Redblacks learn the hard way that No Lead is Safe in loss to Argos

By Dan Ralph

McLeod Bethel-Thompson delivered a stunning conclusion to his first CFL start.

Bethel-Thompson’s 23-yard TD strike to Armanti Edwards with one second remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a stunning 42-41 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night. Edwards’ catch capped an 11-play, 86-yard march engineered by Bethel-Thompson, who was 25-of-37 passing for 302 yards with four TDs and an interception in his first game as a CFL starter.

He was especially sharp in the second half, completing 18-of-25 passes for 233 yards and the four TDs.

“My teammates held me up the whole game, they carried me the way,” a modest Bethel-Thompson said afterwards. “All I did was my 1/12th and sometimes I did half of my 1/12th.

“We didn’t play our best game, I know I didn’t play my best game in the first half. But there was no give up, there wasn’t a single blink. We definitely needed this.”

Diontae Spencer’s 88-yard punt return TD at 10:25 of the third gave Ottawa (4-3) a seemingly insurmountable 38-14 advantage. Spencer’s electrifying run came after Toronto opened the second half impressively as Bethel-Thompson hit S.J. Green on a five-yard TD pass at 3:19 to cap a 60-yard, eight-play march.

Ottawa countered with a 64-yard, 10-play drive that resulted in Lewis Ward’s 17-yard field goal at 9:01 before Spencer made it a 24-point contest.

Toronto (2-5) snapped a three-game losing streak in its first contest against an East Division opponent before a BMO Field gathering of 11,857.

Bethel-Thompson, after throwing for 122 yards in the third, found Green on an 11-yard TD pass at 1:12 of the fourth to cut Ottawa’s lead to 38-26.

Ward’s 14-yard field goal at 4:18 put Ottawa ahead 41-26. But after Zack Medeiros’s 32-yard field goal at 8:57, Bethel-Thompson hit James Wilder Jr. on a 20-yard TD pass at 11:34 to pull Toronto to within 41-36.

The scoring play was set up by Martese Jackson’s 70-yard punt return.

Toronto began its final drive at its 24-yard line with 1:45 remaining. Wilder Jr. said in the huddle there was no doubt in his mind Bethel-Thompson was behind the wheel.

“He took the offence by charge and made it happen and got a team win,” said Wilder Jr., who ran for a game-high 73 yards on 17 carries. “He just picked it up, he just led us down the field.

“He’s a general, that’s what the quarterback is. He showed a lot today. I always knew it but I guess he showed you all.”

Toronto played a terrible first half, committing four turnovers in falling behind 28-7. The Redblacks were able to convert fumbles by Wilder Jr. and Jackson in touchdowns in storming out to the 21-point advantage.

Redblacks’ starter Trevor Harris was 18-of-21 passing for 245 yards in the half while Bethel-Thompson completed 7-of-12 passes for just 69 yards.

But thanks to an error-free second half, the Argos head into their bye week riding a huge momentum swing.

“We’re not going to anoint ourselves with one win but I think we gave ourselves an opportunity to find out a little bit more about ourselves,” Trestman said. “We just know we have something inside of us we can start with next week that we weren’t able to see in the earlier games.

“We did not play a clean first half with turnovers and mistakes that were really costly. For 30 minutes we probably played our best football in some regards.”

The 33-year-old Green led the Argos receivers with nine catches for 134 yards and two TDs.

“We put drives together when we had to,” Green said. “We had competitive greatness and we developed some backbone along the way.

“He (Bethel-Thompson) was prepared tonight and it showed. You expect things like this when a guy of his calibre comes in.”

Harris was 27-of-35 passing for a season-high 381 yards and two TDs for Ottawa. Spencer finished with eight catches for 145 yards and a touchdown while returning three punts for 104 yards and a score.

Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell said his club was unable to put Toronto away in the second half. The Argos outscored the Redblacks 35-13 in the final two quarters and by a 22-3 margin in the fourth quarter alone.

“We didn’t make enough plays to win it,” he said. “We had opportunities all the way down literally to the last second of the game to come up with enough plays to win it and we didn’t.

“I’ll give them credit. They made more plays than we did at the end and won the game.”

Campbell also praised Bethel-Thompson’s play in the second half.

“He made some good throws and their receivers made some good catches,” he said. “That’s why you’ve got to play the game for 60 minutes, literally.

“That’s proof of that tonight.”

Anthony Cioffi, Dominique Davis and Brad Sinopoli had the other Ottawa TDs. Ward had three converts and two field goals while Brendan Gillanders added a two-point conversion.

James Franklin ran for two touchdowns for Toronto. Medeiros booted three converts and a field goal.

