Argos get kick-started

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Arland Bruce? Who needs him?

Not the Argonauts, at least for one wind-swept night in Manitoba.

With their top receiver suspended and quite likely on his way out of Toronto, the Argos' defence conjured memories of past years when it stifled offences, limiting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to just eight first downs in a commanding 19-5 victory before 28,466 disappointed fans in blustery conditions at Canad Inns Stadium.

"We were flying around," said linebacker Kevin Eiben, one of the few holdovers from the Argos' defensive glory days.

"Guys were in areas where we needed to be and when the play came our way, guys were in the gaps to make the plays. That's what we need to do.

"We have had great defences and this rates just as high as the other ones."

PATHETIC

It won't be clear for a while whether the Argos can keep the defensive ball rolling. The Bombers were pathetic on offence, and head coach Mike Kelly ran through quarterbacks Stefan LeFors, Bryan Randall and Richie Williams and could come up with no solution.

Still, considering the Argos had allowed 90 points in their previous two games (though turnovers played a role), holding anyone to five points should bring respect.

And if the controversy involving Bruce -- he publicly slammed head coach Bart Andrus and took a shot at quarterback Kerry Joseph upon learning he would not be making the trip -- had any effect on his teammates, it was gone by the time they stepped on to the field.

"I couldn't face these guys in here without making the decision I did," Andrus said. "This was about the guys who were here playing the game. It was about them doing the right things.

"I can't say enough about the perseverance they showed.

"Our defence played really well. That was a phenomenal thing."

Even had Bruce been a good soldier and been able to stay in uniform, the Argos would have been shorthanded at receiver with Andre Talbot, Tyler Scott and Matt Lambros nursing injuries.

It was no surprise that running back Jamal Robertson, who has been invigorated with an improved offensive line, carried the ball 24 times for 101 yards and supplied the Argos' only touchdown with a one-yard plunge.

Bruce's replacement, Hank Edwards, had two catches for 17 yards. In total, Joseph completed 14 passes on 28 attempts and threw two interceptions. But Robertson helped sustain drives.

"They have a good defence and I knew it was going to be a grindfest," Robertson said. "It was unfortunate what happened with Arland, but we had to put it aside and we did."

Justin Medlock booted four field goals, making him 10-for-10 since taking over from the injured Eddie Johnson.

Tackle Adriano Belli (right knee) and returner Matt Black (shin) were hurt, but Belli said he should be okay. Black is questionable for next week.

"It was a big win, something we really needed," Joseph said. "Everybody had to step up. It's big.

"Now we got them coming into our house and we have to defend. We have to be better at home."

TERRY.KOSHAN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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