Toronto-born Jerome Messam ran in two touchdowns and the defence did the rest as the B.C. Lions won their first home game of the season, trouncing the Toronto Argonauts 37-16 on Saturday afternoon.
Casey Printers passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns for B.C. (3-7), winners of two in a row.
Geroy Simon celebrated his 35th birthday in a big way with 133 yards, good enough to move into fifth all-time in receiving yards.
Toronto (5-5) held the advantage early, but could not build off an 8-0 first quarter lead, sputtering badly in the second half where they scored just a single point. The Argos have not won a game in B.C. since 2002.
Cleo Lemon had his best 30 minutes of the season when he began the game with 215 yards, but he could get just 62 more in the second half to finish with 277.
In addition to the two touchdown passes, Lemon was picked off once, fumbled twice, and was sacked six times.
James Robinson scored both TDs for Toronto, on 41- and 39-yard catches.
Lions on a roll
While Toronto dropped its third straight, B.C.’s offence showed up for the second consecutive game after what has been a season of punchless efforts. They can thank rookies’ Messam and Yonos Davis for this week’s production
Given the task of sharing the load on the ground for injured starter and former Argonaut Jamal Robertson, the two running backs used their contrasting styles to combine for three touchdowns in the first half.
Davis, at five-foot-seven and 185 pounds, shimmied and shook his way around defenders en route to 58 combined yards, highlighted by a four-yard catch on BC’s first possession of the second quarter.
The Lions took the game over from there, picking up two more touchdowns on the strength of Messam’s legs. At six-foot-three, 245 pounds, Messam used his size to burst through the Argos defence for two different TD runs within four yards of the end zone.
Down 21-8 with less than three minutes remaining in the half, the Argos began their comeback bid when Lemon connected deep with Robinson.
The 27-year-old outraced his defender on a straight route to the end zone, making a nice over-the-shoulder catch for his second touchdown of the game.
The lead was cut to six, but the Argos could get no closer. In the opening minute of the third quarter, Printers took advantage of a 72-yard kick return by Andrew Harris with a two-yard TD pass to Steven Black.
Flemons drops the ball
Toronto’s poor finish was punctuated by one of the most bizarre plays seen all season.
Trailing 34-16 just three minutes into the fourth quarter, defensive end Ronald Flemons recovered a Printers fumble and ran towards the end zone with nary a defender near him.
But just inches away from scoring an easy six points, he seemed to relax his grip and the ball slipped out of his hands.
B.C. recovered the fumble as it bounced around in the end zone, negating the sure touchdown.
Flemons’ error may have been the misplay of the day, but it is the condition of star running back Cory Boyd that will have Toronto fans groaning the most.
The CFL rushing leader took a hard helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter, knocking him to the ground where he laid for several minutes.
He got up under his own power, but he did not play for the rest of the match, remaining on the sidelines. Boyd suffered a concussion in training camp this past spring.
With the loss Toronto remains tied for second in the East with Hamilton, losers earlier in the day to Montreal.