Grey Cup returns to T.O.
By David Hollinshead, Contributor
As every conspiracist had predicted, the Toronto Argonauts won the 100th Grey Cup at home, defeating the Calgary Stampeders 35–22. Even the 13-point difference was a generous deficit, considering how uncompetitive this game was. The game started in Calgary’s favour, as Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray was intercepted on the first play by Calgary halfback Quincy Butler, but it wasn’t long before Calgary revealed how unprepared they were. In an ensuing drive, quarterback Kevin Glenn—who replaced injured starter Drew Tate all year and carried Calgary to the final—fumbled the handoff to Canadian running back and New Westminster’s own Jon Cornish, which was recovered by Toronto.
Toronto’s dominance would begin as Argo’s running back Chad Kackert set up an easy touchdown as Ricky Ray hit the league’s Most Outstanding Player, Chad Owens, on a swing route and he scored from five yards out. Glenn still could not find a rhythm as two plays later he threw an interception to rookie defensive back Pacino Horne who took it in for a touchdown. Calgary would then get a big return from the electric Larry Taylor, but could only amass a field goal, making it a 14–3 game. Ray would then find his favourite target going back to the days when he was an Edmonton Eskimo, hooking up with receiver Jason Barnes for a 62-yard completion, in which the Argos came away with a field goal.
Calgary would come away with a big play of its own with another veteran receiver stepping up. Glenn hit the bowling ball Nik Lewis, who took it 61 yards before he was stopped. Calgary looked to be gaining momentum before they were stopped on the goal line and were forced to kick another field goal. In the next drive, Ray dissected the defense, and after a circus catch by Dontrelle Inman at the one yard line, backup quarterback Jarious Jackson faked a quarterback sneak, instead throwing to Inman who got his touchdown, giving the Argos a 24–6 lead at halftime—where we all got to watch Justin Bieber. I was there; I left my seat at halftime for multiple beer runs.
Calgary came out and was able to score yet another field goal, before Toronto answered with one of their own. Calgary would then be allowed another two points as Toronto punter Noel Prefontaine took a knee in the end zone, putting Calgary within two scores. Calgary would kick another field goal after Toronto’s defensive back Ahmad Carroll was called on a deep pass interference call. Kackert would eventually put the game out of reach after two 15-yard penalties called on Calgary. He would break a huge 24-yard run, allowing Ray to hit Durie again for a seven yard score. Calgary would get their only touchdown of the game with 20 seconds left to play as backup Bo Levi Mitchell hit Maurice Price, but it was too little too late.
The Calgary team that showed up to Toronto was not the same team that defeated the BC Lions a week earlier, and it even shows in the play call. Offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson called a brilliant game in Vancouver, and was praised for his aggressiveness that paid off big time. In Toronto, that’s exactly what the Stampeders lacked. They tried way too hard to establish a running game with the Most Outstanding Canadian award-winner Cornish, handing the ball off in situations where you needed bigger chunks of yards than what a run would probably get you. Against BC they also went vertical in their passing, looking for the big play repeatedly as against the Argos, they took very few shots downfield and when they did, Glenn was inaccurate.
Most of their passing attempts seemed to be plays that would be eventually setting themselves up for a home run hitter like the Saskatchewan playoff game, but never branched off it, leaving the debate to whether Toronto did a great job shutting them down, or Calgary lost the game for themselves. Glenn was in his second attempt at a Grey Cup ring, playing in his first one after leading his Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a Grey Cup game but was injured in the Western Final. Now, after having a chip on his shoulder all year, you would think that would have him fired up and playing at the top of his game. Instead he seemed rattled and in over his head as he finished 14 passes of 27 attempts for 222 yards with an interception. If the future GM for Ottawa was watching, that game alone could’ve potentially changed his mind about choosing him to be the starting quarterback.
Toronto traded for Ricky Ray for one reason: to win a Grey Cup. There was no way they could’ve predicted this. After being mediocre for years, the team placed second in the east, defeating the Edmonton Eskimos in the first round, the Montreal Alouettes in the East Final, then capturing this. Ray finished the game 18 passes of 30 attempts for 231 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Finally, a Toronto sports team that doesn’t suck.