Argos fall short

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- This time, the Butler didn't do it. But he certainly came close.

Argos quarterback Rocky Butler, who had his best game as a CFL starter against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers back in 2002, had led Toronto to a 13-9 lead in the fourth quarter last night -- only to see it disintegrate in the waning moments.

Winnipeg kicker Rob Pikula made amends for a miserable night by booting a 28-yard field goal with seven seconds left to give the Blue Bombers a hard-fought 15-13 victory in a CFL match before Winnipeg's fourth consecutive sell-out of 29,533.

"Any time you lose, it's a tough way to lose so, it's very disappointing in our corner," said Toronto safety Orlondo Steinauer. "Defensively, we should have held them there on the last drive. But it didn't happen."

The game-winner was set up by a last-minute drive that started at the Winnipeg 21 with 1:39 left. Bomber slotback Milt Stegall caught two passes for 40 yards on that drive.

Winnipeg had pulled to within 13-12 late in the fourth quarter when Pikula connected on a 29-yard field goal on another drive that had started at the Bombers 11.

Argos kicker Noel Prefontaine had extended Toronto's lead to 13-9 with a 25-yard field goal earlier in the quarter. That was set up by a 26-yard punt return by Toronto's Arland Bruce III.

"Any loss is tough," Butler said. "I mean, we were in this game the whole way. I mean, we've got to find a way to close out games ... We've got to capitalize when we have the opportunities to put points on the board."

Winnipeg improved to 5-2-1 and remains atop the standings in the CFL East, while Toronto, which lost its fifth in a row, drops to 2-6 and remains in third.

The Argos had taken a 10-9 lead at halftime, thanks to the left leg of Prefontaine. He booted a 51-yard field goal on the last play of the half. It was the second-longest field goal of Prefontaine's career. His longest of 52 yards also came in Winnipeg.

Earlier in the second quarter, the Bombers pounced on a Butler fumble at the Toronto 15. After Winnipeg defensive tackle Jerome Haywood knocked the ball out of the Argos quarterback's hands, Bombers middle linebacker Barrin Simpson recovered the ball that had bounced all over the place. Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts scored a four-yard touchdown four plays later.

The Argos used a trick play to score their first major. After linebacker Michael Fletcher raced for 26 yards on a fake punt, Butler completed a 26-yard TD toss to Byron Parker, who usually plays defensive back.


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