The Mike O'Shea era as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers begins with a loss as the home side fell 24-22 to the Toronto Argonauts in the first CFL pre-season game, Monday at Investors Group Field.
Fourth-string quarterback Robert Marve came into the game with the Bombers trailing 24-16 and promptly marched the team down the field. He connected with Donavon Kemp for a 31-yard touchdown to close the gap with three minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Bombers would get to taking the lead.
Drew Willy hooked up with veteran receiver Clarence Denmark for a 47-yard play six minutes into the exhibition game. The drive stalled soon after and Lirim Hajrullahu booted a 44-yard field goal. But the strong running game of the Argos got them ahead 7-3 late in the quarter, with running back Curtis Steele running the ball into the end zone from one yard out.
Three minutes into the second quarter, the Argonaut running backs continued to do damage as Steve Slaton ran the ball in for a 13-yard touchdown to extend the Argos lead to 14-3.
On the next drive the Bombers were first and goal at the Argonauts’ six-yard line when Willy ran to the left before finding slotback Julian Feoli-Gudino for the catch and the touchdown with six minutes left in the quarter to narrow the Argos' lead to 14-10.
After a huge 34-yard punt return from Paris Cotton to land the Bombers in Argo territory once again, Hajrullahu hit a 47-yard field goal to make it 14-13 Argos with three minutes left in the half. The Bombers replaced Willy with second-string quarterback Max Hall late in the half.
The Bombers recovered a fumble to start the second half but Hall couldn't take advantage. With less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Toronto's Turrell Sinkfield returned a punt 57 yards to the Bomber 17-yard line. The Bomber defence stiffened and the Argos kicked a 14-yard field goal.
With eight minutes left in the game the Argos worked the ball up to the Bombers’ 15-yard line. The Argos make it 24-16 in the next play as quarterback Casey Pachall found Steve Slaton open and he ran it in for the touchdown.
Brian Brohm started the fourth quarter behind centre for the Bombers and got them into position for a 40-yard field goal to narrow the score to 17-16 Argos.