Game Recap | TOR 30 WPG 23

TORONTO –  It was a sloppy, mistake-filled and disjointed performance. And, based on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ body of work dating back to Grey Cup playoff run of 2019, what unfolded Saturday afternoon in Toronto was also completely out-of-character.

The Bombers dropped their first game of 2021 – and first  since October 19, 2019, a span of 672 days – in a 30-23 loss to the Argonauts at BMO Field that featured some glaring mistakes on offence, defence and special teams. The result drops the Bombers to 2-1, while the Argos improved to 2-1.

“We didn’t play clean enough football,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “I thought we made some mistakes. They put 13 on us quickly in the first quarter… they started out hot and we didn’t. There were some moments of physicality, but once again we didn’t sustain that and we left it a little too late. Didn’t get them off the field enough, didn’t stay on the field enough.”

Indeed, of all the alarming statistics from this one, the ugliest was the time of possession as the Argos held the ball for 39 minutes and 46 seconds to Winnipeg’s 20:14. The Bombers offence managed just 233 net yards on the day and only 12 first downs. Of their 14 possessions, two were touchdowns on Zach Collaros to Darvin Adams and Rasheed Bailey aerial strikes, but there were also eight punts, an interception, a kneel-down at the end of the first half, and two missed field goals.

“Not good enough to win the football game,” said Collaros, who lost for the first time as the Bombers starting QB. “Frustrating, disappointing offensively. It starts with me. We weren’t efficient enough on first down and we didn’t convert second downs when we had the opportunities.

“It’s tough when you go two-and-out on the first few possessions and dig yourself in a hole like that. We’ve got to be better, obviously, in first down efficiency and stay on the field. That’s the main thing.”

The score, frankly, flattered the Bombers. The late TD throw to Bailey with 1:52 remaining pulled the Bombers to within a score, but the Argos then ran four plays totalling 54 yards before two kneel-downs to seal the deal.

“I saw it as they came out with a different energy and they just hit us in the mouth,” said safety Brandon Alexander. “They came out and you’re seeing screens and runs and a lot of those are perimeter screens, a lot of those are just man on man. You’re going to get off the block and make a play or you’re going to let them beat us.

“And I believe that they were physical today. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’ve got to do. That’s all it was: we just weren’t physical enough.”

THE BIG STAT: 39:46

The Argos held the ball for 39:46 – almost 20 minutes more than the Bombers 20:14.

MILESTONE WATCH:

One of the few bright spots for the Bombers was veteran fullback Mike Miller becoming the Canadian Football League’s all-time leader in special teams tackles.

Miller registered two special teams tackles on Saturday, and his third quarter takedown of Argo returner Daniel Braverman gave him 191 in career, surpassing Jason Arakgi, who had 190 during his days with the B.C. Lions.

“Obviously I was looking for the ‘W’ today,” said Miller. “I was just trying to do my part again today and just happened to have a few plays come my way and make a few tackles today to get the record.”

FYI: 

The Bombers inactive player for the third straight week was OL Geoff Gray… Darvin Adams returned to the lineup for the first time in ’21 and finished with two catches for 57 yards… Rasheed Bailey’s TD was his second in as many games…Winnipeg had only four first downs and 94 net yards offensively in the first half… Jackson Jeffcoat was sensational with three tackles two sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.

NUMBERS GAME

9/80: The Bombers, the least-penalized team in the CFL in 2019, were nailed for nine infractions totalling 80 yards.
0-2: Tyler Crapigna missed both his field goal attempts, from 37 and 38 yards.
149: The Argos had 149 yards along the ground to Winnipeg’s 32. Toronto had a 100-yard effort by a RB for the second straight week, as D.J. Foster rushed 10 times for 101 yards

NEXT: The Bombers are home next Sunday to the Calgary Stampeders. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.

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