for this game

Blue Bombers tackle Toronto on the road

Jul 24, 2011 - 12:52 AM Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Buck Pierce threw for 361 yards and tossed three touchdowns as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers captured a come-from-behind 33-24 win over the Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre.

Pierce completed 22-of-27 passes for the Blue Bombers (3-1) as the team picked up its third win in four tries to kick off the campaign. Last season Winnipeg tallied just four wins overall in 18 opportunities.

"It was good to do that on the road, to answer the bell. [The offense has] got to learn to step up and not rely on the defense. It was very important for the offense to stay in the game today ... Great job by the guys up front," Pierce said of his team's efforts.

Terence Jeffers-Harris recorded five receptions for 107 yards and a pair of majors. Running back Fred Reid accounted for a game-high 84 yards rushing on 19 carries for the Bombers as well.

Winnipeg kicker Justin Palardy also played a pivotal role for the visitors as he knocked through four of his five field goal attempts and finished with a total of 15 points.

Toronto (1-3) starting quarterback Cleo Lemon failed to make it through the first quarter as he suffered a chipped tooth after a helmet-to-helmet collision. Lemon, who gave way to Dalton Bell and never returned, had been a perfect 5-of-5 passing for 58 yards.

Bell finished the day 13-of-27 for 169 yards and a score, but he also suffered a pair of late sacks and tossed a couple of interceptions that prevented the hosts from holding on for the victory.

The Argos jumped out to a 10-0 advantage midway through the first quarter thanks to an 11-yard touchdown run by Chad Kackert and a 30-yard field goal conversion by Noel Prefontaine. Kackert led his team in rushing with 74 yards on 13 attempts.

Winnipeg put together a 14-play, 82-yard drive that ate up close to seven minutes on the clock, but the visitors had to settle for an eight-yard field goal by Palardy.

Just before the end of the period Bell converted a 22-yard passing strike to Samuel Tranks for a major to make the score 17-3 heading into the second frame.

Prefontaine had a chance to add to the Toronto advantage early in the second quarter, but his 43-yard field goal attempt deflected off the left upright and failed to clear the cross bar. The miss for Prefontaine was his first of the season, having entered the meeting a perfect 7-of-7.

Pierce, who began the game by completing his first eight pass attempts, put together an effective march down the field on he next drive, mixing the run and the pass, but his first incomplete brought on Palardy who made good on a 34-yard field goal to make the score 17-6 with just under six minutes remaining.

Later in the period Brandon Stewart intercepted a Bell pass and returned it to the 41-yard line, but again the Bombers were unable to produce any momentum and had to settle for another field goal attempt. However, this time Palardy came up short on a 45-yard try which would have been his longest of the season.

Three minutes into the second half the Blue Bombers started moving the ball once again as Pierce tossed a pass to Terrence Edwards who tip-toed along the sidelines to place the ball deep in Toronto territory. On the play Pierce was speared by Ejiro Kuale and the linebacker was tossed out on the objectionable play, the ball subsequently advanced inside the seven-yard line.

On the next play Pierce stood in and fired a pass over the middle to a diving Terence Jeffers-Harris, making the score 17-13 after a successful PAT.

Later in the period Pierce and Edwards again hooked up, this time with the receiver slipping behind the first line of defense and streaking 63 yards to the end zone, giving Winnipeg its first lead of the afternoon at 20-17.

On the final play of the third quarter, Chad Owens made a big play for the Toronto offense as he reeled in a pass from Bell and fought his way for a 32- yard pick up down to the 27-yard line. Kackert was then given three cracks with the ball coming out of the backfield, hitting the end zone on a two-yard effort early in the fourth period to put the Argos back on top at 24-20.

The lead for the hosts was short-lived however, as Jeffers-Harris pulled in a short pass from Pierce out on the right side and fought off some poor tackling before streaking down the sideline for the 84-yard score.

Bell kicked the Toronto offense into gear again, moving the ball deep into the Winnipeg zone, but an interception by Jonathan Hefney at the goal line turned the ball back over to the Blue Bombers who began their next drive at the 25- yard line.

Pierce could have dug the hole even deeper for the Argos in the final minutes, but after a dropped pass by Edwards that would have surely given Winnipeg a first down within striking distance of another major, the club had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Palardy to make the score 30-24 with the three- minute warning approaching.

With 1:43 remaining in regulation the Argonauts got another shot at getting into the end zone, but Odell Willis ripped around the left side and sacked Bell for the first time, forcing a fumble and turning the ball back over to the Blue Bombers.

A minute later Palardy knocked through his fourth field goal of the afternoon, a 32-yard effort to make it a two-score game.

On the next possession Bell was flattened once again, effectively ending any last-second threat the Argos might have had left.

"Part of being the backup quarterback is you never know when you're going to come into a game," remarked Bell. "Things started off well in the first quarter...but then we didn't execute. I put that on myself. I have to be better prepared next time,"

Game Notes:

Willis has at least one sack in every game this season and leads the league in sacks with six overall...Reid entered the week leading the league in rushing with an average of 86.3 yards per outing...Prefontaine finished with six points which means he now has 1,399 for his career, ranking him 15th in CFL history...Winnipeg won the first meeting of the season between the squads by a score of 22-16 at home two weeks ago...The clubs are set to play each other yet again on September 24 in Toronto and then October 28 back in Winnipeg...The series between the squads was knotted at 49-49-2 heading into today's contest...In 2010 the Blue Bombers didn't win their third game until the second week of September against Saskatchewan (31-2).