TORONTO — Sergio Castillo’s single off a missed 42-yard field-goal try on the final play earned the B.C. Lions an 18-17 decision over the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday night for their first win of the season.
Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson pulled Toronto even at 17-17 on a 23-yard TD strike to James Wilder Jr. with 40 seconds left in regulation. He then found S.J. Green on the two-point convert.
But Drew Brown’s ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving B.C. the ball at its 45 with 38 seconds remaining. Lions quarterback Mike Reilly drove the offence to the Toronto 30-yard line but an illegal procedure call forced Castillo to try the 42-yard boot.
His kick was wide. Toronto returner Chris Rainey caught the ball but stepped on the back line to give the Lions the win.
— CFL (@CFL) July 7, 2019
B.C. (1-3) earned DeVone Claybrooks his first CFL head-coaching win. Claybrooks spent three seasons as the Calgary Stampeders defensive co-ordinator before joining the Lions this off-season.
Reilly finished 23-of-34 passing for 272 yards with a TD and interception while John White ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries while adding four receptions for 28 yards. Lemar Durant had nine receptions for 125 yards and a score.
Reilly became the 26th player since 1950 to start 100 career regular-season games at quarterback. He improved to 55-45 overall and 4-6 versus Toronto.
Toronto (0-3) fell short in securing head coach Corey Chamblin the first win of his Argos tenure. But after being outscored 96-21 in the first two losses, the Double Blue was at least in this contest.
But it was hardly a football masterpiece, not a surprise given both teams came in winless. However, it was Toronto that made more mistakes — and mustered just 12 third-quarter offensive yards — often with dire consequences.
Durant put B.C. ahead 10-3 at 4:46 of the third by hauling in Reilly’s 29-yard TD strike. It was set up by T.J. Lee’s recovery of Wilder Jr.’s fumble that gave B.C. possession at the Toronto 45.
White’s three-yard run just 1:03 into the fourth boosted B.C.’s lead to 17-9. It capped a nine-play, 75-yard scoring march.
Following Durant’s TD came a bizarre play as Rainey was returning the kickoff when he was belted by B.C.’s Jordan Herdman-Reed. The hit sent the ball flying backwards where it was picked up by Toronto’s Kevin Fogg.
But Rainey, facing his former team for the first time, recorded a 79-yard punt return TD at 10:14 of the third that pulled Toronto to within 10-9. However, the Argos botched the snap on the convert, forcing Brown to thrown an incomplete pass on the run.
Field judge Bryan Taylor collided with a Lions player on Rainey’s return and laid on the field motionless during the play. After receiving medical attention, Taylor walked off the field on his own.
Toronto’s Bethel-Thompson was 25-of-33 passing for 303 yards with a TD and interception in his first start of the season. But he’s dropped his last seven straight contests dating back to last year.
Castillo kicked another field goal and two converts for B.C.
Brown added a field goal for Toronto.
Brown had a glorious chance to put Toronto ahead 6-3 in a generally uninspiring first half but missed from 33 yards out with under a minute remaining in the second. Castillo’s 14-yard field goal at 8:22 tied the score 3-3, capping a 68-yard, eight-play drive that was set up by Anthony Thompson’s end-zone interception.
Brown opened the scoring with a 31-yard field goal at 12:47 of the first.
Reilly started slowly (2-of-5 passing for minus-1 yards in the first) but finished the half completing 11-of-18 passes for 121 yards with an interception. It was White who anchored B.C.’s offence with 81 of its 105 rushing yards while adding three catches for 23 yards.
Toronto got to Reilly twice for its first two sacks of the season. The Lions came in having allowed a league-high 10 sacks.
Bethel-Thompson was 14-of-18 passing for 102 yards and an interception while Armanti Edwards recorded four catches for 90 yards. But Toronto’s ground game mustered just eight yards on six carries.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press