Toronto – The game may have taken some time to really get into rhythm, but once it did the Argos led by QB, Logan Kilgore, making his first CFL career start, were victorious thanks in large part to timely turnovers and key first downs.
Have we actually started?
Like I had mentioned above, the game didn’t necessarily provide many fireworks at the beginning of the game as both offences were failing to move the ball with any kind of success and defences were shutting down everything. The Argos did have a 1-0 lead after the first quarter as a punt by Lirim Hajrullahu went into the endzone, forcing Ottawa to give up the single. Outside of a few big hits and one interception by Argos defensive back, TJ Heath, the first quarter saw a lot of two-and-outs and strong defensive play.
Weird, weirder and unfortunate.
The second quarter saw more action and some plays that could help describe the CFL perfectly. Ottawa, despite being down 4-0, elects to fake a field goal attempt from within the 10 yard line and the pass ends up being intercepted by second year Argo, AJ Jefferson. Keep this in mind as it ends up being a crucial mistake by REDBLACKS head coach, Rick Campbell. Possibly the weirdest play of the game came midway through the second as Ottawa was set to punt the ball back to Toronto when REDBLACKS punter, Zach Medeiros, muffed the snap and ended up running for the first down after realizing no Argo defender was within sight. That would lead to a two yard touchdown run by REDBLACKS backup QB, Brock Jensen, to give Ottawa a 7-4 lead.
The Argos, again led by Kilgore, were driving the field and looking to at least tie the game up at halftime before Kilgore threw his first interception of the game with just nine seconds left.
Argos come out of half on fire.
The Toronto Argonauts defense forced a two-and-out to start out the half which then led to a great punt return by Larry Taylor, setting Toronto up in great field position. A few plays later and Argos third string QB (officially the backup for this game) Cody Fajardo, completes a short pass to Vidal Hazelton on 3rd and 1 to keep the drive alive. Logan Kilgore would then find second year wide receiver, Kenny Shaw, for his first career touchdown pass, giving the Argos an 11-7 lead.
Ottawa would respond quickly in just 6 plays going 81 yards where REDBLACKS QB, Henry Burris, found Ernest Jackson for the go ahead touchdown. A few shovel pass attempts later and the Argos connected on a 49 yard field goal as time expired in the 3rd, tying the game up at 14.
Boatmen build on momentum.
On Ottawa’s next drive, Henry Burris was strip sacked by both Ken Bishop and Ricky Foley, turning the ball over to Toronto. The Argos would be called for too many men, but still capitalized on the turnover as Hajrullahu connected from 37 yards out to regain the lead for Toronto. After a pair of challenges, one that goes against the Argos and another in their favour, Ottawa’s kicker, Chris Milo, nails a 50 yard field goal to once again tie the game up at 17. Toronto would again successfully move the ball down field, thanks in large part to Kenny Shaw who had himself quite the night.
Toronto would again fail to put the ball in the endzone and elected not to try go for it on 3rd down as they called up “Mr. Ice Cream”, Hajrullahu, to hit his 4th field goal of the night from 24 yards out. Over the next several minutes the game got quite interesting as Argos DB, Isiah Green, read a screen pass to Chris Williams perfectly and dropped him for a 3 yard loss. As soon as the Argos took over, former Argonaut, Ashton Whiteside, tipped a Kilgore pass up to LB, Damaso Munoz, getting the REDBLACKS their second pick of the night. Two plays later Ottawa attempted a shovel pass of their own which in live action looked to be a fumble recovered by Argonauts DE, Shawn Lemon, who had ran it back for a touchdown. However, after review it was clear to be an incomplete pass that could have completely altered the game.
A few plays later the REDBLACKS would tie the game up at 20 with just 2:23 remaining in the game. After a short drive by Toronto, Hajrullahu nails his 5th field goal of the night, this one tying his season long of 53 yards. Toronto then lead 23-20 with just over a minute remaining and needed a stop from their defence. An errant pass from Burris was picked off by AJ Jefferson, sealing the victory and 1st place in the East for the Argos. Kilgore took a knee as time expired.
Toronto now heads into the Bye week sitting alone in 1st place and winning 4 of their last 5 games with three of them coming on the road. The only concern moving forward for the Argos will be the health of wide receiver, Vidal Hazelton, and defensive back, Aaron Berry, who both left the game with undisclosed injuries. Toronto’s next game is Friday August 12th at home versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who are led by a familiar face in head coach, Mike O’shea. Stay locked in to the Argo Admirals both on twitter and Instagram for all the breaking news and primers leading up to the game. See you at BMO!