Argos put tumultuous week behind them by beating Blue Bombers

The Canadian Press
7/25/2009 3:05:05 AM
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WINNIPEG -- Leading receiver Arland Bruce III was out of sight and out of mind as the Toronto Argonauts earned their second win of the season.

Toronto went into the game under a cloud of controversy after rookie head coach Bart Andrus left Bruce at home for unprofessional behaviour. It didn't seem to make a difference as the Argos earned a methodical 19-5 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.

"I don't think (Bruce's absence) had any effect on the game," Andrus said. "This was about the guys who were here playing the game. It was about them doing the right things, them taking the game to the next level and executing and being determined and playing physical football.

"That's what it was all about tonight for me."

Argonauts kicker Justin Medlock connected on all four of his field-goal attempts from 22, 46, 31 and 44 yards. Jamal Robertson rushed for the game's only touchdown -- a one-yard lunge.

Toronto evened its record at 2-2, tying it for second place in the East Division with Hamilton. Winnipeg dropped into last place in the East at 1-3. Montreal leads the division at 4-0.

"Arland is a great football player, but we knew the guys that we had here we had to be together and we had to get it done and that's what we were able to do," Toronto quarterback Kerry Joseph said.

The victory was also a boost because the team was coming off a pair of losses in which they gave up a total of 90 points.

"We knew we had to come in and play better and we were able to do that," said Joseph, who completed 14-of-28 pass attempts for 144 yards with two interceptions. He also rushed five times for 36 yards.

"It wasn't the prettiest win, but it was a win. On the road, they're hard to come by so we'll definitely take it."

Robertson finished with 24 carries for 101 yards.

The Bomber offence, which has been scrutinized for its struggles under new head coach and offensive co-ordinator Mike Kelly, only produced a 35-yard field goal by Alexis Serna.

Medlock gave Winnipeg two more points when he conceded a safety late in the game in front of 28,466 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.

One of the most stunning elements of the game was that the Bombers were held to one first down in the first half -- in the first quarter -- and finished with only eight. Toronto had a total 16.

"The defence played well enough to win, the special teams played well enough to win," Kelly said.

"Offensively, we have to make plays and we didn't make plays. We certainly tried a variety of things and nothing was working. That's the bottom line."

Winnipeg used all three of its quarterbacks.

Starting quarterback Stefan LeFors was pulled in favour of Bryan Randall after the first half and was 7-of-11 for 30 yards and one interception.

LeFors went into the game completing a league-low 44 per cent of his passes. He couldn't recall feeling lower in his football career.

"Probably not. This is rough," said LeFors, who spent the past two seasons backing up in Edmonton.

"We can't go any lower than this, I don't think, so we've just got to keep plugging away, keep working at it and, hopefully, we get a little bit better."

Randall was replaced by Richie Williams at the beginning of the fourth quarter after going 1-of-5 for six yards and one interception.

Williams was 3-of-10 for 30 yards.

Winnipeg running back Fred Reid rushed 12 times for 32 yards.

Kelly said he'll review the entire offence before the rematch in Toronto next Saturday afternoon.

"I'm sure it won't be all strictly on the quarterbacks, but none of the three played very well," Kelly said. "We didn't catch the ball very well and, you know, it's just one of those things where at some point somebody's going to have to start making some plays."

The first quarter featured three of the game's eight turnovers: a fumble by each team, two interceptions by each and a pair of turnovers on downs by Winnipeg.

Toronto defensive back Jason Shivers intercepted LeFors and also stripped the ball from Bombers receiver Brock Ralph for a fumble.

The first quarter ended 3-3 after each club scored following a turnover.

Toronto scored 13 unanswered points in the second quarter for a 16-3 half-time lead. Medlock added a field goal in the third and his conceded safety was the only scoring in the fourth.

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