The second week of the CFL season continued with the Toronto Argonauts heading to Winnipeg for the first game of a home-and-home set with the Blue Bombers. It was a clash of what many pundits have called the two heavyweights of the season early on, but it was the defences that showed the most promise throughout the game.
Previous Game: Lions Defeat Stampeders In Defensive Affair
The game got underway with a slow start for both offences, something that has become somewhat of a trend early in the 2021 season. Both teams would exchange two and outs before the Blue Bombers went on a somewhat long drive. They thought they had scored a rouge on the Marc Liegghio punt, but that was wiped off the board. The Argos were forced to punt from their own endzone on the ensuing drive, and a no-yards call on the return set the Bombers up for a scoring drive starting on the Toronto 40-yard line.
Score is exactly what the Blue Bombers would do with their great field position. After a short five-yard gain on a pass to Kenny Lawler, Zach Collaros loaded up and found Rasheed Bailey in the endzone for a 35-yard touchdown, the first touchdown of Bailey’s career. Tyler Crapigna would nail the extra point, giving the Bombers a seven-point lead.
Both defences would continue to flex their muscles for the rest of the quarter with two and out each way. With only seconds left in the first quarter, it looked like Jackson Jeffcoat had sacked McLeod Bethel-Thompson to end the Argos drive, but Deatrick Nichols was called for illegal contact on a receiver, extending the Argos drive.
Second Quarter (TOR: 0 @ WPG: 7)
With the Argos drive continuing, Nichols made a nice open-field tackle to force the Argos into a third and one and a half situation. Toronto would try to run the ball right up the middle, something that hadn’t worked for them all night thus far and were stuffed, turning the ball over on downs.
With the ball near mid-field, Charleston Hughes got into the backfield tackling Brady Oliviera for a four-yard loss. The very next play, Collaros came very close to throwing an interception, but the ball managed to find its way to the ground. The Bombers would punt.
With the crowd noise and frustration setting in, the Argos looked confused and disjointed in their next drive. Penalties and miscommunication turned their big games into five-yard losses and forced them to punt.
As the Bombers’ defensive line continued to make a difference, the offence got to work. With a long drive already well in progress, Nic Demski made a rare mistake and fumbles the ball. It was recovered by the Argos and was the first turnover for the season for the Blue Bombers.
The sputtering Argos offence got the ball back with solid field position with a chance to cut the Bombers’ lead with a scoring drive. The drive they had was mostly negative consisting of blown-up plays and short gains, but they did have one big gainer on a throw to Ricky Collins Jr. for 29 yards that put them in field goal range for Boris Bede. Bede has plenty of leg for the 51-yard attempt, but he would hit the upright.
The Blue Bombers would close out the second with a long drive as they looked to end the half on a high. Starting the drive on their own 25-yard line, the Bombers drove all the way down to Toronto’s 15-yard line before they were forced to settle for a field goal as the clock expired. It was a solid half for them and they would head into the second half up by 10 with Crapigna nailing the 22-yard attempt with ease.
Third Quarter (TOR: 0 @ WPG: 10)
It was more of the same with more tight defence to start the second half. Midway through the third quarter, Collaros thought that he might have a receiver in the endzone and threw it up for grabs, but it would be Jamal Peters who came up with the ball for an interception.
Flash forward a couple of drives now with the Toronto Argonauts again controlling the football. Nick Arbuckle checked into the game replacing Bethel-Thompson after a tough time throughout the game for him. Immediately, Arbuckle found a rhythm and drove the Argos’ offence down the field. The drive was capped off with John White IV peeling off a 30-yard run for a touchdown. Bede hit the extra point, bringing the game within three.
The Bombers would piece together a couple of solid plays to end the quarter with one going for 11 yards to Kenny Lawler, and the other going for 16 yards to Lawler once again. That signalled the end of the third quarter with the Bombers still leading 10-7, but with momentum shifting the way of the Argonauts.
Fourth Quarter (TOR: 7 @ WPG: 10)
After the Bombers were forced to punt early in the fourth quarter, the Argos gave them the ball right back after White IV fumbled the ball on the first play of the Argos’ drive. The ball was recovered by the Blue Bombers and they would start their drive from the Argos’ 36-yard line.
The Bombers would make the Argos pay for their costly mistake in short order. After a couple of ill-advised penalties from both teams, Collaros found Demski in the back corner of the endzone wide open for a touchdown. Crapigna would hit the extra point to restore the 10-point lead for the Blue Bombers.
The chess match continued until late in the fourth quarter until the Argos got the ball back with four and a half minutes left to play. It was at that point that Arbuckle threw a bad interception to Nichols who continued to make up for his penalty early in the game. The Bombers once again had the football with a good chance to score.
They wouldn’t score the six that they were hoping for, but they would get one step closer to finishing the game with a win on a Crapigna field goal from 22-yards out to expand their lead to 20-7 with over two minutes left to play.
The Blue Bombers thought they would be able to challenge what they thought was a fumble by DeVaris Daniels, but they didn’t have a time out and were charged with a 10-yard delay of game penalty. It probably should have been ruled a fumble, but without the timeout, the Bombers couldn’t challenge.
With about a minute and a half remaining in the game, Juwan Brescacin went down with a bad-looking knee injury. All of us at 13th Man Sports want to wish him the best and we hope to see a speedy recovery from whatever this injury might be.
A long Argos drive would be cut short before reaching the endzone with a tenacious play and refusal to quit by Jeffcoat who forced a fumble that was recovered by Willie Jefferson. The Bombers would kneel out the game to secure the win.
The final score: Toronto Argonauts: 7 @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers: 20
Passing Yards: Zach Collaros (WPG): 292
Rushing Yards: John White IV (TOR): 111
Receiving Yards: Kenny Lawler (WPG): 99
Touchdowns: Nic Demski (WPG), Rasheed Bailey (WPG), John White IV (TOR): 1
Tackles: Jamal Peters (TOR): 9
Special Teams Tackles: Eli Mencer (TOR), Nick Hallett (WPG): 3
Sacks: Jackson Jeffcoat (WPG), Henoc Muamba (TOR), Chris Edwards (TOR): 1
Interceptions: Deatrick Nichols (WPG), Jamal Peters (TOR): 1
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: Stanley Bryant
Held Charleston Hughes to 0 sacks
Honourable mention to the rest of the Blue Bombers’ offensive line and defensive line