Argos hang on to beat the Bombers 17-13

[audio:|titles=Steven_ArgosBombers09-19-10_Podcast]Chad Owens totaled 125 punt return yards, including one for an 80 yard touchdown, and his team’s defence came up with key stops in the final minutes of the game as the Toronto Argonauts held on to defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 17-13 on Sunday at the Rogers Centre, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Owens’ major occurred early in the third quarter off a Mike Renaud punt. The Argos’ (6-5) return man would pick up a few good blocks and would run in for an easy score, making the game 7-6 after new kicker Justin Medlock nailed the extra point.

This was Owens’s second punt return touchdown for the season, and with his confidence, the former University of Hawaii standout believes there could be more to come.

“We [Argos punt return team] feel as if every time we get a punt opportunity we can get a touchdown,” Owens told TSN after the game. “Every time I get the ball I feel as if I can go [for big yards or a touchdown.]”

The Double Blue defence was also impressive, especially late in the fourth quarter.

With a little over two minutes to play, Toronto made a key third-down stand on a Bomber drive that had already included one third down conversion.

This play was a little odd because, instead of going with leading rusher Fred Reid, Winnipeg (3-8) head coach Paul LaPolice went with relatively unknown fullback Andre Sadeghian to try to pound out the first-down.

Another significant sequence by the Boatmen’s defence was in the final play of the game when Winnipeg quarterback Steven Jyles made a desperation attempt for the end zone and was picked off by Toronto safety Willie Pile just in front of the goal line.

The interception was the first one thrown by Jyles in seven games. The Winnipeg pivot finished 15-of-28 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Other positives in regards to Toronto’s defence were the three sacks it recorded, including one by newly acquired Argonaut Ricky Foley who has been a subject of some controversy this week after signing with the team.

The Blue Bombers played excellent defence as well, shutting the Argos out in the first half.

However, in the third quarter, they would first bend by giving up the Owens touchdown and then fall victim to a 50 yard field goal with a little under three minutes to play in the frame by Medlock, making the score 10-6 Argos at the end of three.

In the fourth quarter, Toronto would pump up their lead to 17-6, after quarterback Cleo Lemon hooked up with Jermaine Copeland for an eight yard touchdown strike and Medlock split the uprights for the point after at the 10:18 mark in the period.

Lemon went 14-of-23 for 90 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Following that Toronto scoring drive, Winnipeg would respond almost immediately after at 8:47 in the fourth with a 39 yard Jyles touchdown pass to a wide open Terrence Edwards who had worked himself behind the secondary. After the extra point attempt by Justin Palardy, the score was 17-13.

This scoring drive was started by a 39 yard Reid run, and only lasted three plays for 77 yards.

Both Edwards and Reid had good games. The Winnipeg receiver ended up with 140 yards, including an 81 yard catch early in the first quarter, to go along with a touchdown. The Bomber running back had 100 yards on 18 carries.

To open the scoring, Palardy kicked a 34 yard field goal attempt midway in the first quarter, and then connected on another field goal, this one from 41 yards, at 5:50 in the second quarter to make the game 6-0 Winnipeg at halftime.

Toronto was without leading rusher Cory Boyd, and went with a halfback by committee strategy to try to fill his void. The leading Argo rusher, fullback Jeff Johnson, finished with 62 yards on 11 attempts.

The Argos’ next game will be at home against the Edmonton Eskimos, while the Blue Bombers will continue their road trip and will face the Montreal Alouettes.