MONTREAL — After a record regular season, Chad Owens continues to break new ground.
The Toronto speedster set a team playoff record with 207 yards receiving Sunday as the Argos overcame a slow start to defeat the Montreal Alouettes 27-20 and book their ticket to the 100th Grey Cup in their home stadium.
Owens added another 139 yards in returns for a total of 346 total yards on the day. Montreal’s total team offence was 394 yards.
“They say you feel like you get in a zone. I definitely felt like I got into some kind of zone,” said the receiver-kick returner, who is the East’s finalist for Most Outstanding Player.
“I just didn’t feel like I was going to get stopped,” he added.
How important was the five-foot-eight, 180-pound Flyin’ Hawaiian?
When Toronto pulled even at 17-17 in the third quarter on a four-play drive that started at the Argo nine-yard line, Owens accounted for 97 of the 101 yards in two plays.
He pulled in a pass for 27 yards and, two plays later, hauled in another for 70 yards.
“He was hot and when a guy gets hot, you try to keep feeding him,” said Toronto coach Scott Milanovich. “He just had that look in his eye. I had to calm him down actually at halftime. He just knew he was going to make the play. He was ready for this game.”
Owens set a pro football record this season by collecting 3,863 all-purpose yards. He led the league in receiving yards (1,328) and combined return yards (2,510).
Last week, in a 42-26 win over Edmonton in the East semifinal, Owens had just 14 yards in pass receiving but added 157 yards in returns.
The Argos last reached the Grey Cup in 2004, when they beat B.C. 27-19. Since then, the Alouettes have reached the CFL championship game five times, winning twice.
“It means everything,” Owens said of making the championship game. “Every team in the league, Day One of training camp, this is the goal. And we’re going to have an opportunity next week to attain that.”
Running back Chad Kackert was another playmaker for the Argos, rushing 13 times for 139 yards.
“He’s strong, powerful, under-rated in my opinion,” said Owens. “But tonight he came out.
“If you didn’t know about Chad Kackert, now you know.”
Milanovich also credited Kackert’s blocking, noting a key block to save quarterback Ricky Ray from an early blitz.
“He’s been an awesome player for us,” he said. “He needs to do it one more week.”
Ray praised his playmakers.
“We had some huge plays. That helps out a lot. When you can throw a five-yard pass and the guy takes it all the way down I don’t know how many yards but gives you an opportunity to score. And Chad Kackert, just a simple handoff and you give him a crease and he changes field position or takes it to the house. Those are big plays for us.”