It’s Now Full Systems Go for the Toronto Argonauts

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Argonauts
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 2: In first half action, Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Llevi Noel (84) consoles Martese Jackson (30) after Jackson bobbled a kick and gave up a touch down. The Toronto Agronauts took on the Ottawa Redblacks in CFL football action at BMO field in Toronto. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto Argonauts had their season on life support back on August 2nd against the Ottawa Redblacks. That was until they had one of the best comebacks of Toronto Argonaut history and won the game with one second left on a McLeod Bethel-Thompson touchdown pass to Armanti Edwards. Even with a 2-5 record following the win, the Argonauts had a small window to breathe through to climb back into playoff contention.

Following a bye week, the Argonauts hosted the B.C. Lions on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. The Lions are a great home team but not very good at all on the road. It also marked the return of Shawn Lemon, whom the Argos traded before the August 2nd game vs. Ottawa. The game marked a chance to truly climb back into the playoff race and the Argonauts did not disappoint, holding on to a 24-23 win after a fumble by Manny Arceneaux.

Playoff Picture

There were a ton of positives for the Argonauts in the win on Saturday afternoon. It was a good sign they can beat a team from the West who, as of now, are neck and neck with the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats for the final playoff spot via the crossover or lack of a crossover. The Argonauts, Tiger-Cats, and Lions are all at 3-5. That record puts them all one back of Saskatchewan, who would crossover as the 4th place team in the West at 4-4. The Argonauts currently would hold the final post-season spot at 3-5 but Hamilton also has a 3-5 record.

There’s no doubt that the win for the Argos got them right back into the playoff race and allows them to breathe a lot easier and proceed all systems go from here on out. As mentioned, there were a ton of positives. The first is obviously that of McLeod Bethel-Thompson stabilizing the offence and moving the offence well for the second straight game, albeit, in the 2nd half. There were some impressive drives in the first half for Bethel-Thompson, but like the August 2nd game against Ottawa, the 2nd half far outweighed the first half in terms of performance, something Bethel-Thompson will need to get right from here on out.

Coombs’ Return Sparks Offence

Bethel-Thompson ended up with a 62.1% completion percentage with 260 yards and a touchdown pass. That touchdown pass was to Anthony Coombs, who made his season debut for the Argos. The return of Coombs instantly made the offence look so much more dangerous. He’s a true swiss army knife that can line up in the backfield, the slot, or out wide. Coombs may be that much needed third receiver the Argos desperately need.

The defence has looked stronger in previous games despite allowing 41 points to Ottawa. They seem to be generating much more of a consistent pass rush, especially from the interior of Dylan Wynn and Cleyon Laing. The secondary has looked better and Ronnie Yell had a strong back at his natural position at corner instead of halfback.

Perhaps the most important development of late is that James Wilder Jr. appears to be back and in a groove. He’s looked a whole lot like the 2017 James Wilder Jr. the past few games. He had 91 rushing yards on 18 carries, and 49 receiving yards on four catches. He’s back to running over linebackers and defensive backs but also being the dual-threat running back that propelled the Argonauts to a Grey Cup title in 2017.

The Last Word

The Toronto Argonauts are back in the race. They play the Montreal Alouettes in Montreal on Friday night. Some think it could be a potential trap game for Toronto, but should they take care of business, they’ll head into Labour Day at 4-5, which will be a massive game with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It’s all systems go from here on out for the Toronto Argonauts and McLeod Bethel-Thompson appears up to the task to lead good ship, Argo.

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