Staying Alive: Buck backs Bombers to win over Argos | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
Recap: Winnipeg 44, Toronto 32

TORONTO – Buck Pierce returned to action against the team that knocked him out of the lineup and lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a huge 44-32 win over the Toronto Argonauts to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Pierce's stats were not overwhelming - passing for 200 yards on 13 of 22 - but did engineer four touchdown drives in the win.  He also got help from his running backs who accounted for 278 all-purpose yards.  Chad Simpson generated 136 of those on the ground and also added a touchdown.

With the win, the Bombers pull into a tie with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with 10 points but sit ahead of them in the standings by owning the season series.  With Toronto's loss, the Montreal Alouettes clinched the Eastern Division title and will host the East Final on November 18.

Both teams entered the game receiving a huge boost under centre with Pierce and Ricky Ray making their way back from injury.

Related: Bombers at Argos

» Video: Winnipeg at Toronto Recap
» Images: WPG at TOR
» View Game Stats
» Bombers ground attack dominates
» Video: Vega Makes Unlikely TD Catch
» Video: Ray Finds Durie For 37-Yard TD
» Video: Barnes Hauls in First of Three
» Video: Simpson Dives into the endzone
» View Updated Standings
» Preview: Winnipeg at Toronto

The Argos entered the game with a mathematical chance of still catching Montreal for first in the East division but were concentrating more on locking up a playoff berth with three weeks left in the season.

Both quarterbacks showed some rust on their first drives, going two-and-out and surrendering a sack.

Pierce would get on track on the Bombers third possession however, leading an impressive 17-play, 89-yard drive, finished off by a 4-yard touchdown pass to DL Jason Vega who was lined up at tight end.

Ray would not have an opportunity to answer back however, as Chad Owens fumbled the ensuing kickoff which set up a short Bombers touchdown drive completed by QB Alex Brink who dove forward on short yardage for a 1-yard major as Winnipeg took an early 14-0 first quarter lead.

When Ray did get the back however, he made the most of his opportunity, cutting Winnipeg’s lead to seven when he found Andre Durie in stride for a 37-yard touchdown.

It was Durie’s third receiving major of the season and second in as many games.

The Bombers would continue get some of the lead back when the combination of running backs Simpson and Will Ford helped carry a 65-yard drive to set up a 32-yard Justin Palardy field goal to take a 17-7 lead.  The two elusive backs combined for 50 yards on the drive.

It seemed for a while that for every shot one team took the other had an answer.  The next drive it was Ray’s turn again – first finding Chad Owens down the seam for a 46-yard gain and then spotting Jason Barnes in the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown catch.  It brought the Argos to within three of the Blue and Gold.

Barnes wasn’t finished there, however, hauling in an 8-yard touchdown on the Argos’ very next possession to give the Argos their first lead of the day, 21-17.  The major was set up by a 37-yard reception from Ray to Maurice Mann.

Barnes has been used sparingly by the Argos but all three of his touchdown grabs this season against the Bombers, including a game-winner back in July.

Back and forth they went – with the Bombers quickly answering back with Chad Simpson taking an off-tackle carry 13 yards to cap off a 96-yard drive.  The real legwork was done by Simpson’s backup, Ford however, whose 55-yard catch-and-run got the Bombers out of the shadow of their own goalpost and into scoring territory.

The Bombers would enter halftime with a 24-12 lead.

After an 88-yard first half, Simpson picked up here he left off at the start of the second half, juking and jiving his way through the Argos defence and helping set up a 45-yard Palardy field goal to give Winnipeg a 27-21 lead early in the third quarter.

On the Argonauts next possession Ray found Andre Durie for a 35-yard gain to set up a 47-yard Swayze Waters field goal attempt but the placekicker sailed it wide left and earned just a single point.

Ray, Barnes takin' it back

Despite the loss, an old tandem from Edmonton seemed to be on the same page for Toronto as Ricky Ray found Jason Barnes three times in the endzone as a part of his 383 yards passing.

» View Game Stats

The Bombers offence was relentless, however, as Buck Pierce stood in the pocket – absorbing hits and delivering passes with spot-on precision.  His accuracy helped lead a 70-yard drive on 11-plays capped off by a two-yard run by his backup Alex Brink to give the Bombers a 34-22 lead.

The Argos looked to get their first major score of the second half but the Bombers forced Owens’ second fumble of the game and recovered on their own 30 yard line.

They would make good on their next opportunity when a 50-yard drive led to a 31-yard Waters field goal to pull within nine.

Toronto continued to hang around though, primarily because of Barnes who first hauled in a 35-yard reception to set the Argos up in Bombers territory and then snagged his third touchdown of the game on a 15-yard pass from Ray.  The Argos cut the lead to five.

