Argos' offence comes through

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- This one will be remembered as the win in the wind.

Needing to win to stay tied with the Montreal Alouettes for first place in the East Division, the Argos hung tough facing the wind on the final drive of the game and beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 35-32 at Canad Inns Stadium.

The Argos improved to 9-6, the same record as the Als, who earlier in the day scored a stunning 46-44 win at home over the B.C. Lions.

The two teams face each other this Saturday in Montreal at Olympic Stadium. The teams have split the two games they have played this season, so in all likelihood this game could decide first place.

"I think this is what the schedule-makers were hoping for (and) it's what both teams wanted," Argos head coach Pinball Clemons said after his team's win yesterday. "This is what it's all about; let's get it on."

Similar to the Als, the Argos pulled out their win on the final play.

With 1:10 to go, the Argos mounted a four-play, 69-yard drive against the wind, setting up Noel Prefontaine for a 20-yard field goal on the final play.

The series featured quarterback Damon Allen, who had his best outing of the season, completing 26 of 39 passes for 484 yards, clicking with receiver Arland Bruce on a key play. Bruce ran a post route and Allen hit him with a 46-yard strike. It advanced the ball to Winnipeg's eight-yard line. Two plays later Prefontaine nailed the field goal.

"It was a great call," Bruce said. "Damon read it right and he had time to get it to me."

The Argos' ability to execute the final drive factored in largely because Allen had settled into a groove. He had some difficulty finding his rhythm in the first quarter when the Argos faced the wind and trailed 11-3.

"So often when there's pressure situations, players focus even more," Allen said. "I think that's all part of it. But I was in a rhythm by then anyway. It was a read route by Arland ... and all I had to do was throw it out there. I knew I had to put something on it because we were going against the wind."

Unlike in previous games, the Argos did not let penalties or turnovers work against them. Late in the game, the Argos were assessed a questionable pass interference call against defensive back Clifford Ivory. Two plays later, the Blue Bombers scored a touchdown to trail by three points. On the Argos' next series, receiver Andre Talbot fumbled and Winnipeg used the turnover to score a field goal to tie the game.

DISAPPOINTED CROWD

The crowd of 22,323 awakened from slumber, only to be disappointed in the final 70 seconds.

"This is the kind of game you need to come back and win; the kind of game you can prove to yourself you can win," Clemons said. "If we had won this game by 25 points it wouldn't have been the same morale as it is the way we won. It's a test of fortitude and it's the kind of victory you want going into the contest that we are this coming week."

The loss dropped the Blue Bombers, who already had been eliminated from the playoffs, to 5-11.


Videos

Photos