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Argos survive mistakes to turn back Redblacks in another comeback win


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The Argos continue to make mental and physical mistakes and coaching errors and yet somehow find ways to continue winning.

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Eventually, this habit of playing poorly must end or their season will come to a crashing end early in the playoffs.

two quarters of play and one kickoff return — they yielded a touchdown to begin the second half — the Argos were horrible in all three phases.
For one half and one kickoff return — they yielded a touchdown to begin the second half — the Argos were horrible in all three phases. and again, there was an issue with the fourth phase: Coaching.

And then they decided to protect the football, move it on offence and defend when the host Ottawa Redblacks had possession.

The end result was another second-half comeback win — 23-20 — over the last-place Redblacks. It wasn’t pretty, but winning ugly has defined this Argos team as they survived a scare in improving their record atop the East Division standings to 8-4.

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Placekicker Boris Bede was again the scoring hero for the Boatmen, going 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts for the second game in a row. His 34-yarder with 4:11 to play stood up as the game-winning play.

The victory now sets up a huge game next Friday night when 7-5 Hamilton comes to town with the season series on the line and first place at stake in the East.

The Argos, however, aren’t playing like a first-place team.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson played well in the fourth quarter, but for most of the game he was off the mark and threw three interceptions. A fourth pick was called back on a video review.

“I’ve got to get out of my own way,’’ said MBT during his post-game Zoom call.
MBT, who went 28-for-44 for 293 yards, one TD and the three picks, isn’t shy in offering a self-appraisal, in good times and bad.

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He has always owned up to his mistakes, but he did come through in the final period, looking more at ease in moving around the pocket and making timely throws. That included a 12-yard scoring toss to Kurleigh Gittens Jr., and two-point pass to DaVaris Daniels that pulled the Argos even at 20-20 early in the fourth quarter. It was their first trip to the red zone all game.

“Hopefully, we’re better on Friday,’’ added MBT when asked if Toronto needs to play as well as it did on both sides of the ball after trailing 20-9 to Ottawa when the Tabbies come to BMO Field.

During Toronto’s comeback win in the Hammer on Thanksgiving, MBT was also lights-out in the second half when he threw for more than 300 yards.

Against the Redblacks, the establishment of a run game by A.J. Ouellette, who was on the roster for D.J. Foster, who was placed on the one-game injured list.

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And when John White IV left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, Ouellette, who started two games for the Argos in 2019, became the featured back.
He rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries and joined White and Foster in reaching the century mark in a game this season.

As for White, who has dealt with a knee issue in the past, he was on crutches following the game, Toronto’s final road game of the regular season.

It doesn’t look good, but head coach Ryan Dinwiddie did say an imaging test awaits White when the team returns to Toronto.

The Argos wrap up the regular season with home games remaining against Hamilton and Edmonton.

For the second game this season against Ottawa, the Argos trailed at the half. And for the second game, Toronto’s special teams allowed a major, this one a 100-yard kickoff return by DeVonte Dedmon to begin the second half.

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Dinwiddie admitted his team played down to its opponent, sentiments echoed by veteran rush end Cordarro Law, who recorded two of Toronto’s three sacks.

“We came out flat, all three phases,’’ said Dinwiddie. “Second half, we found a way to get it done. These tough wins aren’t always pretty, but it showed we’re capable of winning close games.
“I thought we did some good things. Obviously we always want a better performance, but we’re happy we got a win.

“Sometimes you play down to your opponent,’’ said Dinwiddie, acknowledging that the Argos also trailed at halftime when the teams met last month in Toronto. “We’ve got to be better.”

There’s absolutely no way the Argos will be competitive against their next opponent if they play and coach the way they did for most of Saturday.

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Inexplicably, the Argos had starting linebacker Chris Edwards back as the return man on special teams when the Redblacks attempted a first-quarter field goal.

The normally reliable Lewis Ward missed, however, and Edwards fumbled the football deep in his own zone, though the Argos escaped by giving up just a game-tying field goal.

Then, to start the second half, the Argos sideline mysteriously threw a challenge flag on the Dedmon return. Dinwiddie said video on team’s tablet showed two illegal blocks that weren’t called. The challenge as denied and the TD stood.

“The thing is with a block in the back, if they (officials) call it then you can challenge it,’’ explained Dinwiddie, who couldn’t explain why the flag was thrown in the first place.

“We’ve got to be better there and understanding what’s going on.”

It’s three weeks in a row where coaching has come under scrutiny. In two of those games, the Argos won.

Reminded of the coaching errors, Dinwiddie said: “That’s why we go to work each day. It’s to get better. We have to clean that up for sure.”

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