We Finally know who will compete for the Grey Cup in 2022. In the East we had the Toronto Argonauts versus the Montreal Alouettes. In the West we had the Winnipeg Blue Bombers versus the BC Lions. Who prevailed?
Eastern Conference Champion
In the East the Alouettes had to travel to Toronto to take on the Argonauts. Trevor Harris was dealing today completing 25 of 30 passes for 362 yards and 1 touchdown, on top of that William Stanback and Tyson Philpot both did their best to roll their team to victory. Stanback had 12 carries for 84 yards, adding 1 reception for 5 yards. Philpot the rookie caught 8 of 8 targets for 137 yards and 1 touchdown averaging over 15 yards per reception on the day.
Chandler Worthy continues to be a great signing by Montreal. In this game he had 6 return attempts for 114 yards. Averaging over 21 yards per kick return. He had 1 punt return for 8 yards.
Defensively the Alouettes failed to collect a single sack. While they did put some pressure on the Argos signal callers they simply couldn’t hit home. This led to a lack of turnovers by the Argos, and an overall lack of big plays for the Alouette defense.
On the opposite side, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Chad Kelly combined for 3 touchdown passes on the day. Completing 20 of 28 attempts for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns with no blemishes on their record in the way of interceptions. Andrew Harris and Aj Ouellette combined for 15 carries 80 yards and 1 touchdown. Adding another 3 receptions for 83 yards and 1 touchdown through the air.
DeVaris Daniels only caught half of his six targets but made them count for 108 yards and 1 touchdown. Kurleigh Gittens Jr caught all 9 of his targets for 97 yards snd 1 touchdown, while Markeith Ambles managed 32 yards catching all 3 of his targets.
Defensively Toronto had 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble that led to a turnover. Shawn Oakman, DeWayne Hendrix, and Chris Edwards each nothing one sack. Hendrix had a big day also collecting 6 tackles. Royce Metchie, and Jamal Peters combined for the turnover with Metchie forcing the fumble and Peters recovering.
Ultimately Toronto won the game 34-27 with this turnover proving to be the difference. While the offense will take the credit, it’s the defense that came through clutch to get the ball back in their hands. Congratulations to the Argonauts!
Western Conference Champion
In the Western Conference we had a David and Goliath sort of match up. Winnipeg proved to be the best team in the league during the regular season, BC flashed at times but the injury to QB Nathan Rourke slowed their momentum.
Winnipeg got off to an early lead scoring on their first drive and never relinquished the lead. Winnipeg’s special teams unit created a big time play that extended the drive for the Lions by roughing the kicker during an attempt to block their punt. BC’s special teams wanted to help out their offense so on the following punt attempt, they forced a fumble and recovered it getting the ball back for the offense.
One play later BC scored on a 2 yard run for a touchdown. Rourke’s day became rough rather early on completing less than half of his passes for under 200 yards and an interception. Meanwhile Winnipeg couldn’t be stopped in the passing game.
Passing to Near Perfection
Collaros, Dru Brown, and Prukop had solid outings. Collaros completing over 70% of his attempts. Prukop attempted just one pass for 10 yards, adding 6 carries for 34 yards and 1 touchdown giving the offense that rushing element. Brown threw one pass for 12 yards.
The X factor in this game was none other than Brady Oliveira. The third year back topped 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and managed to add to his great year with a 100+ yard day. Racking up 130 yards rushing on the day averaging 6.5 yards per carry, while adding 4 receptions on 5 targets for 37 yards.
The key to their success was the ability to spread out the defense and use multiple playmakers to attack them. Whether it was Prukop’s value, Oliveira, Nic Demski, Dalton Schoen, Drew Wolitarsky, or Rasheed Bailey the ball was distributed to everyone on the day. This kept the offense moving focused on taking what the defense gave them, even if it meant targeting their 6th option in the passing game.
Ultimately Goliath (Winnipeg), won this one on the strength of an efficient offense that limited mistakes. Meanwhile it was the lack of balance offensively that led to a loss by David (BC) in this game. With a final score of: 28-20
The Grey Cup Match Up
This should make for an exciting Grey Cup in which Winnipeg attempts to defend their back-to-back championship victories from the 2019 and 2021 seasons. Collaros and company have quickly built a dynasty in Winnipeg. It’s up to Toronto to take down the juggernaut that is the Blue Bombers team. Toronto’s defense will be put to the test at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan just a week from today.
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