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109th Grey Cup Recap: 18 and Victorious

by Clyde E. Dawkins 9 days ago in football · updated 8 days ago
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The Toronto Argonauts survive a thrilling Grey Cup to dethrone the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Toronto Argonauts won their 18th Grey Cup in franchise history (most in CFL)

Oh man, this one is special. As I'm writing this, I'm still on a huge happiness high from the game I just watched. On November 20, 2022, the 109th Grey Cup took place in Regina, Saskatchewan--the provincial capital's first time hosting the CFL's annual championship game since 2013, which saw the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders capture the Cup. In this year's affair, the Toronto Argonauts faced off against the Winnpeg Blue Bombers, the first Grey Cup meeting between the clubs since 1950. For the Bombers, they were looking to win their third straight Grey Cup and become the first team to do so since the then-named Edmonton Eskimos won the 66th-70th Grey Cups. As for the Argos, they were looking to win the Cup for the first time since 2017.

The game was quiet at first. The Bombers couldn't get anything going offensively in the first quarter. Neither could the Argos, but they did manage to strike first with a 47-yard field goal from Boris Bede. Argos took a 3-0 lead, and despite the Bombers actually entering Toronto territory for the first time in the game, the score remained 3-0 after the first quarter. The Argos got to field goal range again, but Bede's 36's yarder went wide and through the end zone for a single. The Bombers finally moved down the field and found the end zone first via a Dakota Prukop sneak at the one yard line, and just like that, the back-to-back defending champions led 7-4.

Bede redeemed himself with a game-tying field goal, but in the final minute, Marc Liegghio made one of his own, and at the half, the Bombers led 10-7 over the Boatmen. Winnipeg started the second half with the ball, but ended up punting, while Toronto's drive led them to the Winnipeg 4 yard line, where AJ Ouellette (one of the stars of the Eastern Final) ran it in to give the Argos' lead right back. What followed (much to the frustration of this Argos fan) was a Bombers drive that lasted nearly eight minutes and ended with Prukop's second QB sneak touchdown--putting the Bombers up 17-14. The Argos' last drive of the third quarter ended with a punt that kicked off the fourth quarter, but the result: Janarion Grant striking again. He had a punt return TD in the Western Final, and he did it again, going 102 yards all the way--the longest such return in Grey Cup history.

The Bombers led 23-14, with nine points being the largest lead for either team in the game. My thinking: the Argos need to start a comeback now! The fourth quarter just started, so the Boatmen had plenty of time, but this drive needs to lead to some semblance of points. It also saw McLeod Bethel-Thompson suddenly exit the game due to a hand injury, so it was Chad Kelly's show from that point. Thankfully, points were scored. It was a Bede field goal that cut Toronto's deficit to six points, but every little bit helps. It gets better. Winnipeg's drive abruptly ended with an interception (coming after Toronto dropped three potential INTs), so that was life for the Argos. However, that drive ended with a punt. Winnipeg's drive ended that same way, and the Argos returned it 44 yards to the Bombers' 31 yard line! My thinking: "We have to have a touchdown here!" Thankfully, that's how it ended. A drive lasting barely over two minutes ended with Ouellette's second touchdown of the evening, and after Bede's extra point, the Argos were up 24-23 just a hair before the three-minute warning!

So the Bombers got the ball, and my first thought: "A takeaway would be nice here." Ask and ye shall receive! Henoc Muamba intercepted Zach Collaros and after the three minute warning, the Argos had the ball with a chance to ice it with a few first downs and (hopefully) one more touchdown. Unfortunately, the Argos went two and out, but they were in field goal range, so a FG would force the Bombers to have to go all the way. But the defending champs had different plans. Bede's field goal ended up blocked, and with two minutes left, the Bombers had plenty of time to get to FG range and possibly win this thing and three-peat. With 54 seconds left, Liegghio was set to kick a 47 yarder, and figuring that he'd make it, I was thinking that the Argos would have time to do the same and end it.

Then...this happened:

Blocked. Blocked! The Argos counteracted the Bombers' FG block with one of their own, and with that, as well as a triumvirate of kneel downs, the Toronto Argonauts were Grey Cup Champions! The Argos won, 24-23, to win the Grey Cup for the league leading 18th time in franchise history, as well as the first time since 2017. Muamba, with his clutch interception, earned not only the nod of the game's MVP, he was also named the Most Valuable Canadian as well. He became only the second player to earn both nods, joining teammate Andrew Harris on that short list. Regarding Harris, he won his fourth Grey Cup; he was part of the BC Lions' championship in 2011, as well as the Bombers' back-to-back Cups in 2019 and 2021. As for the Bombers, they have been denied the dynasty label, coming up short in winning their third straight Grey Cup. In addition, Chad Kelly became an unexpected hero; I still couldn't believe that clutch run he pulled off in the fourth, just epic!

Again, I am so, so elated and have been since that block. Last year saw a disappointing end: a home Eastern Final loss due to many missteps. This year was different, even with the slow start to the season. The Argos ended up winning the important regular season games to stay in first place in the East, and this year's Eastern Final was a complete 180 from last year, with the Boatmen capitalizing and getting touchdown after touchdown. Even better, the Argos managed to come back and score 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat a team who was attempting to three-peat as champions. What a victory! What a team! What a season from the Toronto Argonauts!

And so ends an amazing 2022 Canadian Football League season, and this was a fun campaign. This was the first full season since 2019, as the 2021 season was shortened due to COVID-19 protocols. The CFL will be back in action next summer, and will end with the 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton, Ontario. Hopefully, next season will end with an Argos repeat!

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About the author

Clyde E. Dawkins

Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy

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