Toronto Argonauts: Canada Day loss sets up must win scenario vs. Lions

A helmet of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
A helmet of the Toronto Argonauts. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /

Just three games into the season, the Toronto Argonauts find themselves with their backs against the wall.

The Toronto Argonauts struggled out of the gate in their marquee Canada Day clash Monday night, losing 32-7.

The boatmen fell into an early hole, and trailed 13-0 at the first quarter mark. By the time the two-hour weather delay began, the deficit had grown to 25-0.

The early game woes were a familiar sight for Argos fans, who saw the team struggle to gain first downs in their last game against the Ti-Cats.

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The Argos went two and out in a third of their first-half drives, and that lack of ball movement is what caused the lack of offence.

Their rushing again failed to dictate any type of progression during the game, though it wasn’t for a lack of trying – five different Argos rushed the ball throughout the night.

Yes, James Wilder Jr. was able to improve upon the underachieving performance from the season opener, but the rushing game was still held out of the end zone – leaving the Argos the only team in the CFL who have yet to score a rushing touchdown.

With the B.C. Lions coming to town this weekend, it is easy for the Toronto Argonauts to remain optimistic.

It is still early, after all, and if coach Chamblin could pick one team in the CFL to face, it would probably be the other winless team.

But there are two things that should give Chamblin and the Argos pause – and ratchet up the pressure in what will be the third game of this Argos season.

The first is the schedule; and the second – these B.C. Lions aren’t as bad as their record shows.

Biased or not, you have to feel for the Argonauts early-season schedule, they were given no favours from the league office.

A busy summer for TFC means the Argos only play one home game in the entire month of July, despite having a full slate of five games.

Add in the fact that four of their first six games are on the road (all in the competitive Western division), and this weekend’s clash could be the last chance the Argos have to right themselves before it’s too late.

What works in their favour is the back-loaded schedule of home and divisional games, which should keep the Argos competitive as long as they can survive until then. But the rest of the East is not slowing down, and with two undefeated teams already in the division, the Argos need to get back to winning ways fast.

Which brings us to the next issue –the 0-2 B.C. Lions, who are in the same predicament, but with much better stats to show for it.

The Lions failed to close out the Stampeders over the weekend, squandering a lead that should have earned them their first victory of the season.

But one thing lost in that collapse was the tremendous rushing defence exhibited by the Lions, who held the Stampeders to 30 net-total rushing yards in the entire game.

If that same defence shows up on Saturday night, the Argos will be hard pressed to break through the Lions line, and it could be up to James Franklin to lead the team to victory.

To their credit, the Toronto Argonauts are all saying the right things.

They know the whole they have dug themselves is not insurmountable.

They know they haven’t played their best.

But if the offence sputters again, this upcoming three-game road trip could quickly spiral out of control.

“You can’t win the Grey Cup in June,” was a common line in the locker room after the season opener.

They’re right.

But July might be a different story.

Next. Looking at what Cody Ceci’s role could be this season. dark