Javon Leake had a 91-yard punt-return touchdown while Toronto’s defence registered six interceptions as the Argonauts defeated the visiting B.C. Lions 45-24 on Monday night to remain the CFL’s lone unbeaten team.
Toronto (3-0) opened a season with three straight wins for the first time since 1991. Robertson Daniel anchored that accomplishment with three interceptions, including a 62-yard pick-six with 52 seconds remaining.
B.C. (3-1) was looking to go to 4-0 for the first time since 2007. Vernon Adams Jr. finished 24-of-39 passing for 388 yards and three touchdowns, but also had the six picks.
Toronto’s defence outshone a B.C. unit that came in leading the CFL in fewest points allowed (seven per game), net offensive yards (211.7) and average yards per play (4.4). The Lions also registered seven sacks — boosting their CFL-best total to 11 — in last week’s 30-6 road win over Winnipeg.
And while Adams had his third 300-yard passing performance of the season, he had few answers for Toronto’s defence. And that delighted the BMO Field gathering of 12,473 that included Jim Kelly, the former Buffalo Bills star and Toronto starter Chad Kelly’s uncle.
Kelly was 23-of-29 passing for 249 yards with a TD. He also had an 18-yard run.
Good game. Bring on Montreal. 👊🏾
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) July 4, 2023
Adams pulled B.C. to within 35-24 at 4:37 of the fourth with a nine-yard TD pass to Keon Hatcher, who was appearing in his first game of the season. But he also threw his fifth pick of the game, this one to Qwan’tez Stiggers with 6:21 remaining to play.
Kelly then engineered a 10-play, 47-yard drive that resulted in Boris Bede’s 45-yard field goal at 13:37. Toronto actually drove to the B.C. 16-yard line before an altercation resulted in six fouls (two Lions, four Argos) and put the ball at the Lions’ 46-yard line.
B.C. got the ball back at its 29 with 1:17 remaining but Daniel responded with his third interception.
Cameron Dukes, DaVaris Daniels and A.J. Ouellette scored Toronto’s other touchdowns. Bede kicked the converts, three field goals and a single.
Dominique Rhymes had B.C.’s other two touchdowns. Sean Whyte booted the converts and a field goal.
Bede put Toronto ahead 28-17 with a 37-yard field goal at 7:37 of the third. Then Ouellette scored on a four-yard run at 13:39 following Daniel’s 78-yard interception return to the B.C. 22-yard line.
Whyte’s 46-yard field goal at 4:41 cut B.C.’s deficit to 25-17. The Lions’ defence stopped Toronto on third-and-one at the Argos’ 30-yard line.
Bede’s 47-yard field goal at 14:08 of the second staked Toronto to its 25-14 halftime lead. The Argos took advantage of B.C. errors, including three Adams interceptions, for the 11-point advantage.
Kelly’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Daniels put Toronto back into the lead, 21-14 at 12:27. It came two play after Jonathan Jones corralled Robertson Daniel’s deflection and returned it to the B.C. 21-yard line.
Bede then followed with an 80-yard kickoff single at 12:30 to put Toronto up 22-14.
Adams hit Rhymes on a 21-yard TD pass at 8:55 to make it 14-14. It came after Adams opened the march with a 61-yard completion to Justin McInnis.
Dukes’ one-yard run at 2:08 put Toronto ahead 14-7. It followed Daniel’s 29-yard interception return to the B.C. 22-yard line, with the Argos’ six-play scoring drive being aided by two B.C. penalties.
Leake pulled Toronto even with his electrifying punt return TD at 13:53 of the first. B.C. was forced to punt after taking a costly time-count violation on second-and-two that was followed by an incompletion.
Rhymes opened the scoring with an 18-yard TD strike from Adams at 5:36, capping a four-play, 72-yard march.
The Lions host the Montreal Alouettes (2-1) on July 9, while the Argonauts have their second bye week.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press