TORONTO – McLeod Bethel-Thompson sees many similarities between this Toronto Argonauts team and the one that won the 2017 Gray Cup.
Bethel-Thompson found Dion Pellerin for a two-point conversion to earn Toronto a dizzying 31-29 overtime victory over BC Lions on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Argos (7-4) got a place in the East Division playoffs, their first since 2017.
The ’17 campaign was Bethel-Thompson’s first in the CFL. He finished it as a backup to starter Ricky Ray, who guided Toronto to a 27-24 upset Gray Cup victory over the heavily favored Calgary Stampeders.
But the next two years were clear battles for Toronto, who recorded consecutive 4-14 records.
“I feel like 2017 was a magical journey and I was still learning about CFL,” Bethel-Thompson said. “And then you have those two years of struggle, and it’s sour, you can not say it any other way.
“We’ve suffered the same mood this year. In ’17 the defense carried the team all year and then the attack kicked it in when it should. We need the same push this year, we need the attack to come in. late and start building an identity. “
Pellerin’s two-point conversion followed Antonio Pipkin’s 1-yard TD run. The score came after BC’s Marcus Sayles was marked for pass interference in the end zone.
BC equalized with Michael Reilly’s 32-yard TD attack to Jacob Scarfone. But Reilly’s two-point conversion attempt for Shaq Johnson fell incompletely as the Lions (4-7) suffered a fifth loss in a row after kicker Jimmy Camacho missed three field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter.
BC went to overtime after Camacho’s 37-yard winning try went to the single in the final adjustment game. His 49-yard attempt with 53 seconds left was tipped by Toronto’s Dexter McCoil Sr. and Camacho also missed from 37 yards out at 9:51, and the single reduced Argos’ lead to 23-22.
“We had a chance to win the game and we didn’t get it done,” said Lions head coach / co-GM Rick Campbell. “These games come down to literally one or two games.
“So we had to make a few more, including him (Camacho) and other people, and I called. It’s all of us finding ways to make a few more.”
Despite his dubious streak, BC remains in the playoffs. But Campbell admits time is running out for the Lions.
“Incredibly, we’re controlling our own destiny … but we’re reaching our last chance at it,” he said. “I want these guys to maintain their spirit and their competitiveness.
“It was more like the team I’ve known most of this season. The name of the game is to win, but if we play that style of play, we’re able to win our fair share of matches.”
Reilly completed 20-of-38 passes in 290 yards with three TD passes – his first in four games – and an interception.
It was the first of two straight road games in Ontario for the Lions. They visit Hamilton next Friday before ending their regular season with Calgary and Edmonton.
Toronto improved to 5-0 at BMO Field and delighted the announced collection of 9,011 on a cloudy, cool afternoon. Argos improved to 5-2 under starter Bethel-Thompson, who was 23-of-37 for just 155 yards with a TD and interception.
“He missed a few throws and I know he was a little upset,” Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said of his starter. “But he showed his mental toughness, he fought back and made the games we needed in the end.
“Without him doing it, we will not win the football match, so praise him for staying mentally tough. But we are not satisfied … we have three more matches to try to get a home playoff match, And we “have a chance to possibly win the East.”
DaVaris Daniels scored Toronto’s touchdown. Boris Bede scored five field goals, one converted and single.
Obum Gwacham, Bryan Burnham and Dominique Rhymes scored BC’s touchdowns. Camacho added the converts.
Please fifth field goal in the game, this from 22 yards out at 3:12 of the fourth, gave Toronto a 23-21 lead. Gwacham bet BC to a 21-20 advantage at 12:56 of the third with a 33-yard interception return TD.
Bedes 50-yard field goal at 9:33 put Toronto ahead 20-14. It happened after his 52-yard point single at 3:47.
Two late Bede field goals put Toronto to a 16-14 lead at the break. Bede joined from 52 yards out at. 14:52 in the second to give Argos their two-point advantage after hitting a 15-yard boot at. 13:39.
Toronto settled for Bede’s chip shot after a strong defensive stance from BC as Argos had the ball first and the goal from the Lions’ four-yard line.
Reilly put BC ahead 14-10 with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Rhymes at 8:33 in the second. The Lions were assisted by three Toronto penalties in 35 yards on their possession.
Reilly pulled BC to within 10-7 p.m. 13:55 after the first with a 32-yard TD pass to Burnham, culminating in a four-play, 90-yard scoring.
Bethel-Thompson found Daniels on a 14-yard TD attack at. 11:40 to put Toronto ahead 10-0 to end a nine-play, 83-yard march. Please 29-yard field goal at 5:09 opened the scoring, set up by Jeff Richards’ 38-yard interception return to the BC 21-yard line.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 30, 2021.