Saskatchewan Roughriders smother Toronto Argonauts in sea of green to clinch playoff spot

TORONTO — The Saskatchewan Roughriders brought the Sea of Green with them to Toronto as they defeated the Argonauts 41-16 at BMO Field.

With the win, the Riders clinched a playoff berth.

Cody Fajardo had every piston clicking in his offence, finishing the game with 278 yards through the air and three touchdowns. And if that wasn’t enough, he’d add 80 yards on the ground and a touchdown as well.

The Roughriders opened up the scoring in Toronto. Quarterback Cody Fajardo scampered and slung his offence deep into the red zone before Argos’ Bear Woods forced a third down.

Saskatchewan went on to settle for a chip-shot field goal, putting them ahead by three momentarily. The Argos matched them on the ensuing drive after a 42-yard reception by Derel Walker put the Boatmen inside the 10-yard line.

From there, either team’s defence kept things for the remainder of the first quarter and much of the second.

That is until Fajardo got the ball rolling for the Riders’ offence.

Midway through the second quarter, the Riders started on offence from their own 36-yard line. seven plays later and the Green and White were in the end zone by way of Kyran Moore from Fajardo.

A 40-yard field goal by Brett Lauther pushed the Roughriders’ lead to double digits, going ahead of the Argos 13-3. That score would stand as time expired on the half.

The first turnover of the ball game came in the form of an interception by James Franklin on the final play of the half.

Saskatchewan snagged a first down away from the Argos early in the third quarter after Salomon Elmimian forced a fumble after Argos’ running back Chris Rainey had broken free. Nick Marshall jumped on the bouncing ball, putting his team’s offence back on the field for another scoring drive.

Starting on Toronto’s 27-yard line, the Riders just needed a few plays to progress the ball deeper into the red zone before finding Shaq Evans on an out route near the goal line, further extending their lead to 17 points.

After a quick two-and-out by Franklin and the Argos, Fajardo and the Riders kept the pedal to the metal.

Starting from their own 44-yard line, Fajardo went five for six on the drive before calling his own number. The Riders’ pivot dashed his way through an opening in the trenches for eight yards and the score. The touchdown marked his tenth rushing touchdown of the season.

In the fourth quarter, fans got a look at vintage SJ Green as the Double Blue looked to chip away at their deficit. Capping an 11 play drive, Franklin found Green posting towards to back of the end zone. Toronto’s quarterback then delivered the ball to the veteran’s outstretched hands to narrow the Saskatchewan lead to 17 with 9:40 remaining in the game.

Not to be phased, Fajardo responded by connecting with his veteran receiver in the form of Emmanuel Arceneaux for a 55-yard touchdown. The score marked Arceneaux’s first as a Roughrider.

Just about sealing the deal for the Riders, Cameron Judge picked of a floating pass from Franklin, leading to another touchdown for the Riders on the following play to go up 41-10. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett dashed 12 yards for his first touchdown of the season.

Toronto pieced together a scoring driving concluded with a 1-yard sneak by Franklin. But with two minutes remaining it was too little too late as the Roughriders went on to win their ninth game of the season.

The Argos lost their 11th tilt of the year.

Up next for the Riders will be a home date with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the Friday of Week 17. The Argonauts will follow up with a trip to the west coast where they’ll take on the BC Lions.

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