The main storyline of last night’s game was all of the former Stampeders returning to McMahon Stadium wearing the double blue. There is plenty of reason for the people to think the Argos are going to be good this season, and they may have just proved all of those people right last night.
The Stampeders started the game with a quick two and out and were quickly forced to punt the ball. When the Argos sent Daniel Braverman back to return the kick, they wouldn’t have been hoping for him to muff the ball as he did. They were lucky to fall back on it and keep possession.
The Argos say that McLeod Bethel-Thompson started this game because Nick Arbuckle is working out the kinks with injuries, but others believe that Bethel-Thompson won the job regardless. In any case, he would lead the Argos down the field and score an opening-drive touchdown. It was a former Stampeder doing the damage in Juwan Brescacin, a theme that would become more prevalent as the night went on.
The Argos would be good on their two-point covert attempt to take an early 8-0 lead. There was no more scoring in the first. After the Stampeders got the ball on the ensuing kickoff, they started driving down the field, taking up the final six minutes and 41 seconds in the quarter.
Second Quarter (TOR: 8 @ CGY: 0)
That long drive continued in the second, but the Stamps would settle for only three points with a Rene Paredes field goal. In past seasons, the Stamps would find a way to push the ball into the endzone. That was something they struggled with to open the season.
On Toronto’s next drive, they tried the unthinkable after stalling out around mid-field, they brought out Boris Bede who has one of the strongest legs in football to attempt a 58-yard field goal. Had it been on target, it would have gone through from 70 yards out, but he pushed it slightly left and in turn, gave the Stampeders solid field position for their next drive.
That ensuing drive was a good one for Calgary. It included a lot of running the football with both Ante Milanovic-Litre and Ka’Deem Carey before Bo Levi Mitchell found Kamar Jorden in the back of the endzone. They would make their two-point convert and take an 11-8 lead.
Both teams would trade field goals with Bede hitting one from 54 with absolutely no problem. At the end of the half, the Argos brought Bede out for a 27-yard field goal to tie the game, but he missed wide left with one of the worst tries I’ve ever seen. It was ugly and instead of tying the game, the Argos went into the half down by two points.
Third Quarter (TOR: 12 @ CGY: 14)
The biggest play of the third quarter came just seconds into it. Ricky Collins Jr. found himself in space with a chance to score a touchdown but was hunted down by DaShaun Amos who forced a fumble. An absolutelyspectacular defensive play from Amos.
The Stampeders would have a touchdown overturned by replay and would have their six points taken off the board. They turned the ball over on down with the next play instead of taking their points. In the end, it could have been that field goal that won them the game.
There was only one more score in the third. It was Paredes hitting yet another short field goal as the Stamps offence struggled to finish off their drives. It’s clearly something they need to work on as the season goes along.
Fourth Quarter (TOR: 12 @ CGY: 17)
After Calgary hit another short field goal to extend their lead to eight, they had another chance to put some more points on the board and take control of the game. Unfortunately for them, a defensive end by the name of Charlston Hughes had other ideas. He forced a big fumble for the Argos who took over the ball inside Calgary territory.
From there, it took only two plays for Bethel-Thompson to find Kurleigh Gittens Jr. in the endzone to bring them withing a two point convert. They would again be good on that and tie the ball game with just over eight minutes left to play.
Calgary would stall out on their next drive and punt the ball back to Toronto. Bethel-Thompson continued to sling the ball around the yard and make plays. He was turning to the guys who had previously played for the Stampeders too. Into field goal range now, the Argos sent Bede out there again hoping that he could calm himself down and come up with the go-ahead field goal.
With one more chance to make something happen, the Stampeders offence took the field with about 30 seconds to go 50 yards and get into field goal range for Paredes. On the first play of the drive, Bo Levi Mitchell threw the ball away and Shaquille Richardson picked it off.
The final score: Toronto Argonauts: 23 @ Calgary Stampeders 20
Passing Yards: Trevor Harris (EDM): 333
Rushing Yards: James Wilder Jr. (EDM): 89
Receiving Yards: Derel Walker (EDM): 98
Touchdowns: Abdul Kanneh (OTT): 1
Tackles: Avery Williams (OTT): 14
Sacks: Kwaku Boateng (EDM) & Mike Moore (EDM): 2
Interceptions: Abdul Kanneh (OTT): 2
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: McLeod Bethel-Thompson
26/37 passing, 354 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions