Toronto Argonauts

- 2004 -

10 Wins 7 Losses 1 Tie - 2nd Place East Division

East: W L T F A Avg Att Most Outstanding Player Casey Printers (BC)
Montreal 14 4 0 584 371 23,879 Most Outstanding Canadian Jason Clermont (BC)
Toronto 10 7 1 422 414 25,813 Most Outstanding Defensive Player Anwar Stewart (Mtl)
Hamilton 9 8 1 455 542 27,853 Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman Gene Makowsky (Ssk)
Ottawa 5 13 0 401 560 23,050 Most Outstanding Rookie Nik Lewis (Cgy)
            Coach of the Year Greg Marshall (Ham)
BC 13 5 0 584 436 26,697 Playoffs Ham 6 @ Tor 24
Edmonton 9 9 0 532 472 39,031   Sask 14 @ Edm 6
Saskatchewan 9 9 0 476 444 24,783   Tor 26 @ Mtl 18
Winnipeg 7 11 0 448 507 24,496   Sask 25 @ BC 27
Calgary 4 14 0 396 522 30,041 Grey Cup Toronto 27 BC 19


Damon Allen


Allen, Bishop: Double Threat

Ken Fidlin - Toronto Sun - October 20, 2004

The Canadian Football League playoff feast is still a couple of weeks away but the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts are planning to pass around a tasty plate of pigskin hors d'oeuvres tomorrow night.

"It's late October," said Argo coach Michael Clemons yesterday, waxing poetic. "The weather is fresh outside, the leaves are beginning to turn, we're playing our arch-rival, two games before the playoffs to decide who hosts the playoff game.
"The playoffs don't get any more intense than this game will be. This is what football is all about."

It is also a time of year when the gamesmanship is almost as important as the games and Clemons is playing it coy as far as his starting quarterback is concerned for a game that may decide second and third place in the CFL East. The second-place finisher will host the Eastern semi-final.

It would seem somewhat apparent that veteran Damon Allen, who returned from a broken leg last week in Calgary and played well, will be at quarterback tomorrow at the SkyDome, but Clemons wasn't tipping his hand.

What pleases him most is that he actually has two healthy quarterbacks to choose from. It is the lack of a two-pronged threat that has hindered the Argos the past two years in the playoffs. In Allen's absence since August, Michael Bishop has stepped up and delivered some winning performances, earning the confidence of his teammates and coach.

But, let's face it. At 41 years old and after 20 years in the league, you want the CFL's all-time passing leader at the controls in a crucial game. Stretched end to end, Allen's 64,000 career passing yards amount to about 60 kilometres, enough to extend from the SkyDome to Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.

And that's a trip the Argos would like to avoid in the first round of the playoffs.

"To have two guys who have started games in the same year and both of them have winning records is a huge advantage for us," said Clemons. "We haven't had that here in many years. It's a real testament to the guys around them. We've played great defence and have had solid special teams all year long."

Each of those quarterbacks presents very different problems for any defensive coach who must prepare to face them. That pleases Clemons.

"It's fire and ice,' he said. "Michael is strong. He can throw the ball a country mile. He can run, not just around people, but through them. And that's the fire.

"And the ice, obviously, is the elder statesman who is cool under pressure. You've heard the expression, 'having ice water in your veins.' He came back in (at Calgary) and it looked like he had never missed a down. He was 19 of 23 and the two interceptions he had were very close to touchdowns.

"Having that combination, the way they complement each other, you have to prepare for them differently. They're different types of players. One guy likes to be on the move a lot, the other likes to sit in the pocket a little more."

The complementary nature of the two quarterbacks also affords Clemons the opportunity to change the pace of the game if he chooses.

"Exactly," he said, "and that's why we say we won't be surprised if both of them play as they did a week ago. Our intention is that the starter will play most of the game. This is not an experimental game. But we won't be afraid to use both of them."
Despite his age and experience, Allen retains the chill of anticipation as the most important games appear on the horizon.
"When it starts getting cold, you know it's playoff time and the great players rise to those occasions," he said. "That's what you play for. You look forward to those times."

Similarly, he has been around the block enough times to know there is plenty of room for two talented quarterbacks in the locker room of a potential championship team.

"It pushes both of us. I told Michael when he was starting and I was injured that it was going to take both of us. It takes a whole football team to win a championship and that includes both of us. We can do it together. I've done it together with other quarterbacks and when you win a championship, you all get rings."


Frank Zicarelli - Toronto Sun - November 6, 2004

Kenny Wheaton literally had a hand in the Argos taking a step toward a Grey Cup berth. Wheaton, who has been battling discomfort in his right hand for about two months, used his body to pick off a Danny McManus pass in last night's 24-6 Argos win.
When Wheaton had stopped running, he had travelled a CFL-record 116 yards and probably would have kept running to Montreal, where next Sunday the Argos will have a shot at beating the mighty Als in the Eastern final.

