Argos blow it with out-of-bounds misstep
The Argos were considerably better than their two opening-season debacles, except for a monumental misstep by running back Chris Rainey.
In the dying seconds of the game, Argos QB McLeod Bethel Thompson pulled his team level at 17-17 with a 23-yard TD pass to James Wilder Jr. and a two-point convert to S.J. Green.
B.C.’s kickoff by Drew Brown went out of bounds at its own 45. The Lions got to the Argos’ 30, but a flag forced a 42-yard field goal attempt.
Kicker Sergio Castillo’s attempt went wide. Toronto returner Chris Rainey caught the ball, but then stepped out of bounds to give the Lions the single and the 18-17 win.
The game wasn’t good, in fact it was downright boring, but the ending was as dramatic as you can get, right down to the final play as the Lions escaped with their first win of the season.
The Argos have now dropped three in a row.
They weren’t completely hapless, but this Argos team has far too many holes to clean up if they are to get a win by any means.
And to think it all came down to an out-of-bounds kickoff.
“There were a lot of things, whether it was offensively, defensively or on special teams that we had to capitalize,’’ lamented head coach Corey Chamblin. “Like I told the guys, you have to sign your name on it and this is your work. You have to find a way to be a pro.”
The best player on this night was B.C. running back John White, your prototypical CFL scatback who has a knack for breaking tackles when running out of the backfield and making plays when used as a receiver.
His three-yard rushing major early in the fourth quarter provided the Lions with a 17-9 lead as B.C. capped off a well-conceived nine-play drive that covered 75 yards.
Toronto gambled for the first time this season on a third and second from B.C.’s 32-yard line.
They tried to execute an inside run play, but the Argos were stopped, a turnover on downs as yet another scoring opportunity would be wasted.
Toronto turned the ball over three times and ended the night with a minus-2 rating.
Following three games, the Argos are dead last with a minus-6 rating.
B.C.’s offence was on the field for close to 37 minutes.
The Argos’ offence didn’t produce its first touchdown until the game’s final minute.
In three games, Toronto’s unit has produced three combined majors.
Derel Walker, the highest-paid non-QB in the CFL, was targeted three times, hauling in two passes for 16 yards.
“We have to find a way to keep the offence efficient,’’ said Chamblin. “Whether it’s Derel, S.J. (Green), Armanti (Edwards), whomever it is. We have to find some ways to get some targets in their hands.
“That’s something we have to evaluate. We’ve had three games it’s time for us to do something different in terms of maybe what we thought would work isn’t working the way we want it to work.
“We have to make sure we re-evaluate where we are. We’re not on a short week (which they were coming off a loss in Regina Monday night).”
The Argos would record their first sack of the season, produce their first lead of the season and yet all they could manage for their efforts was a 3-3 draw at the half against the visiting Lions.
Cleyon Laing produced the first sack of the season when he brought down Mike Reilly in the game’s opening 15 minutes.
Shawn Lemon would record a sack in the second period.
There was better pressure mounted by the Argos, who also mixed in some blitz packages. The back end also played well.
On one scheme, the Argos had Qudarius Ford line up at safety. He intercepted Reilly on an overthrown ball over the middle.
The Argos should have capitalized on the game’s first turnover after Ford returned it 32 yards, but McLeod Bethel-Thompson forced a deep throw in the corner of the end zone for Edwards on a ball Anthony Thompson picked off.
Bethel-Thompson played well, but he needed to be cleaner when the Argos were marching the football.
In reality, the Argos should have been leading by two possessions at the half.
The bottom line is that when plays had to be made in key moments, the Argos came up short.
The crowd was sparse, in fact no attendance number was provided, as the Argos played their one and only home game in July with the upcoming Honda Indy forcing the team to go out West for three straight games.
It was windy and for the first time in the three years the Argos have played at BMO Field there was rain, but not the persistent variety.
When the second half resumed, the rain stopped.
James Wilder Jr. ran very hard when used on check downs, running over Lions defenders and providing that second and third effort.
At times, the Argos used Rainey in the backfield.
It was on defence where the Argos showed the most improvement, especially in the secondary, for the most part.
On one sequence, Canadian rookie Matthew Boateng played the corner spot.
With the Lions having possession to start the second half, the Argos held by forcing a two and out.
On Toronto’s first offensive series, Wilder Jr. lost possession on a run play with the Lions pouncing on the football at the Argos 45 yard line.
Entering the night, the winless teams were both a minus-4 in the takeaway/giveaway category.
Reilly hooked up with a wide open Lemar Durant for a touchdown following the Wilder Jr. turnover.
Following the extra point, the Lions led 10-3 with 9:58 remaining.
The Argos did respond when Rainey returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown, one of the few explosive plays this season in any area. Typical of the Argos, they completely botched the extra point when Jimmy Ralph, the team’s holder, forgot to look up when the ball was snapped.
B.C. led 10-9 after three quarters.
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