TORONTO -- Henry Burris was solid, completing 19 of his 30 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns, as the Tiger-Cats ended the Argonauts' 4-game winning streak with a 33-19 win at Rogers Centre on Friday night.
Burris and the Ticats staved off a furious comeback attempt by the Argos, one that saw them score 10 unanswered points in the third quarter.
However, some hard running by tailback CJ Gable - who finished the night with 108 total yards and a touchdown - combined with some solid game management by Burris allowed the Ticats to maintain their lead when it mattered most.
Much like the last time these two teams met, it didn't take long for the offence to start rolling through.
On the game’s opening possession, Burris orchestrated an impressive nine-play, 81-yard drive that concluded with a 24-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Luke Tasker.
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Burris, who entered tonight’s outing following a rough performance one week ago at home, was a perfect 4/4 through the air on the drive.
The major was Hamilton’s league-leading 47th opening possession point of the season, but was also just the second time the Argos allowed a touchdown on the game’s first drive.
A punt single by punter Josh Bartel increased Hamilton’s lead to eight heading into the second quarter.
But it was then that the Argos offence started to find its footing.
On 1st and 10 from their own 34-yard line, Collaros connected with Canadian slotback Andre Durie for what appeared to be a short medium-sized gain up the middle.
However, Durie managed to power through a few tackles and turned the gain into a 40-yarder.
The drive would eventually stall, forcing the Argos to settle for a 34-yard field goal by kicker Swayze Waters.
On Hamilton’s ensuing possession, Burris ran into some trouble, as his pass intended for Tasker sailed into the hands of Ricardo Colclough, who returned it 28 yards to Hamilton’s 42.
But the Argos weren’t able to capitalize off the turnover, and ran into some back luck on their punt attempt when a high snap forced Waters to elude some pressure, resulting in a short 22-yard punt.
Toronto’s inability to take advantage of the turnover ultimately came back to haunt them once the Ticats took over on their next possession.
Seemingly unfazed by the interception, Burris – along with Gable – engineered an eight-play, 55-yard drive that was capped off by a 25-yard major by the rookie tailback.
Hamilton’s first-half onslaught didn’t stop there, as the defence came up big with just over two minutes remaining.
Thanks to a solid punt by Bartel, Toronto was forced to take over possession from inside their own 20 yard line.
After Chad Kackert rushed ahead for a five-yard gain on first down, Argos pivot Zach Collaros saw his ball tipped and intercepted by Simoni Lawrence on second down, giving the Ticats offence excellent field position to increase their lead.
And they would do just that two plays later, as backup QB Dan LeFevour waltzed in untouched for a one-yard touchdown, extending Hamilton’s lead to 19.
Before the half could expire, however, Waters would tack on another field goal, this time splitting the uprights from 39 yards out to bring the Argos within 16.
The halftime deficit wasn’t an uncommon situation for the Argos. In each of their last four outings – all victories – they trailed heading into the break.
Once the second-half got underway, a more relaxed and seemingly at-ease Collaros emerged and carried the Argos on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in Waters’ third field goal of the game.
Collaros factored into all but one play on the drive, completing five passes for 46 yards while rushing for 24 yards on two carries.
Hamilton’s first possession of the second half didn’t go as well as Toronto’s.
Starting from inside their own 20 yard line, Burris was unable to generate any traction, forcing head coach Kent Austin to send out the punt team.
But it was then that momentum shifted sides, as Curtis Steele broke through the line and blocked Bartel’s punt attempt. Linebacker Marcus Ball recovered at the one-yard line, which set up a one-yard touchdown by Collaros on the very next play.
The score would remain 22-16 in favour of Hamilton heading into the fourth quarter.
Less than a minute into the final frame, the Ticats had an opportunity to turn their lead into a two-possession game, but Brett Lauther's field goal attempt sailed wide-right and stayed in the endzone for a single point.
The Argos, meanwhile, would continue to chip away at Hamilton's lead, as Waters connected on his fourth field goal of the night to bring the Boatmen within four with 10:05 left in the game.
But with under seven minutes to go in the fourth, Burris and Hamilton's offence would wake up from their temporary slumber, and increase their lead thanks to a 15-yard touchdown grab by Bakari Grant.
Burris was a perfect 4-4 on this touchdown drive as well, connecting with Andy Fantuz, Jones and Grant twice for a total gain of 67 yards.
With 1:16 left in the game, Lauther would put the game on ice with a 29-yard field goal to make the score 33-19.
The win by Hamilton sets up a huge rematch between the two teams next week on Thanksgiving Monday in Guelph, where the Ticats will have an opportunity to pull within two points with the Argos for first place in the East Division.