The Toronto Argonauts bounced back after a lack luster loss and defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34-20 in thrilling comeback fashion, at BMO Field on Saturday night.
QB McLeod-Bethel Thompson led the team all the way back with a 230-yard performance to go with a touchdown pass.
The first half was one to forget for the Argos. They opened the game with a two and out giving the ball to Hamilton right off the bat.
Cats ran with that opportunity as they scored in their first three drives to jump out to a 13-0 lead.
Argos started to come to life starting in the second quarter as they finally broke through, kicker Boris Bede converted a 43-yard field goal in Toronto’s fourth drive.
They went on to finish the half with another field-goal to make it 14-6, as the two-minute offence worked its magic as it has all year..
The second half opened in the same way as the first as Hamilton opened the scoring again with its first drive of the half, as Sam Small converted a 22-yard chip shot to push its lead to 17-6.
Hamilton would only score three more points the rest of the way.
Toronto responded in a big way — their first offensive play of the half went for 49 yards, when Bethel Thompson hit Cam Phillips for the longest play of the game. And the comeback was on.
“Even though we were losing, the first-half is the first half, as long as we control us, we’re good” said Phillips, afterwards. “Really we just come together, we start to feed off each other.”
The duo connected again just two plays later, but this time it was a touchdown which put the Argonauts three points behind the Ti-Cats after a two-point conversion.
The two teams traded punts in their next two drives, but the Argo’s punt was a turning point in the game as they pinned Hamilton at their own three-yard line.
Tiger-Cats were unable to pick up a first-down and elected to take a safety, trying to play the field position game. But this decision made the score 17-16 with the ball back in Toronto’s hands.
The Argos were able to drive into field goal range, but Bede’s clutch time struggles continued as the field goal sailed wide, which meant a tie-game heading into the fourth quarter.
The following possession, the Tabies were held again.
On third down, Toronto’s Trevor Hoyte broke through the line and got his hand on the punt. Teammate Benoit Marion was the beneficiary of a scoop and score putting the Argos up 24-17.
“I think there were a lot of turning points. I can’t emphasize how good our defense and special teams were tonight” said QB McLeod Bethel Thompson. “We’re still riding the wave on offence but when we’re good, we’re good.”
After a scoreless drive from both teams, they went on to add field goals in their ensuing drives to make it a 27-20 game.
With time dwindling and a do or die third down, Hamilton QB Jake Evans was picked off by LB Chris Edwards who took the ball all the way to the house, sealing the deal for Toronto at 34-20.
This was just the first of five meetings over the next six weeks for the Tabis and Argos. The two teams are back in action at Tim Hortons field for a rematch on August 12.
With that win the Argos now sitting at a 4-3 record leading the Eastern Division.
Meanwhile the Tiger-Cats fall to a 2-6 record and are still tied for second in the Eastern Divison with the Montreal Alouettes.