Congratulations to the 2022 Toronto Argonauts. Last week I said that if the Argos could limit the Bomber's running game they could win. Well, David slayed Goliath Sunday as the Argos delivered their league-leading 18th Grey Cup, and seventh consecutive victory in a Grey Cup game in magnificent fashion. They defeated a great team and kept alive their undefeated string of Grey Cups against Winnipeg, also with their seventh. It was a wild and very entertaining game and a great illustration of the difference in the Canadian and American games when it comes to the importance of special teams and the kicking game. Classic Canadian football.
The offensive line was fabulous against the league's second best defensive front. The Argos out-sacked the Bombers 4-2 with another two disallowed by a careless facemask and a marginal offside penalty. Robbie Smith had a huge game. He had four tackles, a sack, the disallowed sack and the blocked FG to win the game. The Argo defence was fantastic and outplayed Winnipeg decidedly. The Argo backs and O-line out gained Winnipeg's 5.6 to 4.5 yards per carry. Brady Oliviera was held to 82 yards. Andrew Harris averaged a stellar 5.5 yards per carry.
Under enormous pressure, MBT took some hellacious hits to deliver the ball but did not throw any INTs. Together he and Kelly combined for a solid 79 passer efficiency rating and out-played former Argo Zach Collaros, who struggled throwing an interception and had a subpar passer rating. He and Prukop combined for a 46 passer rating.
The kick and punt returns from Leake were consistently good. Chad Kelly showed poise, composure and running ability that made a huge difference in winning the game.
Jack Cassar led the team with seven tackles, four of them on special teams. Outside linebacker Jonathan Jones was second in tackles with six including one on special teams. Henoc was sensational but three Canadians on defence and one American could also have been MOP of the game.
The Argos young coaching staff adjusted their offensive game plan very effectively at the half, going back to the running game, and overcame giving up a special teams touchdown, which is usually catastrophic in a close game. The Argonauts were full value for the win.
Not very many.
Boris Bede and Brandon Banks had disappointing games.
Bede missed half of his six FG attempts including a block that was his own fault. Bede was too slow to get his last FG attempt away. Instead of starting his approach when the snap came up from the center, he waited until it was pinned by the holder before beginning his approach. This was a costly mistake and meant that it took him 1.45 seconds to get the ball away. Anything longer than 1.4 seconds at a professional level will be blocked. It was. By contrast, Winnipeg's kicker Liegghio got his blocked kick away in 1.38 seconds. Legghio started his approach on time but his kick was blocked because Robbie Smith got immediate penetration through the Winnipeg offensive line. Both kickers should be aiming to have the ball away in 1.3 seconds. Taking 1.45 seconds is an eternity for a FG attempt, even at the collegiate level. The greatest risk comes from the unblocked speedsters on the periphery and that is where the block of Bede's kick came from. Robbie Smith saved Bede from wearing the goat horns.
In what may be his last game, Banks lost his composure. Kurleigh had an off-game with two uncharacteristic drops on three targets.
The Argos had seven penalties to Winnipeg's four. Two of them were due to a loss of composure. They were lucky that this did not cost them in the end. The Argos dropped some potential INTs.
There were three former Argos back up QBs who threw a pass in this game. MBT, Collaros and Prukop. The previous week featured a fourth, Trevor Harris. Who says the Argos don't develop quarterbacks?! Former Argos head Coach Marc Trestman also deserves credit for the development of MBT. He was the first Head Coach who really believed in MBT and chose him ahead of James Franklin. MBT isn't a journeyman anymore.
It looked like MBT may have strained the ligaments in his right thumb/hand. If so its one of the common and painful injuries that QBs get when they follow through into the helmet of an oncoming opponent. Its much more painful than it looks.
Michael Clemons, Ryan Dinwiddie and the Argos football staff have done a miraculous job of turning around the Argos on field product in such short order. The Argos' Canadian depth is really impressive and this augers well for the future. This will be very important as several players on this championship squad ponder retirement. In the meantime, they have established a strong foundation for entertaining football in the GTA for years to come!