It seems that the Toronto Argonauts have perfected the art of the comeback.
Wide receiver John Chiles’ huge fourth quarter led the Argos back from a 23-15 deficit en route to a wild 31-29 win at Mosaic Stadium. The Roughriders lost their first game at home of the season in a potential Grey Cup preview.
Chiles finished the game with eight receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Zach Collaros started in place for the injured Ricky Ray for the third straight game, and completed 18 of 29 passes for 225 yards for a touchdown, and an interception.
Toronto (7-4) quickly went up 11-0 in the first quarter, taking advantage of sloppy play from the Roughriders.
Saskatchewan (8-3) lost the Canadian Football League (CFL)’s leading rusher in Kory Sheets to a knee injury early in the first. Sheets ran up the middle and immediately held his knee after getting tackled. The running back managed to walk off the field on his own power, but did not return to the game.
The injury to Sheets forced quarter back Darian Durant to open up the passing game more than expected. However, Durant threw two touchdowns, including a 31-yard pass to Chris Getzlaf put the Roughriders up 20-12 at halftime.
Saskatchewan led by as much as 12 in the third quarter, but similar to a week earlier where the Argos trailed in Montreal 23-8, Toronto came back.
Toronto outscored the Roughriders 19-6 in the fourth quarter, starting with a 33-yard field goal from kicker Swayze Waters, who had not played since opening week.
After only passing for 56 yards and an in the first half, Collaros found Chiles often, including a 15-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game at 23.
Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant, who only had thrown two interceptions before this game, then threw a pick to defensive back Alonzo Lawrence. Durant finished the game with three interceptions.
The Argos then drove down the field again. Collaros and Chiles connected again with a 28-yard reception, and Jerious Norwood ran in a touchdown for a 30-23 lead
After a Swayze missed field goal gave the Roughriders back the ball down eight with 53 seconds remaining, Durant found Chris Getzlaf for a 45-yard reception, and then a 17-yard touchdown.
However, Durant could not find a receiver for the game-tying two-point conversion, as he was hounded at the line by the Argos defence.
The Argos now lead the East by four points, while the Roughriders surrendered their lead in the West to the Calgary Stampeders. Calgary held off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 26-22 earlier in the day.
Toronto continues their four game road trip next week with another game in Montreal. The Argos are now 4-1 on the road.
Saskatchewan stays at home to play against the B.C. Lions. The Roughriders will play the Lions three times in their next five games.
Roughriders DB Dwight Anderson and WR Taj Smith were in the line-up, after being charged for aggravated assault after a bar fight in a Regina nightclub three weeks ago … QB Darian Durant also injured his throwing hand in the second half, but returned to play … Chris Milo’s 22 yard field goal hit the upright and out for his first missed field goal of the season, Milo was previously 28-28 this year … Saskatchewan beat Toronto at the Rogers Centre in their previous matchup, 39-28 on July 11.