It wasn’t easy but the Toronto Argonauts managed to pull off the victory over the Calgary Stampeders to start the 2021 season on a winning note.
The Toronto Argonauts could not have asked for a better start to their season than with a touchdown on the opening drive and a comeback win on the road.
Coming into the game, there was no doubt that it was going to be a battle trying to shake off the rust and deal with the emotions that come with a 21-month layoff from football. Add to the fact that they played on the road and against a top quarterback in the CFL, Toronto definitely deserves credit for the win.
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Was it perfect? Definitely not and head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said as much in his postgame press conference. What he did admire was the battle his team put forth when things didn’t go their way.
The Argos had a couple of gaffes that could’ve been costly including a missed field goal from close range and Ricky Collins having a potential touchdown knocked out and recovered by Calgary in their endzone. It’s those types of plays that make a team lose confidence but that didn’t happen.
In the past, we have seen the team struggle to overcome adversity when faced with a big deficit or needing to execute a play. While there are areas the team needs to work on, McLeod Bethel-Thompson commended the effort the team put forth.
"“We found out we have heart today. We need better execution,” Bethel-Thompson said after the game. “But we’ve got some men with some big hearts.”"
One play that stood out for Bethel-Thompson was the block by receiver Eric Rogers that gave him enough time to find Kurleigh Gittens Jr. for the game-tying touchdown. Usually, it’s the catch or the throw that gets the credit but the quarterback made sure his teammate got his moment in the spotlight.
"“It was the best play of the game, hands down,” Bethel-Thompson explained. “For a receiver to make a play like that, at that time, to see the blitz, it was absolutely phenomenal. It was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.”"
Still even with the Argos up by a field goal late in the game, they needed to make sure the Stampeders didn’t get a chance to drive up the field. That’s where Shaq Richardson put the finishing touches to secure the win with an interception.
Toronto Argonauts defence the unsung heroes in victory over Stampeders
There were many plays made on the offensive side of the ball that earned praise following Saturday’s victory. However, they needed some help from the defence to get themselves in that situation.
The team did manage to limit Calgary to four field goals when it looked like they were going to find the endzone on a couple of occasions with one touchdown getting taken back by a penalty. The most yards they allowed on a single play was a 37-yard reception by Colton Hunchak and no Stampeders receiver tallied more than 100 yards with Kamar Jorden totalling 85 yards.
At the same time, it’s not just the yards that are important when it comes to evaluating a defence’s performance. It’s the late fumble that gave Toronto the boost they needed to kickstart their comeback and the interception to end any chance of the Stampeders getting that late score.
There are definitely areas to work on as the Argos defensive line would’ve loved to get their hands on the quarterback. They face a tough test against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who will make it a point to play a physical game and pound the rock on the ground.
What are your thoughts on the Argos victory over the Stampeders? Can they continue their momentum on the road against Winnipeg? Let us know in the comments below.