Wheaton's interception, on a pass intended for Mike Morreale, gave the Argos a 24-0 lead.
And whatever hope the Ticats had in mounting a comeback disappeared.
The Argos have returned interceptions for majors this season, but none as electric as Wheaton's play.
"We as a defence don't just want to make an interception or force a fumble,'' Wheaton said.
"When we force an opponent into making a turnover we want to take it to the house.''
He went the entire field almost untouched. The Argos were flawless in their blocking and set up a convoy on the near side of the field, which Wheaton used to score.
It was 10 years ago that Wheaton, as a collegiate player at Oregon, returned an interception 97 yards that helped the Ducks to an appearance in the Rose Bowl.

What made last night's interception remarkable was Wheaton reinjured his hand, was forced to miss the mandatory three plays and returned, even though he had no feeling in his hand.
"It was just numb,'' he said.
"That's why I caught the ball with my body and not my hand. There's no feeling."
What Wheaton does have is a feeling of elation as the Argos defence pitched a near shut out and will now take on an Als team that has knocked out the Argos the past two Eastern finals.
"We now have a chance of vindicating those two past defeats,'' veteran corner Adrion Smith said.
As long as the Argos can manage the game on offence, continue to rally around Noel Prefontaine's kicking and score on defence, they may have a chance his time around.
"We wanted to give ourselves a chance of playing in the big game,'' Wheaton said.
"We're closer to that goal."



2004 Team Statistics



  Passing           Rushing    
Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg C Yds Avg Lg TD
Damon Allen 312 189 2,438 60.6 12 4 63 40 212 5.3 32 3
Michael Bishop 217 104 1,508 47.9 6 15 67 60 408 6.8 38 5


Running Back

  Rushing         Receiving  
C Yds Avg Lg TD C Yds Avg Lg TD
John Avery 202 974 4.8 74 4 48 364 7.6 27 1
Jeff Johnson 9 41 4.6 8 0 5 36 7.2 12 0



  Receiving       Punt Return  
C Yds Avg Lg TD No Yds Avg Lg TD
Robert Baker 62 1086 17.5 65 4          
Tony Miles 62 741 12.0 58 2 10 127 12.7 64 0
Andre Talbot 34 464 13.6 44 3          
R Jay Soward 15 336 22.4 67 5          
Arland Bruce 16 247 15.4 34 1 17 332 19.5 81 2
Bashir Levingston           41 391 9.5 85 2



Conv     Field Goal      
A G % A G % LG Pts
Noel Prefontaine 40 40 100.0 40 29 72.5 47 138





Grey Cup



Quarterbacks are always in the spotlight during the Grey Cup, but in 2004 it took on greater meaning when the Toronto Argonauts challenged the B.C. Lions. Toronto was led by the CFL’s all-time leading passer Damon Allen who was traded by B.C. to the Argos the previous season when the Lions signed free agent Dave Dickenson. It was an opportunity at redemption for the 41-year old Allen on the grandest stage. For Lions head coach Wally Buono, he was faced with a quarterbacking quandary. Casey Printers, the upstart sophomore quarterback who replaced an injured Dickenson early in the regular season, went on to become the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2004. But Printers injured his throwing shoulder in the West Final, forcing Buono to start Dickenson in the Grey Cup. At first, it looked like a moot point, as Dickenson was a perfect 6-for-6 for 65 yards on B.C.’s opening drive. Dickenson hit Jason Clermont on a 12-yard pass to give the Lions a 7-0 lead. It remained that way until the second quarter, when the Argos rallied to take the lead. Following a 27-yard field goal by Noel Prefontaine, the Argos recorded their first major. Allen hit Robert Baker for two long passes before taking it in himself from the one-yard line. The Lions tied the game on a 42-yard field goal by Duncan O’Mahony, but Allen led another drive capped by a 23-yard touchdown toss to Baker. Toronto led 17-10 at the half. Toronto continued the pressure in the second half. The Argos marched downfield and scored on an Allen plunge on their opening possession for a 24-10 lead. Following a 36-yard field goal by O’Mahony, the Argos received a scare when Allen went down with a leg cramp. Backup quarterback Michael Bishop manned the controls of Toronto’s offence until Allen returned six minutes into the fourth quarter. Dickenson engineered a 100-yard scoring drive, ending on his five-yard touchdown run into the end zone. But the Lions were penalized twice on time-count violations while attempting a two-point convert. As a result Buono opted for a single-point attempt, and O’Mahony’s kick went wide. The Argos pushed down to the B.C. 10-yard line with less than three minutes remaining, resulting in Prefontaine’s 16-yard field goal. The Lions narrowly missed gaining a lot of real estate when Dickenson missed the outstretched hands of Geroy Simon on a long bomb attempt. Toronto ultimately ran out the clock as they celebrated another championship.



Avg Att: 25,813


Week 1 v. Saskatchewan


Saskatchewan 10


The Roughriders not only lost the opener but QB Nealon Greene with a broken leg. Argos Bashir Levingston ran back Paul McCallum's missed FG 105 yards for the game's first TD.

