July 6, 2019

Seeing Rouge: Lions late-game single enough to top Argos

Geoff Robins/CFL.ca

TORONTO –  Lemar Durant led the way through the air and John White carried BC on the ground as the Lions outlasted the Toronto Argonauts 18-17 Saturday Night at BMO Field.

In one of the more bizarre finishes you will see, Sergio Castillo lined up for a 42-yard field goal with no time on the clock and pulled the kick wide left.  The ball went through the endzone however, and the Lions earned a rouge and the win.

In what was a slow-progressing game, John White tallied 138 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries while Durant built on his hot start to 2019 with 9 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Leos win.

Both teams entered Week 4 looking to earn their first victory of the season after dropping road games last weekend.  The Argos fell behind early to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and never recovered. They lost the game and their starting quarterback, James Franklin, to a hamstring injury.

As for the Leos, they controlled all but the final seven minutes of their contest in Calgary, allowing the defending champs to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a stunning come-from-behind win.


RELATED:
» 
Stats: Argos, Lions Box Score
» Images: BC at Toronto
» White, Durant pave the way for Lions in gritty road win
» Highlights: Reilly spots Durant behind coverage for Lions TD

 

McLeod Bethel-Thompson got the start for Toronto with Franklin parked on the six-game injured list. After stalling on his first two possessions, the third-year pivot go the Argos on the board first by setting up a 31-yard Drew Brown field goal after completing a 45-yard pass to Armanti Edwards on a go route.

The rest of the first quarter went on without incident and both offences were held in check.

The clubs traded interceptions on consecutive possessions to begin the second frame, with the Lions earning their first three points off a 14-yard field goal by Castillo to tie the game at the 8:22 mark.

The rain-soaked BMO field for the majority of the first half which forced both clubs to lean on their tailbacks.  Lions RB John White IV finished the first half with 8 carries for 81 yards.

The Lions finally posted the first major of the game with just under 10 minutes remaining when Reilly spotted SB Durant for a 29-yard touchdown.  Durant pulled away from DB Abdul Kanneh, who bit on a pump fake, and hauled in the corner-route uncontested.

Durant’s fourth touchdown of the season was aided by a James Wilder Jr. fumble which was recovered by Lions DB TJ Lee at the Argonauts’ 45-yard line.

With the Lions taking their first lead of the game and the Argos offence sputtering, Toronto took some of the momentum back with four minutes left in the third quarter thanks to their special teams.  Former Lions RB Chris Rainey fielded a punt deep in his own territory, broke a tackle and bounced outside, bursting 79-yards for an Argos touchdown.  They would miss the convert and the Lions remained up 10-9.

 

The Lions, who had trouble getting traction in the first half, marched right back to answer the Argos score with White capping off an impressive 9-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown.

Now with an eight-point lead, the Lions defence held off the ensuing push by the Argos, stopping Wilder Jr. on a third down gamble inside the BC 40-yard line.

One last effort for the Argos took place when they scrimmaged from their own 52-yard line with 1:45 on the clock.  Bethel-Thompson found Llevi Noel for a pair for a pair of first downs before spotting Wilder Jr. who powered his way into the endzone.  SJ Green hauled in a two-piint conversion with 38 seconds left to tie the ball game.

An illegal kick on the ensuing kickoff gave the Lions great field position and Reilly did the rest, completing a pair of passes to set up the winning point off the Castillo missed field goal.

The Argonauts will take to the road next week as they visit Winnipeg to face the unbeaten Blue Bombers.  The Lions, meanwhile, return home to host Reilly’s old mates from Edmonton on Thursday Night Football.