TORONTO – Matt Nichols threw two TD strikes to Clarence Denmark as the streaking Winnipeg Blue Bombers dismantled the Toronto Argonauts 34-17 on a hot, muggy Friday night at BMO Field.
Nichols cemented a third straight win for Winnipeg (4-4) with a 79-yard TD pass to Denmark just 50 seconds into the fourth quarter that gave the Bombers a commanding 27-10 lead. All three victories have come since Nichols replaced Drew Wily as the starter.
Nichols was a workmanlike 17-of-28 passing for 246 yards and allowed his first interception since going under centre. But that was easily countered by a tenacious Winnipeg defence that forced six turnovers (five interceptions, one fumble recovery).
Maurice Leggett had two interceptions, including a sparkling 98-yard interception return TD — his second this year — with 6:04 left in the game. Defensive back Kevin Fogg was also solid with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Winnipeg’s defence has forced a staggering 12 turnovers in its three wins.
Denmark finished with seven catches for 195 yards and the two touchdowns. Andrew Harris’s four-yard TD run at 9:57 of the third put Winnipeg ahead 20-10 and pretty much silenced the BMO Field gathering 15,063 on a night when both the Toronto Blue Jays and Tragically Hip were playing nearby.
Harris finished with 123 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Winnipeg also exorcised a few demons, earning just its ninth win in 25 games against Toronto (4-3). The Argos also came in boasting a 7-1 record since 2012 coming off the bye week, having not played since a 23-20 road win over Ottawa on July 31.
Logan Kilgore threw for 322 yards and a TD against Ottawa in his first CFL start. But he struggled against the Bombers, completing 26-of-44 passing for 303 yards with a touchdown and the five interceptions before giving way to rookie Cody Fajardo in the fourth.
Fajardo hit Llevi Noel with a 34-yard TD strike with 2:02 remaining as Toronto dropped to 1-3 at BMO Field.
Justin Medlock kicked four converts and two field goals for Winnipeg.
Diontae Spencer scored Toronto’s touchdown. Lirim Hajrullahu booted two converts and field goal.
Nichols’ 29-yard TD strike to Denmark earned Winnipeg its 13-10 half-time advantage. Nichols found an open Denmark at 7:41 of the second quarter one play after a Khalil Bass interception.
Kilgore hit a wide-open Spencer on a 62-yard TD pass at 14:51 of the first to five Toronto a 10-3 advantage. It marked the third time Kilgore tried hitting Spencer deep, twice just over-throwing the open Argos receiver.