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Bombers’ Collaros makes no excuses, credit Argonauts after Gray Cup loss


REGINA — Quarterback Zach Collaros made no excuses after the Toronto Argonauts upset the two-time defending Gray Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers 24-23 Sunday within the CFL title sport.

Collaros, the reigning two-time CFL Most Excellent Participant, sat in entrance of the media after the beautiful setback and tried to clarify why the heavily-favoured Bombers misplaced to the Argos.

“I don’t assume that we received into a very good rhythm at any level within the sport offensively,” stated Collaros, who completed 14-of-23 passing for 183 yards and one interception.

“We have been in a position to put collectively just a few good drives right here and there, however we weren’t environment friendly sufficient on first down, working or passing the soccer, and that begins with me. I’ve to do a greater job to assist the crew win.”

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The Bombers, who topped the West Division with a 15-3 regular-season mark, appeared to take management of the sport on the primary play of the fourth quarter. Janarion Grant returned a punt 102 yards for a landing to place the Bombers forward 23-14. It was the longest punt return landing in Gray Cup historical past.

Simply over two minutes later, Toronto kicker Boris Bede narrowed the hole to 23-17 with a 36-yard discipline objective. The Argos restored their lead with 3:24 remaining within the contest on a five-yard landing run from A.J. Ouellette.

Toronto appeared to construct on its lead with 2:09 left with a 42-yard discipline objective try by Bede, however it was blocked by the Bombers. Collaros then led Winnipeg into field-goal vary with kicker Marc Liegghio to aim a 47-yarder with 54 seconds remaining.

Argos defensive finish Robbie Smith blocked the kick and Toronto ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Collaros, who suffered an ankle damage within the West Division last towards the B.C. Lions on Nov. 13, didn’t seem like restricted by the damage. He did, nonetheless, have points eluding the Argos go rush, which collected 4 sacks.

“You’ve received to play 4 quarters, so credit score to them. They by no means gave up … From an offensive standpoint, I simply wished we did extra to remain on the soccer discipline,” stated Collaros. “We’ll watch the tape and be upset, however once more, it was an incredible 12 months and I’m simply actually proud to be part of this crew.”

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The Bombers have been chasing their third straight Gray Cup championship, a feat final achieved by the Edmonton Eskimos who received 5 straight titles from 1978 to 1982.

Nonetheless, Collaros doesn’t imagine the lofty expectations put extra stress on the Bombers.

“I actually don’t assume so. I’m undecided that ever actually places stress on any crew and we actually have a really mature group, a veteran laden crew,” stated Collaros. “We simply care lots, so we put stress on ourselves, it doesn’t matter what. The fellows labored their tails off all week lengthy getting ready for this soccer sport, as a result of it was the following sport.

“Anyone’s received to win.”

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Though Collaros felt there have been issues the Bombers might have executed higher so as to win, he additionally credited the Argos for his or her efficiency. Particularly, the play of Argos backup quarterback Chad Kelly, who took over from starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson within the fourth quarter after he suffered a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand.

Kelly arrange Ouellette’s landing with a 20-yard scramble on a second-and-15 play from the Winnipeg 36-yard line. He eluded two Winnipeg defenders within the backfield earlier than streaking downfield and getting the primary down.

Ouellette scored three performs later. It was his second dashing landing of the sport.

“They by no means gave up. For Chad (Kelly) to come back in and do what he did, that was spectacular,” stated Collaros.

“They’d a very good sport plan. They pressured a bit of bit extra on second-down conditions. They have been in a position to get dwelling a few instances. They form of did what we have been anticipating they have been going to do for a lot of the soccer sport and so they did a greater job than us.”

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