Winnipeg Blue Bombers Run Away with 38-20 Victory over Toronto Argonauts

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TORONTO, ON - August 12: Matt Nichols #15 of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers throws a pass against the Toronto Argonauts during a CFL game at BMO field on August 12, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Winnipeg defeated Toronto 34-17. (Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images)

Led by Andrew Harris’ 177 total yards and two touchdowns, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Toronto Argonauts by a score of 38-20 at BMO Field.

Game Recap

First Half

For 28:50 of the first half, the Blue Bombers controlled the football game. Matt Nichols and the Bombers’ O took advantage of an early Argos fumble, cashing in on a 21-yard touchdown strike to Darvin Adams. After a quick Toronto 2-and-out, Nichols and Co. went back to work, scoring on an eight-play 67-yard drive touchdown drive that resulted in a walk-in score for Andrew Harris.

Toronto got on the scoreboard via a Ronnie Pfeffer rouge off of a missed field goal, but the Bombers responded right back with another major. A five-play 52-yard drive was capped off by a touchdown reception by a wide-open Harris, his second score of the game.

The Argos appeared to be destined to score at least a field goal of their own on their next drive, but a bizarre 16-play drive that featured five penalties left the Argos empty-handed after another Pfeffer missed field goal.

Toronto got some life late in the first half when Kevin Fogg fumbled right into Llevi Noel’s hands, who took it back 49 yards for an Argos touchdown. After one half, Winnipeg led 25-12 despite a very one-sided game.

Second half

Winnipeg’s offence picked up where they left off on their first drive of the second half, punching in another touchdown via a 1-yard Nichols plunge. After the Bombers added another field goal, a blowout appeared to be looming. That was until Toronto capitalized on another fumbled ball.

Late in the third, Bombers receiver Nic Demski was stripped by Trumaine Washington, and Toronto’s Jermaine Gabriel executed a scoop-and-score for an 87-yard touchdown, making the score 35-20 Winnipeg after three.

Marcus Sayles’ interception off of James Franklin early in the fourth eliminated any chance for the Argos to steal a win. After the turnover, Winnipeg tacked on a 19-yard field goal courtesy of Justin Medlock. A mediocre Argonauts comeback attempt fell way short, and the Bombers got their record back to .500 with an 18-point victory.

The Numbers

  • Winnipeg’s 429 total yards crushed Toronto’s 173.
  • The Bombers put up 184 yards through the ground, while Toronto recorded just 22.
  • There were 9 turnovers in this game – 4 by Winnipeg and 5 by Toronto.
  • Andrew Harris finished with a career game-high 161 rushing yards, and 177 total yards.
  • Winnipeg safety Taylor Loffler had 0 tackles, while Toronto’s Jermaine Gabriel had a team-high 8.
  • James Wilder Jr. finished with -2 rushing yards and 40 total yards. Kudos to Winnipeg’s front-seven.
  • S.J. Green recorded 3 catches for only 9 yards. Kudos to Winnipeg’s secondary.

Gold Games

Andrew Harris was his usual self, recording 177 yards on 29 touches. The Bombers’ back also added two touchdowns. Harris’ 161 yards rushing set his new career game-high. Of course, Harris’ day was much easier because of the five blockers in front of him

Jermarcus Hardrick contributed heavily to Harris’ performance, as well as protecting Nichols. Paul LaPolice dialed up a plethora of outside run plays that had Hardrick pulling to be a lead blocker, and multiple times Harris had plenty of room to run due to Hardrick’s presence and mismatch with Argos’ defensive backs outside.

Rookie defensive backs Marcus Sayles and Tyneil Cooper both had their best games of their young CFL careers. Sayles and Cooper were targeted a combined 13 times and only gave up a stunning 25 yards. Their full stats are below.

Darvin Adams finished with a team-high six catches for 82 yards and was at the hands of the game’s first touchdown. Adams is one of the league’s best receivers when healthy and has an undeniable chemistry with Matt Nichols. When Adams is involved, Winnipeg’s offence is better.

Bad Blues

Kevin Fogg had a legitimate case as the club’s MODP going into this outing, but a very poor first half put a hamper in such argument. Fogg was victimized early and often, giving up 92 yards on six catches in just the first half. His afternoon got worse when he could not control an Argos’ punt, which directly led to a 49-yard Argos touchdown. With that being said, Fogg did not give up a completed pass in the second half and busted out a few good reutrns later in the game.

Adarius Bowman‘s disastrous 2018 campaign became even worse on Saturday. Bowman dropped an easy catch on Winnipeg’s opening drive and went without a single reception for the third time out of six games this season. Bowman now has just nine catches for 95 yards through six outings; it may be time to bump Bowman from the starting lineup.

Marcus Sayles’ interception return ended in a painful fashion. The former West Georgia Wolf must have thought he was playing with NCAA rules when he went down on one knee to give himself up, while Toronto’s William Campbell legally crushed Sayles into the ground.

Costly fumbles put lipstick on the pig in this contest, or rather points on the scoreboard for Toronto. Winnipeg was without a doubt the better team today, dominating throughout. But fumbles by Fogg and Nic Demski directly led to Argonauts’ touchdowns. An Andrew Harris fumble also led to a Toronto field goal, making it 17 points off of Winnipeg turnovers.

Defensive Passing Statistics

Excellent games all around, with the exception of Kevin Fogg.

The Last Word

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers now sit at 3-3, although their record is quite deceiving. The Bombers are a scary team when they are on their game, consistency is where the issues lie. The Blue Bombers now travel home for the second half of a home-and-home with the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, July 27 at 7:30 PM central time.

Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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