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The Grey Cup Turned Into A Block Party

Toronto Argonauts coach gets the Gatorade shower
Brent Just/Getty Images

The biggest game in Canadian football is called the Grey Cup, but when it was over, the Blue Bombers were green with envy. Despite winning the previous two CFL championships, and finishing with the league's best regular-season record in both 2021 and 2022, dynasty-hunting Winnipeg was stifled on Sunday by the Toronto Argonauts, 24-23, after a thrilling fourth quarter chock full of momentum swings.

On a chilly evening in Regina, Saskatchewan, both offenses got off to a slow start. Six punts, a fumble, and a Toronto field goal took up the entirety of the first quarter. But after an Argo rouge made it 4-0, the Bombers' star quarterback—that's what they call the guy who takes the snaps from the center in Canada—Zach Collaros completed a 39-yard pass to kick off the game's first touchdown drive, aided on the ground by Brady Oliveira (who rescues dogs!) and the Taysom Hill–esque Dakota Prukop, who snuck it in at the goal line.

The teams went into the half with Winnipeg leading 10-7, and after Toronto scored a touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter, the Bombers pieced together a 13-play response that restored its three-point advantage. And at the start of the fourth, when Toronto punted away to Janarion Grant, the Winnipeg returner who broke one against BC in the West Final repeated his success with a Grey Cup-record 102-yard thunderbolt that handed the Bombers the largest lead of the day, 23-14. (They missed the point after.)

The Argos responded with yet another field goal, but that drive would prove to be the last for their starting QB, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who suffered an apparent injury to his throwing hand. It was Chad Kelly, of Von Miller Halloween party infamy, who was tasked with leading the comeback.

And he did it! A lengthy punt return by Javon Leake set up the heroics with just six minutes left in the game. On a critical second-and-15 in Winnipeg territory—that's Canadian for "third-and-15"—Kelly's feet saved his butt, as he escaped a sack and barreled 20 yards downfield to set up the go-ahead touchdown.

With the Argos leading 24-23, things got weird. Collaros was immediately picked off as the Bombers tried to counter, and after a couple of runs Toronto sent on its field goal unit to try to stretch its lead to four with two minutes remaining. But some incredible hustle from Nick Hallett on the edge denied the kick and gave Winnipeg an easier task on its final drive.

It started with disaster, as back-to-back sacks by Robbie Smith on second and third down appeared to end the game. But a facemask penalty on Smith on the second sack gave the Bombers new life. Collaros got them across midfield, and Marc Liegghio set up from 47 yards out for the game-winning kick that would give Winnipeg its third straight Grey Cup victory. But Smith created havoc again, getting the redemptive block that allowed the Argos to kneel away the clock and capture the upset win.

I don't care what side of the border you're on: Two blocked field goals in two minutes is a fun-as-hell way to end a football game.

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