WINNIPEG — Justin Medlock's six field goals kept the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the game Saturday before their offence finally started to put points on the board and nail down their seventh straight win.
Medlock's longest field goal came from 53 yards as the Blue Bombers defeated the Toronto Argonauts 46-29.
"I'm trying to help the team and they're doing a good job of putting me in spots," Medlock said.
His steady foot made the difference in a game where the rest of the offence sputtered early.
It took until late in the third quarter for Winnipeg (8-4) quarterback Matt Nichols to throw for his first touchdown, a 15-yard pass to Clarence Denmark to tie the game 29-29.
Nichols, who completed 24-of-33 passes for 232 yards, says it was a little frustrating in the first half.
"You just have to be patient," he said. "A few things went wrong in the first quarters. We were taking penalties . . . We didn't do that in the second half."
The Bombers winning streak hasn't moved them out of third place in the CFL West division but it has narrowed the gap between the B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders.
"I don't care about stats. I care about wins. . . We're still in a position to take first in the West. We'll need a little bit of help but we play Calgary next week," Nichols said.
Kick returner Quincy McDuffie added another touchdown for the Bombers on a 98-yard runback but also left the game with an injured arm or shoulder.
Running back Timothy Flanders added a third touchdown on a two-yard run and Nichols carried it a yard for a fourth.
Dan LeFevour was 22-of-34 passing for 271 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions for the Argos (5-7). Their only other point was a single on a Lirim Hajrullahu punt.
"In the second half we couldn't move the ball," LeFevour said. "This one hurts."
"We didn't play well enough in all three phases," Argos coach Scott Milanovich added after the loss that leaves his team in third place in the CFL East.
"We couldn't stop them on defence, we couldn't stop them on offence, we couldn't stop them on special teams."
Penalties hobbled the Bombers early, with seven in the first half compared with four to Toronto, although they finished with 10 to the Argos' seven and Toronto lost more yards, 115 to 95.
The Bombers got to within five yards of Toronto's goal-line but had to settle for a 13-yard field goal in the first quarter and it was LeFevour who scored the first touchdown with a six-yard pass to Diontae Spencer. It gave Toronto a 7-3 lead with just over three minutes left in the first.
The Bombers made it 7-6 at the 3:24 mark of the second on a 48-yard field goal from Medlock in front of 25,943 at Investors Group Field.
Winnipeg was without star running back Andrew Harris (lower body) but Flanders made a strong debut, helping to set up a 36-yard field goal from Medlock at 9:14 to put Winnipeg ahead 9-6. He finished with 102 yards.
"I feel blessed and very excited," said a smiling Flanders after the game, who found out Saturday he would start.
"Probably when y'all found out Andrew wasn't playing when I found out. . . I thought I did alright, pretty good I guess."
LeFevour connected with Kenny Shaw for a 30-yard reception at 11:14 to make it 14-9 but the Argos had little time to celebrate. McDuffie returned Hajrullahu's kick 98 yards for a touchdown half a minute later and put the Bombers ahead 16-14.
Hajrullahu, who was let go by the Bombers last season, struggled Saturday. He missed his only field goal attempt from 39 yards and averaged 44 yards on five punts.
Bomber defensive back Moe Leggett added his sixth interception of the season, which put him in sole possession of top spot for CFL ball hawks.
In the first half and early in the third quarter, LeFevour threw two touchdown passes to Shaw, one to Toni Gurley and another to Spencer. But after Denmark's touchdown late in the third, the game belonged to the Bombers who scored 27 unanswered points.