CFL Preview - Toronto (2-2) at Montreal (2-2)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Friday, July 27, 8:30 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Undefeated in two home games thus far in 2012, the Montreal
Alouettes try to keep the ball rolling as they entertain the Toronto Argonauts
in an East Division showdown at Stade Percival-Molson Stadium on Friday night.
Montreal head coach Marc Trestman was rewarded with a contract extension
following his 50th win a couple of weeks back, but he was unable to celebrate
his new riches as the Als bowed to Hamilton in Week 4 by a score of 39-24 on
The Montreal offense started off slowly against the Tiger-Cats in the last
outing, but it picked up some momentum in the third quarter before completely
shutting down en route to the double-digit setback.
Quarterback Anthony Calvillo converted 24-of-39 passes for 374 yards and three
touchdowns, but he was sacked twice and nearly had his one interception
returned for a touchdown by the Hamilton defense. Calvillo spread the ball to
seven receivers, with S.J. Green stretching his six catches into 110 yards
thanks in large part to his 54-yard effort down the middle of the field at one
The so-called running attack was ineffective for the Als as they generated
just 67 yards on 12 attempts.
The pass defense for the visitors had trouble slowing down Hamilton's Henry
Burris, as the signal-caller missed on a mere three throws and generated both
360 yards and four touchdowns.
As for the Argonauts, a team which has come up empty in two road dates so far
in 2012, they managed to slip by a winless Winnipeg squad last Wednesday with
a narrow 25-22 triumph at home in order to tie both Montreal and Hamilton for
first place in the East Division at 2-2.
It wasn't pretty by any means, but quarterback Ricky Ray stepped up big when
he needed to the most, combining with Jason Barnes on a 37-yard TD strike with
just over two minutes remaining in regulation to give the hosts the victory.
Ray hit on 23-of-34 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns, fighting through
a couple of sacks and an interception along the way.
Chad Owens, the league leader in combined yards each of the last two years,
had an up and down game as he reeled in a 37-yard TD strike from Ray late in
the second quarter, but also fumbled once following a catch and muffed a punt
which turned the ball back over to the Blue Bombers as well. Owens finished the
meeting with four catches for 63 yards, and he tacked on another 132 yards on
Now a more viable option on offense, Owens is second on the team and seventh in
the league in receiving with 21 receptions for 295 yards. Ahead of him in that
department is Andre Durie who has 28 grabs for 357 yards (third in the CFL),
and yet Durie is the only receiver in the top-10 without a major to this point
in the campaign.
Second in the league in combined yards with 1,010 after four games, Owens is
obviously a player that opponents like Montreal have to plan for, but the
sprite receiver/returner from Hawaii can also be his own worst enemy,
attempting to make his next move on the field without fully securing possession
of the ball. Should that trend continue, Owens could play himself right out of
the Toronto attack.
Ray continues to round himself into his new role as the starter for the
Argonauts after spending so many years with Edmonton. Ray is second in the
league in passing yards (1,262) and has completed close to 70 percent of his
attempts, although he still has just two more passing scores (six) than he
does interceptions (four).
The only quarterback ahead of Ray in passing yards is Calvillo (1,316) after
four games and while the Montreal signal-caller is second in the league in
passing TDs (10) and efficiency rating (106.8), his completion percentage
(.639) is a bit sub par compared to previous years for the all-time leader in
passing yards for professional football.
As far as this season's schedule is concerned, these teams are set to meet
again in Montreal on September 23 and then a few weeks later the Argonauts are
slated to host the Als in the third and final regular-season matchup.
In terms of the all-time, regular-season series between the squads, Montreal
owns a 106-82-3 edge stretching back to 1946. The Als delivered a 29-19 win at
home in the most recent matchup last October and have posted three straight
triumphs and 11 in the last 13 contests with Toronto.
With both defenses giving up considerable points thus far, this could be one
of those wild, offensive outings that has both Calvillo and Ray reaching a
little bit deeper in order to out-duel the other. The game could come down to
one of the final possessions, in which case Calvillo and the Als hold the edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 38, Edmonton 34
07/25 10:41:02 ET
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