Armstrong, Pringle say game plan got away from them

November 28, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- When the Baltimore CFLs swallowed their bitter Grey Cup loss last night, not all fingers were pointed at the officiating controversy.

There were a few aimed at quarterback Tracy Ham.

Slotback Chris Armstrong was unhappy that he had only two passes thrown to him in the 26-23 loss to the B.C. Lions at B.C. Place.

And running back Mike Pringle felt Baltimore went away from its running game too early.

"They didn't take me out of nothing," Armstrong said after a one-catch performance. "We call our own plays. We control our own destiny.

"The plays weren't called for Chris to do anything. I thought they should have been called. I was frustrated. All year I did what I had to do, what I was asked to do.

"To go into the Grey Cup and get two balls. . . . They didn't double me. I was one-on-one all night. You can't tell me a defensive back can cover me one-on-one."

Ham accepted responsibility and blame for Baltimore's most distasteful loss of the year.

"It's a team game," he said. "[But] certainly the quarterback heads the offense and he'll take his share of the blame. I have no problem with that."

Ham completed only nine of 24 passes for 193 yards. He threw two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown, and lost a questionable fumble on the goal line.

He did not shrink from Armstrong's complaint.

"That's fine," Ham said. "He's got a legitimate complaint. I don't complain about guys who complain they didn't get the ball.

"He was doubled sometimes, but I've got the decision. That's part of what I have to deal with. I don't have a problem with that."

Pringle rushed 18 times for 71 yards, and suggested that the CFLs should have stayed longer with the running game.

"We saw nothing different [from B.C.] than we saw all week in practice," Pringle said. "We started running the ball for 14, 9, 8 yards . . . and then we got away from it.

"This was not the way I wanted the season to end, on a team level or a personal note.

"I have a very hollow feeling because we're the better team."

Baltimore coach Don Matthews didn't point any fingers. But he acknowledged that the offense didn't deliver when it had the opportunity.

"They put a lot of pressure on us," Matthews said. "We didn't handle it when we should have. We had plays, but we didn't make them when we had the opportunity."

One critical missed chance came in the fourth quarter, when Ham threw behind wide-open Robert Drummond inside B.C.'s 5-yard line.

"That's a pass I've got to make," Ham said. "I could've dropped it over top. I made it a tough pass to catch."

B.C. sacked Ham four times. Linebacker Angelo Snipes beat Guy Earle for a blind-side sack that knocked Ham out of the game for one play in the fourth quarter.

"They played a gap cancellation to take away the run," Ham said. "They brought more people than we could block.

"But the biggest difference was, they [the officials] allowed them to clutch and hold on. It's tough to play if they let them do that."

Ham never had to resort to the silent snap count, despite the loud crowd noise. He called plays from a quasi-huddle as players were spread out behind the line of scrimmage.

"That wasn't a factor," Ham said. "That didn't hurt us."

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