Argos first loss of the season comes in double overtime on the road.
The Utah Argonauts (3-1, 0-1 PDFL) fell to the Portland Boltz (3-0) in a game that featured missed extra points, a malfunctioning time clock, a halftime brawl that saw three players ejected and a multitude of crucial turnovers. The culmination allowed the Boltz to hand the Argos the first loss of the season 39-36 .
“That could have been a great movie,” Utah Argonauts quarterback Mike Affleck said. “Everything happened the way it had to for them to win and everything happened for us to give away a game.”
Affleck finished 22-for-34 and 209 yards and two touchdowns, but his three interceptions and late fumble prevented the Argos from putting away a competitive Portland team.
In the middle of the second period, Argos corner Justin Phinisee was shoved violently to the ground by a Portland player while he waited to return a kick. The Portland player was flagged for unnecessary roughness, but the play resulted in what Utah Argonauts head coach JJ Fayed called a “melee” on the field that cleared both sidelines. Multiple players from both teams were involved in the incident, resulting in the ejection of two Utah players — Tevita Hautau and Sidney Brown — and one Portland player.
“We are happy and thank our stars that Phinisee is alright,” Fayed said. “I think the refs did a good job of controlling things.”
The Argos went into halftime tied at 12 but then built a two-score lead in the second half only to see the Boltz answer with late scores in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“We started off well, but I don’t care what team you are, you can’t win a ball game with five turnovers,” Fayed said. “We had some really good performances but you just cannot win a football game with turnovers.”
Argos running back Deckar Alexander had 224 yards and averaged nearly 12 yards per rush. Cornerback Da’Milyn Tanner made had two interceptions. Fayed said his team came out well in the second half after being tied and was poised to take command of the game until the turnovers started to mount.
“We made adjustments very well,” Fayed said. “We just did not make plays down the stretch and we turned the ball over. You just can’t do that.”
The Boltz remained competitive throughout the game, and Fayed said they were “by far” the toughest opponents the Argos have faced to date. The challenge is something he wants to embrace, however.
“This is what the league is about,” Fayed said. “We want this competition. They are a good football team and they played a good game. We had a chance to lock it up twice but this was the one that got away.”
The Argos will travel to Seattle next weekend to face the Seattle-Tacoma Cobras.