James Franklin and Johnny Manziel put on one of those quarterback displays not many will remember, neither capable of sustaining any kind of consistency.
Franklin did make more plays in the second half and he did join Doug Flutie in the record book by recording his 12th rushing touchdown of the season, a mark Flutie set in 1991.
The Argos have yet to take full advantage of Franklin’s mobility, but his ability to produce rushing touchdowns did allow Toronto to end its hideous seven-game losing streak, which began in Montreal.
Franklin even had a hand in the Als’ only second-half major when he was picked off for a touchdown.
Had the Argos not settled for field goals, this game would not have been in doubt, but it was and Manziel had the ball with five seconds left before he was sacked.
The Argos had a rare occasion to celebrate, beating the Als 26-22, and began to rejoice on the field as if a title had been won.
It’s been that kind of season, which now has two games remaining.
Once again, the Argos offence settled for far too many field goals.
In the third quarter, the Argos dominated time of possession and yet they were outscored, 7-6.
It’s been that kind of year, that kind of game as Toronto closed out the home portion of their schedule.
When a ground gain couldn’t be stopped, the Argos decided to pass inside Montreal’s five yard line.
When the Argos were in position to force a change in possession, they went offside and then got flagged for roughing on a careless sequence that allowed the Als to get into field goal range.
The defence held and the Als ended up with a single point on a missed field goal.
The Argos weren’t very good in the opening half, the Als marginally better, two teams going nowhere, two teams that were unable to sustain much of anything.
The difference in the opening 30 minutes, which would see Montreal lead 14-10, could be found in the amount of explosive plays produced.
On that front, Montreal had the edge, which is why it led.
Franklin wasn’t particularly good, showing very little authority in the pocket, making throws that were brutal, not recognizing his surrounding on some sequences and generally incapable of running an offence.
Manziel at least provided some entertainment, using his feet to extend plays, his arm to make throws down the field.
Both quarterbacks would get picked off once, but it was Manziel who looked more comfortable.
Whether it was a long run, a long return, the Als moved the ball better and would take the lead late in the opening when Manziel led a drive capped off a touchdown pass.
Franklin did hook up with Armanti Edwards on a big gain in the opening quarter as the Argos, who benefited from an Als pass interference penalty in the end zone, scored the game’s first touchdown.
There were few gains along the ground and very little in the way of imagination.
It was bad offence.
The defence was almost as bad, but at least the unit kept the Als out of the end zone.
Montreal moved the ball and the Als chewed up yards.
The schemes the Argos were dialing up didn’t look very exotic and once again the back-end gave up plays.
Montreal produced 292 total yards on offence, including 153 along the ground, 112 manufactured by William Stanback.
The Argos had 138 yards of offence.
The one good news to emerge was the one penalty the Argos committed.
The Als had possession for almost 19 minutes.
All in all, it was a dreary start by the Argos.
Once again, what stood out was how the Argos would not move the pocket and have Franklin use his feet more on roll outs.
The second half began with the Argos having possession on the opening series, short passes over the middle and in the flat leading to the ball being moved inside Montreal’s 30 yard line.
Declan Cross and Brandon Burks made some nice gains.
The Argos then used Dexter McCluster out of the backfield on a pass McCluster hauled in to move the chains.
McCluster then made a nice run between the tackles to get to Montreal’s 11 where the Argos faced a second and four.
Burks then ran to his right as the Argos’ run game was established.
On first down, Franklin’s pass went incomplete.
Franklin was then under some pressure, but he should have hooked up with Edwards for a touchdown.
The Argos move the ball all the way to Montreal’s four and they end up kicking a field goal.
To recap, the Argos used up more than seven minutes, ran 14 plays and yet all they could muster was a field goal.
The Argos then, foolishly as it turned out, flew a challenge flag on a play ruled incomplete.
The Argos felt the Als had fumbled the ball and recovered by the Argos on Montreal’s opening drive.
It got worse when Franklin was picked off for a pick six by Trevaughn Campbell, Franklin’s second interception of the game and ninth on the season.
Franklin did bounce back as the Argos were poised to respond to Montreal’s touchdown until Duron Carter was called for holding.
The Argos settled for a field goal, a nine-play drive that consumed more than four minutes.
After three quarters, the Argos were trailing 21-16.
The way the third quarter played out, they should have been leading, but poor quarterback play left points on the field and gave the Als a touchdown.
Toronto caught a break when backup quarterback Antonio Pipkin lost control of the football.
The Argos recovered it at Montreal’s 53 yard line early in the fourth period.
Carter was finally used down the field along the sideline but he failed to secure it.
On the ensuing punt, the Als were pinned at their 14 yard line.