Winnipeg – If you like offense than this game was for you. In a game where both teams were able to do what they wanted to for most of the game the Argonauts couldn’t for an entire 4 quarters and lost 46 – 29 to Winnipeg. Much like the Labour Day loss to Hamilton the Argos seemed to have control of the game in certain spurts but a couple of bad plays on defense and suspect special teams play throughout the game really cost them.
Offensively for the first 3 quarters Toronto did everything it wanted to. A mixture of run and pass plays saw Toronto score 3 touchdowns in the first half to 3 different receivers. All the while running back Brandon Whitaker was fantastic in his ability to break tackles and slip through piles of lineman. Whitaker would end the day with 108 yards on 12 carries. There may be some criticism of Dan LeFevour’s play down the stretch but those critiques should be minimal frankly. Overall on the day LeFevour threw for 272 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Much of that did come in the first half as the offense really stalled in the second half after their opening touchdown drive capped off by a LeFevour 7 yard pass to Kenny Shaw. His 2nd interception may have put an end to any thought of a comeback this afternoon but to suggest that a player making only his 2nd start in two years should need to be mistake free on the road against a team on a 6 game winning streak is a little unrealistic. In fact if it were not for his ability to scramble and improvise on the run the team’s offensive success would have been greatly reduced.
Unfortunately for the Double Blue the struggles came on defense and special teams. Quincy McDuffie was a thorn in the Argo side all game long. 3 kickoff returns including one for 98 yards and a touchdown not only made it hard for Toronto to gain control of the game but made the field a lot shorter for the Argonaut defense to hold down.
Again unlike last week Toronto didn’t pressure Matt Nichols like they did Zach Collaros. Nichols was sacked once by Shawn Lemon but never really had to flee the pocket or rush his throws. Toronto didn’t give up a touchdown in the first half surrendering only 4 field goals to go along with McDuffies kick return for a touchdown. But the Double Blue were also unable to force any turnovers. Though they did come close twice, an interception was overturned by the command centre when further review showed that Joe Rankin had trapped the ball. And what may have been the turning point of the game a turnover off a Timothy Flanders deflected ball immediately after Dan LeFevour’s first interception was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty on Argo defensive end Ricky Foley. Winnipeg would score their first offensive touchdown of the game 3 plays later. That tied the score at 29 and the Blue Bombers never looked back on route to their 7th straight win.
We didn’t stay on the field long enough on offense. We didn’t stop them on defence and we couldn’t stop them on special teams. – Coach Milanovich on the the teams effort.
So now the 5 and 7 Argonauts look ahead to a Friday night game at TD Place against Ottawa in what can only be characterized as a must win. There’s no time to think about “what could have been” when it comes to this one even though the game film will likely show it.
By: Anthony Ciardulli
Follow Anthony on twitter @comicanthony