Just when it looked like the Blue Bombers had smartened up, they dumbed down again.
Winnipeg looked like it had found a winning formula by feeding tailback Charles Roberts extensively, but he fumbled the ball away at a most inopportune time in the CFL game against the Toronto Argonauts before 25,014 frustrated fans last night.
Bombers defensive lineman Jon Oosterhuis had just returned a Keith Stokes fumble to Toronto territory, setting up at least a field goal attempt, which would have given Winnipeg an 18-3 lead late in the third quarter.
Riall Johnson recovered the fumble, then early in the fourth quarter, Argo receiver R. Jay Soward beat Bomber cornerback Omar Evans for a 73-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Damon Allen.
That spoiled a game where Roberts rushed for 120 yards on 21 carries, moving closer to Joffrey Reynolds in the CFL rushing race.
Then Bomber kick returner Albert Johnson III, who had a breakout game, returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards. But he spoiled his own big day when he went out of his way too taunt the Toronto bench and the Bombers scrimmaged the ball 10 yards back at the Argo 46.
Then, Bomber head coach Doug Berry decided to gamble on third and one instead of attempting a field goal which would have given Winnipeg an 18-10 lead. Two drives later, Allen completed a seven-yard TD toss to Arland Bruce III. Then he completed a pass to Tony Miles for the two-point convert and an 18-15 lead, the margin of victory.
And it didn't stop there. Just after Ike Charlton had recovered a Jeff Johnson fumble at the Toronto 25 in the late stages, Winnipeg quarterback Mike Quinn threw an ill-advised pass in the end zone intended for wide receiver Chris Brazzell, but that was picked off by safety Orlando Steinauer to salt the game away for Toronto.
At least Roberts proved just how dangerous he can be when the Bombers use him more. He rushed for 99 yards in 12 carries in the first half alone.
Johnson, meanwhile, returned two kickoffs for 101 yards, one missed field goal 49 yards and returned six punts for 92 yards.