TORONTO -- The road to the Grey Cup will likely go through Toronto now.
Much to Winnipeg's chagrin.
The Argos wrested top spot from the Blue Bombers in the CFL East by eking out a 16-8 victory over Winnipeg before 40,116 fans, Toronto's largest crowd of the season, at the Rogers Centre yesterday.
Toronto improved to 10-7 after winning its fifth straight match while the Bombers fell to 9-7-1 after losing their fourth game in the last six outings.
The Bombers got a valiant effort from its injury-riddled defence but a pathetic one from its offence and an unforgiveable performance by its special teams -- again.
"It was very frustrating," said Bomber centre Obby Khan. "We're very, very frustrated right now. We had a golden opportunity to control our destiny and we didn't do it. We just pissed it away so, it's very, very frustrating.
"Everyone needs to look at himself in the mirror and see how they can get better because this is not acceptable by any means."
Winnipeg could have clinched first and a first-round playoff bye with the victory. Now, the Bombers need to beat Montreal on Friday and hope the Argos lose to Saskatchewan on Saturday.
Both Toronto touchdowns were set up by turnovers forced on special teams. First, Argo linebacker Raymond Fontaine blocked a Pat Fleming punt and recovered it himself at the Winnipeg one late in the second quarter. Running back John Avery ran it in on the next play. In the second half, Fontaine punched the ball out of the hands of Keith Stokes on a punt return. Two plays later, Toronto quarterback Michael Bishop completed a 17-yard TD toss to slotback Arland Bruce III.
"Definitely a disappointing effort," said Bomber linebacker Barrin Simpson, who missed the block on Fontaine on the blocked punt. "We didn't come out with the win. We let them beat us in the special teams phase and that pretty much won the game for them. We made two mistakes that cost us two touchdowns off turnovers and that's really what hurt us."
The Bomber offence was also plagued with a least six drops by its receivers and a lack of any type of flow.
MUST 'GET BETTER'
"Oh yeah, it is frustrating," said Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn, who completed just 21 of 46 passes for only 181 yards. "Plain and simple, we just didn't make enough plays. That's what it comes down to. That's what you need to do in order to win games so, we didn't make enough and we didn't win the game.
"If we want to compete for the Grey Cup, we've got to get better, plain and simple."
Toronto kicker Noel Prefontaine added two singles and a convert. Winnipeg placekicker Troy Westwood connected on two field goals while punter Pat Fleming had two singles.
The loss spoiled a yeomen effort by the defence that was missing three starters and lost defensive end Tom Canada (shoulder) in the first half.
But there is still hope.
"The game is over but the season isn't," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry. "What we had in our control is now gone. Now, it belongs to Toronto. The only thing left in our control is to play the Montreal game in a week and that's what we're going to focus on. That's the next objective and we'll see what happens."