Toronto Argonauts special teams sink them in loss to Blue Bombers

The Toronto Argonauts lose the ball against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
The Toronto Argonauts lose the ball against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images) /

Two costly mistakes on special teams caused the Toronto Argonauts to be down 14-0 after just one defensive snap in another blowout loss.

All week, the Toronto Argonauts preached how ready they were.

The 0-3 team had steadily improved week-to-week, eliminating many of the issues that plagued them in becoming the CFL’s last winless team.

Some of those issues returned last night, as a lacklustre special teams performance caused the Argos to be down seven before either offence even took a snap.

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The special teams game did not improve from there.

On the next drive, Winnipeg returner Charles Nelson ran the ball back 81 yards, putting the ball at the Argos four, where they promptly converted for a touchdown.

Just one snap into this game, and the Argos defence found themselves down 14-0, at no fault of their own.

Mistakes like that have compounded into a frustrating season, one that must make coach Corey Chamblin really feel like he is plugging a sinking ship – after one hole is patched, another appears.

It was an all too familiar refrain post-game.

"“We keep shooting ourselves in the foot.” Mcleod Bethel-Thompson told reporters after the game. “[We keep] taking ourselves out of games.”"

It is the same thing that was said in the locker room after their first loss to the Ti-cats and has been repeated over and over since.

Toronto believes they are the ones who have put themselves in this position, and said this week that they have the talent to turn things around. It seemed like positive thinking in the lead up to this game – it’s now beginning to seem like denial.

If the Argos are to take any positives from this game, it’s that the offence has improved drastically for the second straight week.

The major reason for that success was the successful inclusion of Derel Walker, who was clear last week about his disappointment in his usage rate. Walker was targeted 13 times, more than he had been targeted all season.

He did not disappoint, recording 188 yards and two touchdowns as Bethel-Thompson threw for an impressive 388 yards in the contest. With six different receivers and earning over 10 yards, the passing game finally found the rhythm that made the Argos so confident going into the season.

Their defence should also hold their heads high. Discarding the drive that began on their own four, they held the league’s best team (at least by record) to just three touchdowns, which would have given Toronto a chance to win if it had not dug such a hole for itself.

But the rushing woes continued, on both sides of the ball.

The Argos were not able to get anything going in the run game, and James Wilder Jr. was again held to a low rushing total.

The defence was torched by Andrew Harris for 116 yards, and the Blue Bomber’s second-highest rusher Chris Streveler also earned more than any Argonaut.

On the day before the Argonauts embarked on this three-game road trip, S.J. Green was asked what these games would do to the Argonauts championship aspirations.

“I think this is a defining moment in our season. We are going to make or break the whole year.”

Next. Argonauts keeping frustrations in check. dark

With a short week of prep and Calgary up next, we’ll know soon enough.