TORONTO — Kevin Glenn and Emmanuel Arceneaux teamed up for a 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put away the Toronto Argonauts 26-17 Sunday night at Rogers Centre.
The Argonauts were playing their second game of the week after topping the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Tuesday night at home.
With Travis Lulay edging closer to a return, it was once again Glenn at the controls of the Lions offence was again, coming off an impressive performance over Hamilton in Week 7. A week that saw him pass for 407 yards and earn Offensive Player of the Week honours in the process.
The veteran pivot helped get the Lions on the board early but almost all the credit was due to the play of his club’s special teams. Tim Brown fielded a punt with 9:40 left in the opening quarter, broke an arm tackle and raced down field for a 68-yard return, deep into Argos territory. An unnecessary roughness call on the Argos advanced the ball to the Toronto 8-yard line. Two plays later, Stefan Logan gave the Lions a 7-0 advantage, diving into the endzone from three yards out.
Logan entered as the primary tailback after Andrew Harris was deemed unable to go after suffering an injury in the win over Hamilton a week ago. He finished the night with 19 carries for 145 yards and the major.
On BC’s next possession, the shifty runner ripped off a 17-yard rush to set up a 30-yard Paul McCallum field goal to increase the lead to 10-0.
With just under three minutes remaining, the Lions went to a somewhat unconventional call, subbing in Lulay for Glenn for one series. The former league MOP has been on the mend since off-season shoulder surgery but has dressed as a backup in consecutive weeks. He was forced to a two-and-out however, and Glenn returned to close out the first quarter.
The Argonauts offence finally found some traction as the second quarter got underway, on the strength of a pair of powerful runs from RB Curtis Steele. Steele had a pair of majors in the Argonauts win over the Bombers earlier in the week and busted through for a 16-yard gain to headline an 8-play, 37-yard drive that put a 32-yard Swayze Waters field goal on the board to cut the lead to 10-3.
Steele continued to help the Boatmen march on their next series, hauling in a 10-yard pass to put the Argos into Lions territory. A 15-yard pass from Ray to receiver Robert Gill put the Argos closer and the Double Blue netted 30 yards on the play after the Leos were called for unnecessary roughness.
A pair of incompletions by Ray however, and the Argos had to settle for a 33-yard Waters boot to cut the lead to 10-6 with 2:45 remaining in the half.
The Lions answered however, with two big gains. First, Glenn found receiver Arceneaux on second-and-long for a 23-yard completion. Glenn then handed off to Logan who juked his way to the Argonauts’ 21-yard line after a 30-yard run. Paul McCallum posted a 29-yard field goal with 2:05 remaining to put the Leos back up by 7.
BC’s ensuing drive saw Lulay spell Glenn again but promptly surrendered two sacks on consecutive plays.
The quick two-and-out loomed large as the Argos quickly took advantage in short order.
Ray and the offence scrimmaged with 7 seconds remaining in the half, and the future hall of fame QB gunned a pass into Jason Barnes whose 21-yard reception put the Boatmen in field goal range with a deuce on the clock. Waters then stepped into a 47-yarder to put Toronto to within four heading into the break.
With the Lions up 13-9, the third quarter was primarily about field position with the defences holding Glenn, Ray and co. in check.
A 71-yard punt single by Waters with 3:52 remaining in the frame put the Argonauts to within a field goal, but the Argos were marching as the third came to an end.
They then completed their most impressive drive of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter when Ray finished off an 8-play, 67-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Terrell Sinkfield. Sinkfield’s first career major was a pretty one, hanging on to the back shoulder pass and keeping his left foot in bounds. It gave the Argonauts their first lead of the game, 17-13. Sinkfield had an 11-yard reception earlier in the drive and a 33-yard romp by RB Jeremiah Johnson on a dump screen pass helped set the score.
The Lions answered with a field goal at the 12-minute mark after Glenn got the ball into the hands of receiver Courtney Taylor who broke a tackle for a 39-yard gain. A 32-yard McCallum field goal put the Lions back to within one point.
Following the make, the Lions ensured that the Toronto lead was short lived and it was once again Brown doing the damage. Brown fielded a punt deep in his own territory, broke a pair of tackles and lumbered down the sidelines for a 70-yard punt return.
The Leos settled for a field goal but would make no mistake on their next series.
The team-leading fifth touchdown reception put the Lions up 26-17 with just over six minutes remaining.
Defensive back Ronnie Yell put the game away for good with 1:56 left when he stepped in front of a Ray pass and returned it for his second interception touchdown in the last three weeks. This pick-six was recorded as a 31-yard score.
For Ray, it summed up a rather up-and-down evening where he and his receivers didn’t seem to be on the same page and his offensive line had trouble giving him the time to deliver the ball. He finished 23 of 39 for 198 yards, 1 touchdown and two interceptions.
Glenn on the other hand finished with 208 yards and a touchdwon on 14 of 25 yards passing.
The Argonauts travel to Edmonton next week to face their old defensive coordinator Chris Jones and the Eskimos for the first time while the Lions return to BC Place to host the rival Saskatchewan Roughriders.