Quarterback Chad Kelly was inconsistent with his rhythm out the gate, but after tossing two interceptions he threw three touchdowns to lead the Toronto Argonauts past the Calgary Stampeders, 39-31, Friday night in the CFL.
The victory kept the Boatmen undefeated at home this year, improved the Grey Cup champions’ record to 8-1, and came in front of a season-hign 17,906 fans who enjoyed a free pass to the Canadian National Exhibition with their tickets.
Calgary dropped to 3-8.
“Yeah, I think it was just getting back into a rhythm, making sure everyone was on the same page,” said Kelly, in a happy locker room afterwards. “I thought everybody was a guy with high energy that brought guys back up, myself included.”
The second-year CFLer kept the vibes high throwing for 361 yards while going 20-for-31
passing and didn’t let those missed opportunities get the best of him.
In the second quarter, No.12 ran one in for his own TD — sixth of 2023 — at 10:09 bouncing back from the interception again as Argos led 14-0.
“What can you do when you make a mistake,” said head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, of his pivot’s up and down first half. “You learn from it and get better you can’t let it linger.”
Dinwiddie sees Kelly as a level headed guy when he gets in the game, and doesn’t let anything break him.
Javon Leake came up big for the Double Blue in the fourth quarter running in an 86-yard punt return down the line with 7:41 left in the game. It marks a new club-record for his fourth punt-return touchdown snapping the tie game 38-31.
“The whole team was to the field side and there was one guy who went inside on the boundary and it was wide open,” Leake said. “The punt-return team took care of the punter and the rest was good.”
Jake Maier of the Stamps threw for 387 yards and found the range with Marken Michel for the pivot’s first passing major in four games.
“Our team has a lot of fight,” said a disappointed Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson, whose club continues to finish on the wrong side of close games. “We won the turnover battle, and in order to win a game, I felt like we were going to have to do that.”
Toronto committed two interceptions and a fumble, while the Stamps did not commit and error.
Kelly threw scoring passes to Andrew Harris (nine yards), Damonte Coxie (67 yards), and DaVaris Daniels (54 yards), while Maier hit Michel (65 yards), Luther Hakunavanhu (18 yards), and Reggie Begelton (39 and 47 yards).
Neither team played well at free safety, but Toronto had a reasonable excuse as injuries forced them to use four different players at that spot on the night.
Toronto’s only loss this campaign was to Calgary, on the road, a game Kelly did not finish due to his own injury.
“I think the whole offence found ways to stay on track,” said Argos head coach. “And the defence found a way to stay on track at the end of the game and made the plays we need.
NOTES: Stampeders have a difficult upcoming schedule, over a four-game stretch Calgary is matched against teams with a combined record of 26-5 … The Argos play 10 weeks in a row after taking all three of their byes in the first half … Kelly is now 8-2 in his 10 career starts and only needs to beat the Blue Bombers to defeat all eight teams … Argos next game is in Hamilton where they take on the Tiger-Cats for the third time this season on Sept. 4 for the annual Labour Day Classic.