The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost their first game since 2019 and first game with quarterback Zach Collaros behind centre on Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
Collaros dropped to 6-1 as a starter in Winnipeg as the Argos’ handed his squad a 30-23 defeat.
The Winnipeg QB threw for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns while tossing an interception early in the first quarter.
“They started out hot and we didn’t,” said head coach Mike O’Shea.
“I thought there were some moments of physicality towards the end but we didn’t sustain that and we left it a little to late.”
On the other sideline, Toronto’s quarterback Nick Arbuckle chucked the ball for 310 yards and a touchdown.
On a positive note, Bombers’ special teamer Mike Miller picked up two special teams tackles and now holds the all-time CFL record with 191 over ten seasons.
“We just have to do the little things better,” said Winnipeg’s left guard Pat Neufeld when asked about the teams poor run-game performance.
“We have to be able to anticipate them doing all the movements they do up front, having different guys folding in and out of the box. We have to trust our eyes more and find a way to be physical when they’re moving a lot.”
The first quarter couldn’t have started any worse for the Bombers with Toronto’s Boris Bede nailing a 52-yard field goal on the opening drive.
The next time Toronto touched the ball, Nick Arbuckle marched the Argos down the field before DJ Foster found pay dirt on the ground from ten yards out.
With the Bombers trying to cross mid-field on offence, Collaros threw an errant pass right up the middle into the hands of Dexter McCoil.
Boris Bede hammered another ball through the uprights from 31-yards out to collect points off the turnover, making it 13 unanswered for the boatmen.
Winnipeg began the second quarter guns a blazing with Jackson Jeffcoat chasing Arbuckle out of the pocket, knocking the ball loose and into the hands of Jesse Briggs.
Briggs took it 83-yards to the house giving the Bombers some life.
The Bombers’ offence came alive near the end of the quarter with Darvin Adams hauling in a 51 yard dart from Collaros for another blue and gold TD.
After a costly pass interference penalty called on Dee Alford, it took the Argos just two plays to put up another six points with 14 seconds left on the clock.
Toronto led the ballgame 22-14 at the half.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Brandon Alexander stripped Toronto’s John White and recovered the fumble.
The Bombers went three-and-out following the turnover, handing the ball right back to the Argos after putting a single point on the board.
On Toronto’s next possession, Dejon Brissett caught a 31-yard pass inside the red zone for his first career CFL catch.
A late hit was called on Winnipeg’s Deatrick Nichols, placing the ball on the one-yard line.
Arbuckle charged over the line on the QB sneak and with Bede nailing another extra point, the Argos took a 29-15 lead with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter.
After collecting another rouge to make it 31-15, the Argos’ forced a fourth straight three-and-out.
“We didn’t get them off the field enough and we didn’t stay on the field long enough,” said O’Shea.
Attendance at BMO field was announced at 9,866, with capacity capped at 15,000 under current COVID-19 restrictions.
Bombers’ kicker Tyler Crapigna missed both of his field-goal attempts from 37 and 47 yards.
Argos’ kicker Boris Bede went a perfect 3-for-3, including a 52-yard missile, to open the scoring in the first quarter.
The Bombers return to IG Field next Sunday as they welcome the Calgary Stampeders (1-2). The pre-game show begins at 4 p.m. on 680 CJOB with kickoff set for 6 p.m.