TORONTO -- Someone apparently forgot to tell the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the rest of their season is meaningless.
A spirited and feisty, but also dirty and undisciplined Bombers squad dragged their miserable 3-13 record into Rogers Centre Thursday night and bludgeoned the heavily favoured Toronto Argonauts with it.
Winnipeg lost 36-21 of course -- it's what these 2013 Bombers do -- but that had more to do with the defence's complete failure to shut down Argos QB Ricky Ray than it did with any disinterest you might expect from a squad in the hopeless situation the Bombers find themselves.
Winnipeg hit, hard and often. They were still within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, despite Ray throwing for over 500 yards for the first time in his career and setting an Argos franchise record for completions in a game with 39. The Bombers had their chances to win this game, against all odds and a 10.5-point spread.
The Bombers tried hard. They just weren't good enough. And that sums up a season that is jeopardy of going down in the history books for its futility.
At 3-14, the Bombers need to win their final regular-season game a week Saturday at home against Hamilton or they will tie the infamous and helpless 1998 squad coached by Jeff Reinebold for the worst record ever posted in an 18-game season by a Bombers team.
MAX HALL GOOD, RICKY RAY SPECTACULAR: Bombers QB Max Hall went 17-of-32 for 257 yards, two TDs and 0 INTs -- all of which would have been a pretty good night, especially given the low standard set by Bombers quarterbacks in 2013. Except for two things:
First, Hall failed to finish the game, leaving late in the fourth quarter after he was flattened by the Argos' Marcus Ball. The Bombers said after the game Hall had a hip injury.
And second, Hall was damned by comparison on a night Argos QB Ricky Ray set a franchise record for consecutive completions -- 21 -- and completions in a game -- 39 -- and a personal record for yards passing in a single game -- 505.
DIRTY BALL: The teams combined for 15 penalties for 171 yards -- in the first half. The infraction tally included five unnecessary-roughness penalties, one objectional conduct and two roughing the passers.
At one point in the first half, the Bombers took three major penalties on one play -- a roughing-the-passer call against defensive lineman Greg Peach and unnecessary-roughness and objectionable-conduct penalties against defensive back Brandon Stewart.
Bombers head coach Tim Burke said after the game there will be fines.
A SCARY MOMENT: Argos DB Neiko Thorpe spent the better part of 15 minutes lying immobile on the turf at Rogers Centre after a goal-line collision with Bombers tailback Will Ford. Thorpe was attended to by the medical staffs of both teams and paramedics before being strapped to a spinal board and carted off the field. He appeared conscious and made a hand gesture as he left the field.
The Argos reported at half-time Thorpe had been taken to a Toronto hospital for further evaluation.
With the win, the Argos (11-6) finish first in the East Division for the first time since 2007.
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