With momentum swinging in their direction, the Argos got a huge stop from their defence and forced the Bombers to punt with just under two minutes remaining.  

Ray scrimmaged from inside the Argos 15 yard line and after a quick completion to WR Spencer Watt, the pivot dropped back to pass on second down but the ball was stripped from his hands and recovered by Winnipeg defensive lineman Andre Carroll which all but sealed the win for the Bombers.

Ford would add the exlamation point with a 5-yard touchdown with nine seconds left to give the Bombers a 43-32 win.

Fan Comments
Anyone who has watched the Blue Bombers for the last couple of years should know how fragile and ineffective their offence has been. These last few games, even with Elliot throwing a bakers dozen worth of interceptions, have revealed a completely different kind of offensive set up. How many 2 and outs have seen? There were about 10 in a row in last years Grey Cup! Now look at them! That BALL IS MOVING!

Maybe it's a miracle, made it's witchcraft. Or Maybe.. It is Gary Crowton. I am loving what that man is doing and I want to see more of it! GOOD GAME BOMBERS AND KEEP IT UP! AND KEEP CROWTON AROUND!
October 22, 2012 - 2:29am
No offense, but can we stop calling Buck a "warrior" who "battles through" his pain like a "true leader"? It just glorifies his foolishness and the irresponsibility of the BB coaches.

I'll pass on the last two BB games this season. I don't want to see a man paralyzed on the field.
October 21, 2012 - 10:45pm
bombers show true grit and determination against all odds, something neither the argos or ti-cats have showed all year. Go Bombers!!
October 20, 2012 - 11:40am
Thought Pierce might not make it after a couple of those hits. Toronto was not up to par on D or O and the BBs seem to have found a bit of breathing room - hopefully not for long!
October 20, 2012 - 10:48am
als rule
no miracle for you this season ticats from hammer with no place to play next season!! LOL LOL LOL
October 20, 2012 - 3:09pm
To read ar's gibes, you'd think HE had something to do with the 'Cats season instead of just sitting on a couch somewhere. LOL
October 20, 2012 - 5:08pm
I disagree about Toronto's O not being up to par. Ray finally had protection and he racked up nearly 400 yards passing, not bad coming off the injured list. Their problem is the Defense which gets worse with every game; and penalties and fumbles that snuff out drives; Ray's fumble in particular. Kudos to Wpg and Pierce, who played his heart out.
October 21, 2012 - 12:50pm
Well done Blue Bombers and Buck Pierce.

All those heavy hits that Pierce is absorbing, is getting to a sickening point with me. Getting harder to watch and the cringe meter is on high.

Gotta`respect that dudes toughness and resliency. Jeez is that QB a warrior. I resepct you Buck, but I worry about your health. You`ll be a young man of 45-50 years old dealing with slurred speech and all the other symptoms of having your bell rung too many times and the neck snapping action.
October 20, 2012 - 4:48am
A good game. Both O's looked pretty good. Before the game, I thought the score would be close with the Argos winning but the Blue Bombers had other ideas and the drive and talent to win. Their D came up to shut Toronto down when it was important. Buck Pierce took quite a beating again. If Winnipeg wants to keep him as their #1 pivot, they need to look for some O linemen who can protect him better.
October 20, 2012 - 1:07am
O line did make holes for running game!
October 20, 2012 - 6:59am
You make a good point but pass protection is a different thing from run support. A good O line does both well. Think Als.
October 20, 2012 - 11:23am
This was the first CFL game that I watched. Being a new Blue Bomber fan I was impressed with the differences between the CFL and the NFL. Exciting game.
October 19, 2012 - 11:02pm
Welcome to the CFL but the Blue Bombers??? 'Nuff said!
October 20, 2012 - 10:49am
Yes. I know that they have had a tough few years but they made the most sense geographically as I am in northern Minnesota. I did some research as well and I really like the history behind the Blue Bombers. They'll turn it around soon!
October 20, 2012 - 2:11pm
als rule
P: welcome to the site and CFL BUT don't pay any attention to the hamilton tiger cats and their song and dance man TFmcb!! 'nuff said!!
October 20, 2012 - 7:13pm
This was the first CFL game that I watched. As an American I was impressed with the differences between the CFL and NFL. Great game. Go Bombers!
October 19, 2012 - 10:33pm
als rule
thumbs up BBs!! when healthy buck pierce can still play a good game at QB BUT the key is healthy!! sorry HC milanovich your rebuilding takes a hit BUT your young yet the NFL may come calling in your future!!
October 19, 2012 - 10:23pm