The Toronto Argonauts had a disappointing performance on Friday night, dropping their Week 2 game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by a score of 20-7.
Here are four reasons why Toronto lost the contest and things they’ll look to improve upon next week when the Argos host the Blue Bombers at BMO Field in their home-opener.
Failure to attack
McLeod Bethel-Thompson followed up a sensational performance against Calgary in Week 1 with a dud in Winnipeg. He completed 10-of-20 pass attempts for just 70 yards before he was replaced with Nick Arbuckle in the third quarter, though the young passer didn’t fare much better.
The Blue Bombers started two CFL rookies in DeAundre Alford and Deatrick Nichols on the boundary to cover DaVaris Daniels and Eric Rogers. Toronto failed to take advantage of this mismatch, completing just six passes for 60 yards to the two star receivers.
It’s clear the Argos wanted to make Daniels a larger part of the offensive attack, but he caught just one of his seven targets. Ensuring the former Stampeder remains involved will be critical to the team’s success — especially if he’s working against a rookie cornerback.
The Argos forced two turnovers on Friday but failed to capitalize on either of them with points. Jamal Peters made his first career interception when he picked off Zach Collaros in the end zone, but the offence went two-and-out before punting it away on the ensuing drive.
Eli Harold forced Nic Demski to fumble in the second quarter and the offence advanced the ball into Winnipeg territory, but Boris Bede’s field goal bounced on the upright for no score. Takeaways are great, but you have to capitalize on them when they occur.
Toronto took 13 penalties on Friday, which was more than twice what Winnipeg took. The officials should have called facemasking when Ricky Collins Jr. had his helmet ripped off on a fourth quarter punt return, but overall the Blue Bombers played a noticeably cleaner game than the Boatmen.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a couple of penalties, but getting flagged for things like objectionable conduct, unnecessary roughness, and too many men — all of which the Argos did on Friday — is the sign of an undisciplined team. Toronto took 12 penalties in Week 1 against Calgary, so this is becoming a dubious trend.
Giving it away
Toronto turned the ball over four times at IG Field, which is simply too many when you’re trying to win a game on the road.
John White IV failed to reach a first down on a short third-down carry in the second quarter and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Nick Arbuckle was charged with two late turnovers as well — one on an interception to Deatrick Nichols and one on a late strip-sack by Jackson Jeffcoat.
Winnipeg generated ten points off these four takeaways, including Collaros’ game-sealing touchdown pass to Nic Demski. The Blue Bombers have a potent offensive attack and giving them short fields to work with is a recipe for disaster.