After the Winnipeg Blue Bombers put a beat down on the Toronto Argonauts in week two of the Canadian Football League season, the two teams matched up again, this time at BMO Field, the first game that has been played at home for an Eastern Division team since the Hamilton Tiger-Cats home playoff game in 2019.
Note: Game leaders for stats and 13th Man Sports Player of the Game will continue as normal at the bottom of this article.
When Pressure Gets Home, Good Teams Fall
One of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ biggest strengths this season has been both the offensive and defensive lines, but in Toronto, they lost the battle in the trenches and allowed pressure to get home on Zach Collaros all day long. The same thing was true with the Argonauts’ pass protection. Nick Arbuckle was under pressure for large chunks of the game, and had it not have been for the 13-point lead they built themselves early on, it may have been a much different game.
The whole point here is that the offensive line play for both team, but the Blue Bombers in particular needs to be good in order for them to have any level of success. Despite only allowing one sack, the Blue Bombers allowed constant pressure on Collaros and he responded by making rushed, inaccurate throws at times. Good protection is a large part of why he has been so successful in Winnipeg since arriving there in 2019. When he has time to throw, he can scan the field and make his reads as good as anyone.
A game like this just highlights the importance of the Blue Bombers’ offensive line, a line that has been the best in the CFL so far this season. It collapsed at times against a talented Argos pass rush that includes Charleston Hughes who had a massive impact on the game despite not registering a single sack. Should this be a concern to Bombers fans? Probably not, at least not until this happens over and over again. They won with this same line before, and they can still do it again. Put this one up to an off night.
Argos Need To Find Consistency
As the weeks roll on, what the Argos actually are seems to be becoming more and more of a question. From week to week, they have been wildly different in terms of how they play. They looked okay in the first week of the season in Calgary, they looked quite bad in Winnipeg in week two, and in week three at home against the Bombers, they looked like legitimate Grey Cup contenders.
Consistency is key as they say, but that’s not something the Argos have right now, at least not early on. If they can play at the level they showed they can in week three, they will be among the top contenders in the league. If they continue to have wild swings in their performance, it’s anybody’s guess what Argos team will show up from week to week.
Nick Arbuckle Is For Real
Although we still don’t know what the Argos are, we do know who their starting quarterback is. Nick Arbuckle went in for McLeod Bethel-Thompson during last week’s game and looked alright, but he took his game to the next level in the Argonauts’ home opener.
While none of the throws that Arbuckle made had my jaw on the floor or made me wonder how he could possibly make such a great throw, he proved himself more than capable of piloting a CFL offence at a high level. He went 23/32 passing for 310 yards and a touchdown without throwing for an interception. While the interceptions weren’t an issue, Arbuckle did fumble a couple of times, but that is more the offensive line’s fault than his.
There probably isn’t a better situation for Arbuckle right now with all the weapons he has around him. DaVaris Daniels, Ricky Collins Jr., and Eric Rogers give Arbuckle more than enough help, and if the offensive line can keep him clean this season, watch out for the Toronto Argonauts.
The Emergence Of DJ Foster
The Argos haven’t really been looking for a running back with John White being more than capable of getting the job done for them, but while he struggled in week three, DJ Foster had a break-out game that will likely earn him some more playing time going forward.
Foster had a great game, taking home our player of the game honours (vote for the 13th Man Sports Player of the Week by clicking here). He had 115 all-purpose yards on the afternoon and looks like he could be a real weapon for Arbuckle and the Argos for the rest of the season. Of course, he needs to follow it up with more.
The Blue Bombers Aren’t Perfect
After two weeks of play, the Blue Bombers looked near invincible and like it would be very difficult to stop them on their Grey Cup defence. After they were convincingly beat by the Argos, we now know that isn’t true. Their bitter rival, the Saskatchewan Roughriders won their week three game and take over the top spot in the West Division with a matchup against each other looming on Labour Day. Still a good football team, but imperfect nonetheless.
Mike Miller Sets CFL Record
Special teams’ ace, Mike Miller had himself another big night in week three with three special teams tackles, becoming the all-time leader in the CFL for special teams tackles. He moves ahead of former B.C. Lion Jason Arakgi and now holds the record with a staggering 191 special teams tackles. Congrats to Mike Miller!
Passing Yards: Nick Arbuckle (TOR): 310
Rushing Yards: DJ Foster (TOR): 101
Receiving Yards: DaVaris Daniels (TOR): 100
Touchdowns: Jesse Briggs (WPG), DJ Foster (TOR), Nick Arbuckle (TOR), DaVaris Daniels (TOR), Darvin Adams (WPG), Rasheed Bailey (WPG): 1
Tackles: DeAundre Alford (WPG): 9
Special Teams Tackles: Mike Miller (WPG): 3
Sacks: Jackson Jeffcoat (WPG): 2
Interceptions: Dexter McCoil (TOR): 1
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: DJ Foster
10 carries, 101 rushing yards, 14 receiving yards, 1 touchdown