Winnipeg Blue Bombers outlast Argonauts in Monday Night thriller

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were finally able to get the better of the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field on Monday night. Winnipeg had not won a game in Toronto since 2018 prior to the win in Week 4.

The Bombers continued their early season success, improving to a 4-0 record with a 23-22 win over the Argonauts in Week 4.

It was the defensive effort from Winnipeg that once again helped them to victory. The team opened the game with a huge interception return for a touchdown and continued the impressive showing, finishing the game with three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Winnipeg quarterback, Zach Collaros once again led his team to victory as the veteran quarterback completed 21 of 35 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Rookie receiver, Dalton Schoen appeared to be Collaros’ favourite target on Monday night, catching five of his seven targets for a team-high 73 yards, but it was his teammate Drew Wolitarsky who hauled in the lone touchdown pass.

Greg Ellingson was able to find production on limited targets against Toronto, the veteran receiver caught all three of his targets and contributed 50 yards.

» Box Score: Bombers at Argos by the numbers
» Bombers’ defence has big night in win over Argos
» Through the Lens: Bombers at Argonauts
» Watch: Bombers follow the bouncing ball for big interception

The Winnipeg defence opened the game with a bang.

With Toronto’s offence on the field for their first possession, McLeod Bethel-Thompson was looking for receiver, Brandon Banks on a route up the sideline. However, Bombers’ defensive back, Winston Rose was lurking in coverage for the interception. Rose found the end zone on the return to open the game’s scoring.

Midway through the first quarter, the Bomber defence was able to strike once again. This time Winnipeg’s Nick Taylor would jump in front of a Bethel-Thompson pass, giving the Winnipeg defence their second interception of the first quarter.

With their offence on the field after the interception, Collaros engineered an eight play scoring drive to help extend the Bombers’ lead.

The drive was headlined by the efforts of Wolitarsky, who put the Bombers into scoring position on a 12-yard catch. Two plays later, Wolitarsky found the end zone for the first time in 2022 on a 15-yard reception before the end of the first quarter.

To open the second quarter, the Bombers offence looked to be in prime position to score following a 35-yard reception from Schoen that put Winnipeg on the Toronto 12-yard line.

Toronto’s defence was able to hold the Winnipeg offence out of the end zone, but they would still manage a score as kicker, Marc Liegghio connected on a 15-yard attempt to extend the lead to 17-0.

With under two minutes remaining in the first half, the Argonauts began to march down the field. Bethel-Thompson completed back-to-back passes of 15 and nine yards, before Harris broke free for an 11-yard run. But on a second and nine, Winnipeg linebacker, Adam Bighill was able to find Bethel-Thompson for a sack, halting yet another Toronto drive.

Toronto called on kicker, Borris Bede to try for a long-range field goal. He delivered, splitting the uprights from 52-yards to give his team their first score of the game.

Nearing the end of the first half, the Bombers appeared to be driving, Collaros was once again looking for Schoen downfield, but Argos defensive back, Jamal Peters intercepted the pass holding the Bombers out of the end zone to end the first half.

Toronto continued to carry the momentum into the third quarter. On their opening drive of the new half it took the Boatmen just three plays to find the end zone.

Bethel-Thompson completed a 24-yard pass to Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Before connecting with Banks for a highlight-reel 45-yard touchdown to cut the Bomber lead to just one score.

Following the two interceptions in the first half, Bethel-Thompson went on to complete 11 of his 12 passing attempts for 160-yards, including touchdown pas to Banks.

As the third quarter continued, so did the aggressive play from the Argonauts defence. The Toronto defensive secondary held strong as Collaros threw back-to-back incompletions, and the Bombers were forced to punt.

With their offence back on the field, the Argos looked to threating for another score.

On the Winnipeg 10-yard line Bethel-Thompson was looking for Banks on a crossing route, but a hit jarred the ball loose and fell into the hands of defesnive back, Malcolm Thompson. Thompson then made a heads up play to lateral the ball to Taylor before being tackled as Taylor broke away for a 41-yard return.

Following the interception, the Bombers offence looked to take advantage of the field-position from the interception. However, Collaros was unable to connect with Rasheed Bailey in the end zone on a second-down attempt.

Winnipeg’s Liegghio would hit a 20-yard field goal for his second make of the game, giving the Bombers a lead 20-10 lead to open the fourth quarter.

The Boatmen were able to follow up the score from Winnipeg with one of their own. A 10-yard reception from Markeith Ambles and two strong runs from Harris put the Toronto offence on the Winnipeg 31-yard line.

Winnipeg’s Jake Thomas found his way into the backfield for a sack on second down, forcing Toronto to attempt another field. Bede hit a 42-yarder for his second make of the game, helping to close the gap on the Bombers’ lead.

Approaching the six-minute mark of the final quarter, the Argos once again called on their kicker, this time for a 39-yard attempt. Bede delivered, splitting the uprights to help cut the Winnipeg lead to just four.

With their offence back on the field following the score from Toronto, Collaros and the Bombers offence looked determined to extend their lead. Collaros connected with Schoen for a 14-yard completion, before finding Greg Ellingson for a 19-yard completion to help put the Bombers into scoring position.

The Toronto defence bent, but it refused to break as defensive back, Robert Priester was able to get to Collaros for a sack to halt the Bombers’ drive. Despite the sack from the Argos defence, Winnipeg still managed a score as Liegghio connected on a 32-yard field goal attempt.

The Argos were down seven with under two-minutes remaining, Bethel-Thompson completed three straight passes to put his team on the Bombers’ 10-yard line, giving them a chance to tie the game. Bethel-Thompson dropped back to pass, finding Ambles in the end zone.

The Argos would only need the conversion on the kick to tie the game, but Bede, who had been perfect all game, missed the point after attempt, securing a win for the Bombers.

Looking ahead to Week 5, the Bombers will look to continue their undefeated start to the season as they travel west to take on Nathan Rourke and the red hot BC Lions. The Argos will have a bye before their Week 6 Touchdown Atlantic matchup against Saskatchewan.

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