It’s usually cliche to say that a team dominated the game in all three phases en route to a blowout win, but in the case of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers romp over the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night at IG Field, you’d almost be underselling the performance the Bombers put on.
107 YARDS TO THE HOUSE!
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 13, 2019
It started with a bang on Lucky Whitehead’s opening kick-off return touchdown. Charles Nelson’s 80 yard punt return led to an Andrew Harris touchdown on the very next series. Later in the first quarter, Darvin Adams went right down the seam for a 38-yard TD grab. Nic Demski wouldn’t be outdone with a 67-yard TD grab of his own in the second quarter. Harris went over the 8,000 career rushing yards mark with a 52-yard scamper. The defence smothered McLeod Bethel-Thompson forcing two interceptions and recording two sacks.
And that was just the first half.
Although a lull in energy in the second half allowed the Argos to put some points on the board, a goal line stand with under four minutes left sealed the deal as Winnipeg went on to win 48-21 and move to 4-0 for the first time since the 2003 season when Milt Stegall, Charles Roberts and Daved Benefield were the headliners at Canad Inns Stadium.
In a great callback to that 2003 season, the 37 first half points were the most scored by the Blue Bombers in a first half since August 23 of that year, when they dropped 42 on the Stamps, according to CFL PR.
— CFL Communications (@CFL_PR) July 13, 2019
Matt Nichols was the ultimate game manager as he likes to be known, completing 18-of-24 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. Harris finished with 116 yards on the ground, and five different Bombers caught a pass in a complete effort from the offence.
Obviously no sweeping assessment can be made of dispatching a struggling Argo team as it’s strictly business for a team with legitimate Grey Cup aspirations. But if they’re able to maintain this level of execution against stronger teams around the league, nobody will want to see the Bombers with the explosiveness on offence and attack dogs on defence come the fall.
As for the Argos, last week’s squeaker of a loss at home to the Lions looks like a mirage (especially after seeing BC worked by Edmonton on Thursday night), but there were a few positives to reflect on after the final whistle.
Derel Walker finally arrived in double blue, scoring two touchdowns while recording nine catches for 188 yards on 13 targets, which surpassed his total from the first three games. Jacques Chapdelaine finally moved Walker around to different spots after he had been anchored to the outside and struggling to generate any looks from an Argo offence that still hasn’t been able to fully shift into gear.
The raw defensive numbers for the boatmen won’t look great either, but they did do a good job of generating consistent pressure, and linebackers Ian Wild and Micah Awe were consistently making plays attacking the ball from sideline-to-sideline.
Addressing the special teams that have crippled the team through the first month? That’s a story for another day.