Toronto Argonauts: 3 takeaways from narrow victory over Tiger-Cats

Nick Arbuckle #9 of the Toronto Argonauts reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first quarter at BMO Field. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)
Nick Arbuckle #9 of the Toronto Argonauts reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first quarter at BMO Field. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images) /

In a rematch of the Labour Day Classic, the Toronto Argonauts were able to make the necessary adjustments to earn another victory at home.

The game was probably closer than it should have been but the Toronto Argonauts prevailed over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17-16 at BMO Field.

It took some time but Toronto would eventually strike first as a pass interference penalty put Nick Arbuckle in a position to sneak the ball in to take the 7-0 lead. D.J. Foster would increase the Argos lead to 14-0 after D.J. Foster made a great solo effort for a 40-yard touchdown.

Hamilton would eventually cut into the lead as Papi White broke past the Argos’ secondary for a 39-yard touchdown. Toronto would add to their lead with a 26-yard field goal for Boris Bede to make it 17-7 before the Tiger-Cats made a big push at the end.

In the late stages of the fourth quarter, Hamilton would cut into the Argonauts lead as Dane Evans made a couple of impressive plays to put his team in field goal position. After getting within a touchdown down 17-10, Nick Arbuckle threw an errant ball that looked like it was destined for a sideline but got picked off.

David Watford would come in at quarterback with Evans injured and he helped the team get within an extra point after Sean Thomas-Erlington scampered into the end zone on a 21-yard run. Unfortunately for the Tiger-Cats rookie Michael Domagala hit the goal post on the extra point meaning the Argonauts were able to secure the 17-16 win.

Here are some takeaways from the game and going forward.

Running game a major factor in the Toronto Argonauts’ success on offence

While Ryan Dinwiddie isn’t shy about putting the ball in Arbuckle’s hands, getting the running game to be a factor especially early on hasn’t gone unnoticed.

In this game, John White rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries while Foster led the team in receiving with 63 yards. Without those contributions, this game could have gone in a different direction.

Through five games this season, the Argonauts have 473 yards on the ground which has them just in front of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for second in the league albeit with a few teams having a good chance to move past them.

Only Montreal and Edmonton are averaging more than 100 yards per game this season and that’s also because they both run the ball with featured running backs that are central parts of their offence. At the same time, the Argos should feel comfortable handing the ball off to White and Foster considering they are averaging 94.6 yards per game which is good for fourth in the league.

This will also help the offensive line that’s missing a key part in Philip Blake which meant that rookie Peter Nicastro had to shift to centre and Shane Richards coming in at left guard. As long as the Argos remain effective with the run, expect Dinwiddie to take advantage.

Toronto Argonauts defence continues to find ways to push through injuries

It says a lot that about this Argonauts defence that they continue to be a focal point of this team’s success without Charleston Hughes, Cordarro Law, Shane Ray, Drake Nevis, Kony Ealy, Crezdon Butler and Robertson Daniel in the lineup.

Credit defensive coordinator Glen Young and players like Shawn Oakman and Eli Harold who were instrumental in getting pressure on Dane Evans. Toronto finished with four sacks, three pass knockdowns and an interception which is notable considering how much the Argos offence struggled to move the ball in the second half.

Arbuckle made sure to praise them again after a strong performance and knows the team’s success is driven by how the defence plays.

“I think our defence has come out in both home games and have been very dominant,” Arbuckle said after the game. “They’re tough, they talk, they hit, they play fast. We always feel like on offence even when we don’t get points, our defence still has our back, they’re going give us the ball back in good field position, That that kind of defence allows us to play with a lot of confidence on offence.”

Arbuckle looking to fix miscues as Toronto Argonauts offence searching for big plays

There were opportunities for Arbuckle to hit a receiver deep and no play proved that more than when he missed Chandler Worthy by inches in the second half.

He said after the game that with more practice those plays can be rectified and this was Worthy’s first game of the season with only two days on the field to prepare for it. At the same time, there were certainly moments where the Argonauts offensive line struggled to give Arbuckle the time he needed to launch the ball deep.

He also admits to making a bad play that game Hamilton a chance to tie the game as he attempted to throw it on the sideline but instead it was caught by the Tiger-Cats defender. Those are the type of plays that could mean the difference between winning and losing and for Toronto, they know they were fortunate to come away with the win.

The Argos will go back on the road to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they try to improve on their 1-2 record away from BMO Field and hold their lead in the CFL East Division.