In order for a football team to be successful, it needs all the ingredients to blend together.
The offence, defence and special teams need to mix together just right.
Furthermore, each individual player on offence, defence and special teams need to play together in order for their group to fit in to the finished product.
On Friday, the Toronto Argonauts used a perfect mixture of offence, defence and special teams to stun the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 36-34 in Winnipeg.
The most positive stat for Toronto’s offence in the game was zero turnovers. Turnovers kill a team and in Toronto’s 30-16 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in Week 1, it was the team’s four turnovers that killed them. No turnover hurt more than Malik Jackson’s fumble return for a touchdown when Toronto was down only 23-16 in the fourth quarter.
Running back Cory Boyd had the best night for the Argonauts, putting up 109 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. After only running the ball a total of 13 times in Week 1, it was nice to see Toronto put more of an emphasis into it in Week 2.
Besides Boyd, no player put up any gaudy numbers on offence for the Argonauts. Cleo Lemon went 15/23 for 162 yards, Jeffrey Webb caught four passes for 52 yards and Jeremaine Copeland had 40 yards on three receptions. Still, the important thing was the offence had no turnovers, allowed no sacks and put up nearly 30 points. They matched Buck Pierce and the potent offence of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stride for stride.
On defence, the Argonauts did their part. Yes, they gave up four offensive touchdowns, but the defence stepped up when it mattered for the most part. With Winnipeg driving in the fourth quarter, after Toronto had taken the lead, Kevin Huntley sacked Pierce, forcing Winnipeg to punt it away. When the Bombers were pinned down in their end on the next drive, the Argonauts forced a two-and-out and picked up the safety. As a group, the defence had one interception and two sacks.
Even the special teams got in on the act. Chad Owens had a dazzling 117-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown for the Argonauts, which gave them the lead for good. Owens had a punt return for a touchdown in Week 1. Jamie Boreham had a respectable 42.4 yard punting average and pinned Winnipeg near the goal line in the fourth quarter with a beautiful punt that eventually forced a safety. Rookie kicker Grant Shaw had a day to remember, hitting all four field goals he attempted.
Picked by virtually everyone to finish last in the East, Toronto doesn’t look completely hopeless. They still have room to improve, but showed at least that they will compete each night. It was good to see Toronto’s offence carry the defence at times in Week 2, as opposed to how it usually is.
If Toronto hopes to build on this victory and keep winning, they will need the solid play to continue from the offence, defence and special teams. It is going to take a perfect mixture.