3-9, their playoff hopes fading as they hit the road for back-to-back games against Calgary and the B.C. Lions.

The kicking game has been one of many season-long issues that have plagued the Argos and it bit them hard for yet another time on a night when the Argos’ defence scored a touchdown, when McLeod Bethel-Thompson delivered, for the most part, but failed in the decisive moment in cover zero with a wide open S.J. Green running down the middle of the field with no Riders defender within 15 yards of the all-star slot.

But perhaps the late-game breakdowns, which included the two missed field goals and the inability to execute in the face of pressure, provided the perfect microcosm for a season gone terribly bad to the point where one is left to wonder what, if any, crowd will be around to watch an Argos team that is destined to miss the playoffs after winning last fall’s Grey Cup.

How dramatic a turnaround, how daunting a task to keep this beleaguered boat afloat, it’s anyone’s guess how this team can possibly rebound from such a painful defeat.

All losses are crushing, but this one will resonate because this was devastating.

It’s now just a matter of time and mathematics before this season is toast, if it isn’t already.

MLSE will have to clean house and it’ll be interesting to see if it has the nerve to make the right changes.

“It’s the most recent, so I will say it’s the one that hurts the most right now,’’ said head coach Marc Trestman of Toronto’s setback to the Riders. “We came off a bye week, excellent week of practice, guys ready to go from the start (of the work week). We just fell short to a good football team.”

The Riders are good, but they can also be bad and when the Argos played well the game had bite, a competitive edge and that much-required compelling ending, a back and forth slugfest that would see momentum shift in the second half.

Trumaine Washington had two picks, including a pick six.

James Wilder Jr. ran hard and he played well.

Duron Carter was barely noticeable, seldom targeted, which begs the question: Why play him if he isn’t part the package?

During a span of five plays in the second quarter, the Riders scored two touchdowns, which included an 82-yard run by Marcus Thigpen.

When the Argos found their groove offensively in the second half, they had to settle for field goals.

When a field goal was needed, Medeiros wasn’t able to come through.

They tried an onside kick, but it went out of bounds.

They yielded a touchdown when the Argos were called offside on a missed Riders field goal that gave Saskatchewan a new set of downs.

The list of miscues was long and yet the game was in Toronto’s hands because it played well enough in the second half after trailing 24-14 at the break.

The miss from 36 yards by Medeiros was made worse when Brett Lauther connected from 56 yards with 1:14 remaining.

Medeiros had a chance to make amends, but he missed again, this one from 51 yards, after Bethel-Thompson could not connect with Green as the pressure forced a quick throw.

“Everything was schemed in,’’ said Trestman of that missed throw at the end. “We anticipated they (Riders) would bring everybody. We maximized our protection and we just came up short.”

Coming up short has been Toronto’s calling card all season, but the past four games, all losses, have been killers, first in Montreal where Medeiros missed a field goal from 55 yards that would have sent the game into overtime.

Then came back to back losses to Hamilton and now Saturday’s setback to Saskatchewan.

“The season is not over from the standpoint we have more games to play,’’ said Trestman, whose team will spend roughly 10 days out West to prepare for the Stamps and Lions before returning home to play the Ticats. “We certainly have to stay focused on that and try to get better each and every day as a football team. We’re not there yet. We have a good football team. We saw some of it (Saturday night), saw some growth in all three phases. We had some critical mistakes that inhibited us along the way.”

Green was injured, Sean McEwen and Bear Woods also injured, but no immediate word on either player was available.

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