The Argos are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. But to get there, they had to sweat out a bizarre 31-29 overtime victory at home over the BC Lions.
And by virtue of the Alouettes (6-5) loss to Saskatchewan on Saturday night. The Boatmen(7-4) are back in first place by themselves.
The Argos liked clinching the playoffs so much that they had to do it twice in the same game. Thanks to a questionable mishandling of the clock by Toronto at what appeared to be the end of the game in the fourth quarter. Which after the game, Argonauts’ head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told the media that he apologized to his team for his faux pas.
After a blocked field goal, Toronto was lined up in the victory formation with 44 seconds left, up by one, 23-22. But after two questionable kneel-downs failed to run out the game clock. BC used their one timeout and managed to get the ball back into field goal range with a chance to win the game. The Lions would miss the field goal but score a rouge tying the game at 23, forcing overtime.
In the extra session, the Argos, thanks to a pass interference by BC in the end zone, would score eight points on a QB sneak by Antonio Pipkin and a two-point conversion to fullback Dion Pellerin.
Down 31-23, BC would respond on their opportunity in overtime with a quick td score when Michael Reilly connected with Jacob Scarfone on a 32-yard catch and run. Reilly’s two-point conversion would fall incomplete in the left corner of the end zone to preserve a 31-29 Toronto victory and a playoff berth that almost slipped through the Argos fingers.
The game had a bizarre feel to it from the outset. As on the Argos’ first field goal attempt of the game, Boris Bede lined up without a holder. The first omen that this contest would be abnormal. None of that bothered Bede, as he would go on to connect on all five of his field goals, two of them from 50 plus yards.
Toronto raced out to a 10-0 lead at rainy BMO Field before BC would take to the air and score two touchdowns to go ahead 14-10. Argos kicker Boris Bede would help his team retake the lead 20-14 by scoring the team’s next 10 points on three field goals and a punt single.
But an Obum Gwacham pass deflection and interception for a score in the third quarter would put the Lions back up 21-20. Boris Bede would once again help his team retake the lead 23-21 late in the fourth quarter.
That’s when the spookiness of this game would ensue, a day before Halloween. Lions kicker Jimmy Camacho would miss three straight potential go-ahead field goals in the 4th quarter, but his misfires would net BC two singles to force overtime. Camacho’s last miss at the final gun went out of the end zone for a game-tying rouge.
BC’s loss drops their record to 4-7. The Lions have very slim playoff hopes. They will be at the 6-5 Tiger-Cats in Hamilton next Friday.
Toronto’s triumph in overtime keeps them undefeated at home (5-0) and puts them at 7-4, alone in first place in the East. They have clinched a playoff berth, but the Argos have a chance to win their division and earn a bye in their next three games. The Argos will be at the Redblacks next Saturday. Then return home for their final two games of the regular season against Hamilton and Edmonton.