TORONTO — - Paul LaPolice was trying to surprise the Argos when he called for fullback Andre Sadeghian to carry the ball on a critical third-down play late in the fourth quarter.
The Bombers trailed 17-13 at the time and had marched down to the Toronto 27-yard line when the head coach, who also calls the plays, had backup quarterback Alex Brink hand off to Sadeghian on third-and-a-long-one with two minutes to go.
Sadeghian went nowhere, getting wrapped up by Alex Buzbee and Ronald Flemons, and the Argos took over. Winnipeg got the ball back once more but couldn’t do anything with it.
The play call definitely was surprising. For starters, Sadeghian had not carried the ball once this season before that potentially season-changing play. Secondly, No. 1 running back Fred Reid had lugged the ball five times for positive yardage on the drive that started at Winnipeg’s 35.
Five plays earlier, Reid was credited with a four-yard run on third-and-three at the Toronto 49 that kept the drive alive.
“We had been giving it to Fred, and we had worked on this package this week,” LaPolice said. “We felt we’d be able to pop him, give an element of surprise, and we felt the A gaps would be open. They slanted in, and they stuffed us. They made a play.”
LaPolice added that handing it off several yards behind the scrimmage was the only option.
“We couldn’t wedge,” he said. “It was too long for the wedge.”
SPOILED EFFORT: At half-time on Sunday the Bomber defence had allowed a grand total of two points in its previous six quarters.
When Toronto’s Jeremaine Copeland hauled in an eight-yard pass in the end zone midway through the fourth, it marked the first time in nearly eight quarters that Winnipeg had given up an offensive touchdown.
In the other words, the defensive players probably had no trouble falling asleep on Sunday night. They were not, however, about to place the blame on the offence or special teams.
“We played a pretty good game, but it wasn’t perfect,” safety Ian Logan said. “We need to cause more turnovers, get the ball more often and help the offence out, but all we’re concerned about is what we do.”
Cornerback Jovon Johnson also said the defence could have been better, hinting that an unnamed teammate might have been to blame for Copeland’s touchdown.
“We called a blitz, they got it, and one of the defenders didn’t blitz, and it gave him another second to throw the ball,” Johnson said. “Those things happen when you’re not in the position you’re supposed to be.”
LATE HITS: Bomber running back Fred Reid had 18 carries for 100 yards, marking the first time in his career he’s hit the century mark in back-to-back games. He had 148 last week against Saskatchewan … There were a whopping 23 punts in the game … Winnipeg kicker Justin Palardy was perfect yet again, connecting on field goals from 41 and 34 yards. He is now 7-for-8 in four games … The Bombers have lost six of their last seven contests … The makeshift Argo offensive line did a decent job, but the Bombers still sacked Cleo Lemon five times. Odell Willis and Phillip Hunt had one apiece, but they weren’t dominant forces like they were in the Banjo Bowl … The Argos, despite missing league rushing leader Cory Boyd, still managed 166 yards along the ground using Jeff Johnson, Bryan Crawford and newcomer Anthony Alridge … LaPolice said Jyles played “OK. I know he needed more help, and a couple throws down field could have been better. I think he got hit on one of them.” … Ricky Foley had a sack in his Argo debut … Bomber cornerback Deon Beasley, who recorded his first career interception and added a fumble recovery, had a sore arm after the game, according to LaPolice.