The Argos have been doing a great job keeping their fans on their toes, never knowing what is coming next so far this season. Last night’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was no different. As Argo fans watching the game from Room 31 at Argo HQ we felt so many emotions during the game: happy, scared, sad, angry, relieved, ecstatic, nervous, confused, and ecstatic again.
The Argonauts had only a few days to recover from their loss to Hamilton on Saturday night, but with a revamped special teams lineup, this was just enough time. The Bombers had one extra day of rest, but were coming into their fourth straight road game and coming off an embarrassing 42-10 loss to Edmonton. More than ever, the Argonauts faithful fans were confident that the double blue had this in the bag and that Winnipeg would bomb this game. However, there were a few brief, yet scary moments during the game where the Argos gave up the lead.
Turnovers made for a dramatic game right from the get-go. Robert McCune’s interception from Brink early in the first quarter resulted in an Argo touchdown courtesy of Cory Boyd. With under 5 minutes of the game gone, the brand new kicker with great hair, Swayze Waters got his first CFL point with a successful convert. Winnipeg tried to answer back but was limited to just a field goal. This was the first of five field goals for Justin Palardy and the Bombers. The Argos next drive resulted in a sack on Ricky Ray by Johnny Sears (the same guy who was suspended for a game last season for his hit on Jyles) and then a missed field goal and single point for Swayze Waters.
The second quarter started with an Argonauts field goal, but the highlight of the second half came when Tristan Black lay a serious hit on Bombers’ Demond Washington during his attempt at a punt return. Despite this, Alex Brink managed a touchdown for the Bombers and the game was on the brink of disaster because three minutes later Winnipeg got a field goal and found the lead. So far this season no team who has been trailing at halftime has won a game. Following a Toronto forced fumble, Winnipeg had possession of the ball once again. Good thing Jordan Yonger was around to intercept a throw from Alex Brink because there were no Bombers anywhere to be seen. After a beautiful pass from Ray to Owens, the Argos regained the lead going into the half and Owens had his first receiving touchdown since 2010.
It took most of the third quarter before Winnipeg answered back with a field goal. Along the way Toronto took a series of annoying penalties which continued into the fourth quarter. Etienne Boulay had his first special teams tackle as an Argonaut early in the fourth quarter following another turnover off a punt return. Unfortunately, Winnipeg regained the lead with another field goal. And then another. Down by 4 points, the Argos needed a touchdown to get back into the game. Thanks to the combination of former Eskimos, Ricky Ray’s 37-yard pass to Jason Barnes resulted in a touchdown. The Argos regained the lead.
…But with two minutes left, the Bombers still had time to answer back. We all would have felt a little more comfortable if the Argos had wasted a little more time before securing the lead. In the dying few minutes Clarence Denmark of the Bombers couldn’t catch a thing. This was fortunate because he seemed to be Brink’s go-to-guy. After a turnover on downs, Toronto had the ball back. Toronto gained just 6 yards before punting it back to Winnipeg. We weren’t nervous though: Toronto had this one in the bag. First, Armond Armstead sacked Brink. Then, Pat Walkins caught the ball on the sidelines but it was ruled an incomplete pass. And finally, Brink couldn’t complete a pass to Denmark. Toronto had the ball back and finalized their second win of the season!!! Final score was 25-22 for the Argonauts.
We did not see very much swagger coming from Swaggerville last night. This seasons Blue Bombers are definitely not the same team that made it all the way to the Grey Cup last year. Since 1961 the record between these two teams is 52-50 for the Argos. It’s a close race, almost as close as this game. The Bombers’ next game is their home opener (finally) against Edmonton (2-1) and the Argos will head back on the road to face Montreal (2-1).
Sorry Winnipeg, but you’ve bombed the season so far. And Swaggerville isn’t looking like a very appealing place. Population: 0-4.