OTTAWA — The Toronto Argonauts defeated the Ottawa REDBLACKS 46-17 at TD Place on Saturday afternoon to win their second game of the 2019 season.
Wilder Jr. finished with 42 yards on the ground on eight carries to go along with 45 yards through the air on three catches. Walker hauled in five passes for 90 yards while Smith caught five for 52 yards. S.J. Green led all receivers in the contest with 130 yards and defensive back Qudarius Ford got in on the scoring for Toronto as well, take a fumble recovery to the house.
Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw for 411 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the victory.
Bethel-Thompson’s counterpart, Jonathon Jennings, completed 33 of 42 pass attempts for 327 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the loss. REDBLACKS receiver Brad Sinopoli caught the only touchdown pass for the home team while Lewis Ward went 3/4 on field goals.
The win improved Toronto to 2-9 while Ottawa dropped to 3-8.
The Ottawa REDBLACKS defence started the afternoon with a bang as defensive lineman George Uko picked off Bethel-Thompson on the Argonauts first offensive drive. The interception was the first for the Argos pivot in 179 throwing attempts. That turnover brought out Jennings and the REDBLACKS offence for the first time in the contest.
Jennings wasted no time putting points on the board, driving down the short field and finding Brad Sinopoli for a 12-yard major score. With Lewis Ward’s converted point-after, the home team took a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the first quarter.
Toronto responded to Ottawa’s touchdown with three points of their own, as Tyler Crapigna booted a 47-yard field goal. That score cut the REDBLACKS lead to 7-3.
It appeared that Ottawa had turned the ball over, with Abdul Kanneh knocking the ball out of Jerminic Smith‘s hands and Alden Darby scooping it up, but the call was overturned after review from the command centre. Instead, the REDBLACKS settled to end the drive with three points as Ward booted a 45-yard field goal to increase their lead to 10-3.
Toronto’s first major score of the afternoon was a one-yard touchdown from Derel Walker, who came around the edge to run into the end zone. Bethel-Thompson tossed to Armanti Edwards who was stuffed at the one-yard line by Anthony Cioffi to set up the touchdown. The seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, along with Crapigna’s point-after, tied things at 10 with just over two minutes left in the first frame.
Things started to get a little wild in the nation’s capital on the next drive. Argos defensive lineman, and 2019 CFL draft pick, Robbie Smith sacked Jennings and Ian Wild recovered the football, bringing the Argos offence back onto the field.
But the REDBLACKS defence responded right away, as De’Chavon Hayes picked off Bethel-Thompson on his first throw of the drive and returned it 51 yards before Edwards brought him down, and Jennings got right back into action.
To start the second quarter, there was yet another turnover in the ball game. Jennings was looking to score and Darby picked off the REDBLACKS pivot in the end zone.
Toronto took their first lead of the game with 8:52 left in the first half, as Crapigna’s 39-yard field goal attempt was wide and Stefan Logan conceded the single.
Rodney Smith scored a 24-yard major late in the second quarter, a touchdown that was set up by two big plays from Argo receivers. First was a 29-yard gain from Edwards followed by a 37-yard gain from Walker that led to Bethel-Thompson finding Smith for the score. Along with the point-after, the Argos took an 18-10 lead with under five minutes left to play in the first half.
As the minutes were ticking down in the first 30 minutes of the ball game, Ward booted a 16-yard field goal to cut the Argonauts lead to 18-13. That would be the final scoring play of the first half.
To start the second half, there was yet another turnover and this one went in the Argonauts favour. Robert Woodson knocked the ball out of Sinopoli’s hands and Qudarius Ford scooped it up and returned it 43 yards for the touchdown. With the completed point after, Toronto extended their lead to 25-13.
Ottawa’s first points of the second half was a 42-yard field goal from Ward with just over six minutes left in the third quarter to cut Toronto’s lead to 25-16.
Uko continued to make an impact on the game, recovering a fumble to go along with his interception early in the contest, as the Argonauts were knocking at Ottawa’s doorstep.
Toronto opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown as James Wilder Jr. caught a pass out of the backfield for the major score. It was an eight-play, 83-yard scoring drive, that started in the third frame to give the Argonauts a 32-16 lead.
Wilder found the end zone once again with 10 minutes left in the fourth. The Argos running back was wide open coming out of the backfield to catch a pass from his quarterback and waltz untouched to score the major. That score extended the Argos lead to 39-17.
The REDBLACKS fifth turnover of the game came with just five minutes left. Mossis Madu was stopped by the Argos defence and Kenneh forced the fumble out of the REDBLACKS running back’s hands and it was recovered by Woodson. Toronto then started a drive on the REDBLACKS 13 yard line.
That turnover led to Wilder’s third touchdown of the afternoon as he jumped through the REDBLACKS defence and into the end zone to extend the visitors lead to 46-17.
Will Arndt took over at quarterback for the REDBLACKS to finish off the contest and James Franklin did the same for Toronto as the Argonauts would leave Ottawa with a win.
Up next, the Argonauts head out on Week 14 bye while the REDBLACKS head West to take on the BC Lions.