Week 2 @ Ottawa


Toronto 10

Att 20,241

The Renegades took advantage of an undisciplined Toronto team which took 21 penalties for 192 yards, snuffing its own drives, as Ottawa improved to 2-0 for the first time.

Week 3 v Montreal

Montreal 19


Att: 23,923

Rookie Ezra Landry returned a missed FG 110 yards for the TD to give Montreal a hard-fought win. Landry took Noel Prefontaine's short 49-yarder the other way to break a 9-9 tie in the third.

Week 4 @ Hamilton

Toronto 34


Att: 27,664

Damon Allen threw two TD passes and ran for another while Toronto's defence forced six turnovers as the Argos handed the upstart Tiger-Cats their first loss of the season.

Week 5 @ Saskatchewan

Toronto 17


  Att: 22,340

Robert Baker had a pair of TDs, but it was Toronto's defence that shone brightest, as it held the opposition without a touchdown for the third straight game.


Week 6 v Ottawa


Ottawa 25

Att: 24,209

Damon Allen threw a pair of TD passes, including a spectacular 39-yarder to Andre Talbot that decided the game. He was 30 of 42 for 392 yards. Ottawa was penalized 16 times for 114 yards.


Week 7 - Bye


Week 8 v. Edmonton


Edmonton 14

Att: 23,897

John Avery scored two TDs and QB Damon Allen threw three TD passes as the Argos extended their winning streak to four. The loss snapped Edmonton's three-game win streak.


Week 9 @ Montreal


Toronto 10

Att: 20,202

The win gave Montreal a six-point lead over Toronto who lost QB Damon Allen to a knee injury. Als WR Jeremaine Copeland caught a nine-yard TD pass and Matt Kellett kicked four FGs.


Week 10 v Winnipeg


Winnipeg 6

Att: 24,246

Argos QB Michael Bishop, replacing the injured Damon Allen, threw a TD pass and ran for one. Bishop completed 16-of-26 passes for 300 yards, including a 67-yard TD to R.J. Soward.

Week 11 @ BC

BC 31

Toronto 10

Att: 29,484

Antonio Warren rushed for 120 yards and helped Casey Printers get into position to toss three TD passes and run in another as B.C. extended its winning streak to six games.

Week 12 @ Hamilton


Toronto 30

Att: 29,170

Michael Bishop's one-yard TD run in OT earned the Argos the tie, tarnishing Troy Davis' Hamilton-record 233-yard rushing performance. The game featured four ejections and 37 penalties.


Week 13 - Bye


Week 14 @ Winnipeg


Toronto 34

Att: 24,855

Toronto led for most of the game, and led by 17 points in the second quarter, 20-3, before the Bombers rallied behind RB Charles Roberts who ran for 154 yards and three TDs.


Week 15 @ Edmonton

Toronto 26


Att: 41,113

With Toronto leading 11-8 in the fourth, after trailing 9-0 at the half, Arland Bruce ran back an 81-yard punt return for a TD to break open a tightly-fought defensive struggle.


Week 16 v Calgary


Calgary 24

Att: 22,429

Michael Bishop threw three TD passes to lead the Argos, while Bashir Levingston's 85-yard punt return TD in the fourth was his ninth of his career, breaking Pinball Clemons's club record.


Week 17 v BC


BC 16

Att: 25,212

Noel Prefontaine kicked six FGs to lead the Argonauts over B.C. and spoiled an impressive comeback bid by Dave Dickenson, who played in his first game with the Lions since July.

Week 18 @ Calgary


Toronto 11

Att: 30,082

Khari Jones paid immediate dividends for the Stampeders. He threw his first two completed passes for first downs and his third for a TD in his first start for Calgary, which upset the Argos.

Week 19 v Hamilton


Hamilton 31

Att: 30,369

Bashir Levingston thrilled Toronto's largest crowd since 1992 with two kick returns that staked the home team to an early 28-0 lead, and Chris Hardy's three FGs late clinched second place.


Week 20 v Montreal

Montreal 58


Att: 31,212

Montreal's Anthony Calvillo threw three TD passes and surpassed the 6,000-yard plateau, with a club-record 6,041 yards to become the fourth player in CFL history to pass the mark.

Eastern Semi-Final

Sun Nov 5


Hamilton 6

Att: 37,835

Kenny Wheaton returned an interception a playoff-record 116 yards for a TD with 2:24 to go, to clinch the win. Toronto lost its bid for its first playoff shutout since 1947 when Mike Morreale scored on a three-yard TD pass as time expired.


Eastern Final

Sun Nov 12

 Toronto 26


Att: 51,296

The Argonauts knocked QB Anthony Calvillo out of the game early in the second half and picked off back-up Ted White three times in the upset and reached the championship game for the first time since 1997. Toronto's Arland Bruce returned a kickoff 97 yards for a TD and caught a TD pass from Damon Allen.