Timely errors and missed opportunities shone through once again as the Toronto Argonauts fell to the B.C. Lions in dramatic fashion on Saturday night at BMO Field.
Down 17-9 with only minutes remaining on the clock, McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Argonauts offence marched down field in need of a touchdown and two-point conversion.
Bethel-Thompson, starting for injured QB James Franklin, carried the Argos deep into Lions’ territory before finding running back James Wilder Jr. for a 24-yard score.
Now trailing by a pair, the Argonauts needed a two-point conversion to pull even. Bethel-Thompson dropped back and spotted a streaking S.J. Green in the middle of the field and delivered a pinpoint pass to the veteran receiver to tie the game.
The celebration, though, would be short lived as Mike Reilly and the Lions’ offence bounced back with an impressive, late game drive of their own and with only three-seconds on the clock B.C’s Sergio Castillo had the game at his feet.
Castillo, who was perfect on the night, including a 14-yard field goal and multiple extra point attempts, sailed the kick just left of the uprights and into the hands of Argos’ kick returner Chris Rainey in the back of the end zone.
Rainey, who had already scored on a 79-yard punt return earlier in the game, reached up for the ball and looked down field before unknowingly stepping out of the back of the end zone, giving B.C. the single point rouge and ultimately the game, 18-17.
Rainey put the blame directly on his shoulders.
“I feel like I lost the game for the team,” Rainey said, during a post-game scrum. “(The kick) was kind of high, I kept going back and tried not to go too far deep.
“I caught it, took a step, looked and saw the white and heard the whistle. Then that was it, worst feeling I’ve ever had.”
Rainey, the Argos primary kick returner, coughed up the ball early in the night after a heavy hit from B.C’s Jordan Herdman-Reed and, though the ball was recovered by his teammates, the 31-year-old believes his early struggles helped motivate his performance.
“Where I’m from if you fumble you have to make something happen in the game,” Rainey said post-game. “If you mess up you don’t sit back you got to go do something about it.”
It's Rainey-ing, it's pouring!
BC 10 | TOR 9 pic.twitter.com/ElcqJF0Cok
— CFL (@CFL) July 7, 2019
Bethel-Thompson, who finished his first start of the season with 303 yards on 25-33 passing, liked what he saw from his team but knows there is still plenty of work to be done to turn their season around.
“This was about shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said during a post-game scrum. “Different people at different times, it’s all the same story and we can’t have that three weeks in a row.”
With the Lions improving to 1-3 on the season, the Argonauts are now the only winless team remaining in the CFL.