Bethel-Thompson leads epic Argos comeback to stun Bombers for first win

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

August 2, 2018.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson erases a 24-point deficit against the Ottawa Redblacks in his first career start, finding S.J. Green in the end zone with no time left in a thrilling home victory.

August 1, 2019. McLeod Bethel-Thompson erases a 20-point lead against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, finding S.J. Green in the end zone with 13 seconds left to secure Toronto’s first win against the Bombers in a thrilling home victory.

As the memorable line in “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” goes, It’s a circle.”

Bethel-Thompson threw for 343 yards and a hat trick of touchdowns with no picks and added 44 more yards on the ground as the Argonauts (1-6) stunned the Blue Bombers (5-2) 28-27 for win number one.

They certainly didn’t make it easy. A simple look at their 14 penalties for 165 yards and three fumbles will tell you that.

But they didn’t quit. Not when they were stuck 20. And not when they fumbled in the red zone with just minutes to play down six.

It was classic Canadian football.

Winnipeg grabbed the first touchdown of the ball game. Sandwiched in between a pair of Justin Medlock field goals was an Andrew Harris 56-yard touchdown burst as the league leader in rushing yards looked like the only man on the field.

Toronto gave up almost 200 yards on the ground when these clubs first met in Week 5 with Harris being responsible for 116 of those. He had 152 here.

A recovered red zone fumble by Qudarius Ford on a Harris run did little for the field position battle. That’s because a two-and-out followed suit, despite 28 yards of offence on the drive because of penalties. The Bombers took the gift in yardage and re-paid their opponents with a seven-play drive ending in another Harris rushing touchdown. They committed nine penalties for 80 yards on the half, much to the chagrin of the Argos PR guy.

Then it was Toronto Time. Tyler Crapigna hit a field goal before Bethel-Thompson kept things rolling. A seven-play drive resulted in Rodney Smith recording his first major in the CFL which cut the lead in half, pleasing the same Argos PR guy.

Continuing into the third, a Crapigna field goal was followed up with an offensive lineman and eligible receiver Jamal Campbell touchdown. That came after Chris Rainey put Toronto on the eight following a 78-yard punt return, he finished with 229 total return yards. Cue Argos PR Guy.

The Bombers reclaimed the lead on a Nichols pass to Chris Matthews on a seven-play drive leaking into the fourth. Momentum was shifting back before that in the hands of Harris settling their offence down and their defense forced consecutive two-and-outs following the big man score. Nichols went 21-of-31 for 169 yards and a major.

An unwanted punt single followed after Toronto pushed back but penalties poked holes in their ship again.

And then another setback. A five-minute, 12-play drive had Bombers fans nervous before a Willie Jefferson fumble recovery as Bethel-Thompson dropped back to pass in the red zone cooled things off.

But even that wasn’t enough to put out the flame. A two-and-out later set Toronto up with a chance to win inside two minutes. Bethel-Thompson used Green more and more as time dwindled and each play increased in importance. He finished with 120 yards and was targeted 17 times, grabbing 10 of them.

And it was Green, almost a year to the day who completed the comeback with the snag in the endzone, cementing this as a game of the year contender. How do you feel about that, Argos PR Guy?