Things were not looking pretty for the Toronto Argonauts at halftime of their Thursday Night Football affair at BMO Field against the 1st place Ottawa Redblacks. The Argos looked like a mess on all sides of the ball with mental mistakes on special teams by Martese Jackson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson unable to provide a spark on offence. They were down 28-7 and it looked as if 1-6 was inevitable which would have essentially sunk their season.
Toronto Argonauts Turning Point
Luckily, for the Argonauts and the entire Argo fanbase, Bethel-Thompson rallied the offence with four 2nd half touchdown passes to make an improbable comeback with a game-winning touchdown by Armanti Edwards with one second left on the clock to win 42-41. Not only did the offence thrive in the second half under Bethel-Thompson, but the defence only allowed Ottawa to three fourth-quarter points and 13 overall in the second half compared to 28 in the first half. Martese Jackson also redeemed himself with his second long punt return of the game.
Tale of Two Halves
The second half on Thursday seemed to be the coming out party for the Argonauts on all phases of the football after a slow start to the season even with Ricky Ray healthy for just under two games. James Wilder Jr. had 115 all-purpose yards, S.J. Green had two touchdowns with 134 yards, and Abdul Kanneh added his first interception as an Argo on defence. The key cogs on both sides of the ball did what they’ve done their whole careers and that’s produce.
The star above stars though was McLeod Bethel-Thompson. There’s a reason he hung around many NFL camps and practice rosters for years and that’s because of his strong and accurate arm. He showed off his cannon on Thursday night with 302 passing yards, four touchdowns and a completion percentage of 67.6%. It was a much-needed performance and inspired some serious confidence in the entire Argonauts team.
With the bye week this week, Bethel-Thompson will get even more time as the first string QB and get to learn Marc Trestman’s offence even more. The win on Thursday definitely seems as if it could be a big turning point to the season of the Toronto Argonauts, especially with the schedule for the rest of the season.
The Argonauts sit at 2-5 and in third place with four points. That wouldn’t get into the playoffs but they’re only two points back of fourth place Saskatchewan Roughriders to potentially prevent a crossover. They’re also now just two points back of second place Hamilton which would be a guaranteed playoff spot and four points behind the first place REDBLACKS. The remainder of the Argonauts schedule breaks down as follows:
- Week 9 – Bye
- Week 10 – vs. B.C. Lions
- Week 11 – at Montreal Alouettes
- Week 12 – at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Week 13 – vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Week 14 – Bye
- Week 15 – vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders
- Week 16 – at Calgary Stampeders
- Week 17 – at B.C. Lions
- Week 18 – vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Week 19 – vs. Montreal Alouettes
- Week 20 – at Montreal Alouettes
- Week 21 – at Ottawa Redblacks
The Last Word
The Argonauts schedule is much easier the rest of the season. They need to be able to split the season series with the B.C. Lions, take two from Hamilton, and two from Montreal, (though a sweep should be expected) which would get them up to seven wins and eight losses. If they are able to beat Ottawa, they could get up to eight wins with two games remaining with Calgary and Saskatchewan.
With the way the Argonauts played on Thursday night and a much softer schedule upcoming, there’s reason for optimism again. 8-10 or 9-9 suddenly seems well within reach. Getting to either mark could net them second place or even a home game in Eastern Division Final. It could potentially prevent a Saskatchewan or B.C. crossover as well. The Argonauts are definitely alive and last Thursday against Ottawa could be the turning point.
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