– CP


48 Comments on Redblacks learn the hard way that No Lead is Safe in loss to Argos

  1. Shawn Goldwater // August 2, 2018 at 10:47 pm //

    Great game. I thought Bethel-Thompson was the better backup in pre-season and couldn’t be happier for the guy. Loved how he seemed relaxed and unflappable even when things were bad.

  2. well this should shut up 3 down nations biased love of the redblacks/stamps blew a 21 point lead to the argos as i called it, argos win, overrated Redblacks lose, love it when arrogance takes a back seat to a superior team in the argos, Redblacks learned that they are not at the championship level just yet, if they ever will get there at all. all 7 so called experts picked the overrated red blacks to win on the road, lol, when will they realize that ottawa is just not a great road football team? no wonder these clowns barely get a 500 record by the end of the year!

  3. RicoBeBlue&Gold // August 2, 2018 at 10:50 pm //

    Nice to see the Argos make a team effort to stop the bleeding. MBT looked good in the second half. Good on them.

  4. Shawn Goldwater // August 2, 2018 at 10:54 pm //

    BTW I see from his Wikipedia article that he had competed with Trevor Harris to be the starter with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL and it sort of sounds like he beat him out for top spot?

  5. 3Down Staff // August 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm //

    RedBlacks throw up all over themselves in the 4th quarter.

    • Tiger man // August 3, 2018 at 7:50 am //

      Was it that the argos took the game or the two tones defense figured with a 24 point lead they no longer needed to play…

      Thorpe and his crew should be made to watch the game film endlessly for the ENTIRE following week.

      Harris and his boys should be suing the Ottawa defense for non support….

  6. Pennyrocker // August 2, 2018 at 11:14 pm //

    Letting a team score 22 points in the last quarter seems the Redblacks choked or bleed like a stuck pig.

  7. Most impressed with Bethel-Thompson’s performance. After a rough start, he gained confidence, stood in the pocket and found his receivers. He also ran with authority. His O-Line gave him good protection and opened some holes
    for James Wilder. Defence came on in the second half just enough to help get the win. If B-T can perform like that in every game he is going to be the Argos starter for some time to come. The coaches must do something about the woeful special teams. But what a comeback!

  8. Paul Bomber // August 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm //

    Congrats T.O. and I’d just like to extend a “(bad word) you!” to TSN for cutting off the last bit of the game winning drive of the game. More and more, it’s becoming apparent those bozos at tsn are showing they just don’t give a crap now that the league has sold their sole to them. This garbage, coming back to plays late…. Gahhhh!

    • RicoBeBlue&Gold // August 2, 2018 at 11:27 pm //

      Sorry you missed the end, even had me on the end of my seat. TSN1 had it to the very end. Sucks dude.

      • Paul Bomber // August 2, 2018 at 11:39 pm //

        Thanks Dude. I’ve got 2 or 3 tsn channels but not the right one apparently.
        Anyway, the East just got a lot more interesting. Hamilton might just find themselves golfing with Montréal and BC!

        • Hamilton? dont you mean ottawa lol

          • Paul Bomber // August 3, 2018 at 8:43 am //

            not a typo/brain fart – Hamilton is cold as ice. They’re not a bad team… pretty good in fact, but they’ve forgotten how to win. If they win by anything less than a TD tonight, it’s panic time.

    • that doesnt surprise me the game should be shown on tsn 2 until they are ready to resume the 2nd game, and keep current game on tsn 1 its stupid. but the classier team won lol

  9. Dundas dude // August 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm //

    Where were the fans? Good game, but I don’t understand why Toronto doesn’t support their team. What a city of losers.

    • Change the name to the Toronto Americans and sign a couple of washed up NFL players and they would sell out the place. Toronto needs American attention. Sad, very sad.

  10. Looked like this one was over at half time but in the CFL never say never! Boatmen totally shocked the OTTRBs with that comeback. Leaves them a bit closer for the Ticats to catch up! 🙂

  11. “Harris was 27-of-35 passing for a season-high 3781 yards and two TDs for Ottawa.” WOW!!! Too bad too few people were there to witness this amazing feat. All the more amazing that all that yardage didn’t prevent a defeat. 😉

    In all seriousness — and forgiving story typos — the CFL East is an odd duck. So much for the RedBlacks stepping ahead of the flock. Is it parity or parody?

    • RicoBeBlue&Gold // August 2, 2018 at 11:57 pm //

      Funny stuff, mad! 😉

      • Great character win for the Argos. Long way to go but considering it was a third string qb it was a great come back. I thought the crowd looked good didnt hear the numbers but looked busy. Good atmosphere.

    • Paul Bomber // August 3, 2018 at 11:52 am //

      “parity or parody”? The committee has met and it wasn’t even close: You win the Internet for August! (it’s never been won this early in the month before)

  12. RicoBeBlue&Gold // August 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm //

    Spell check sucks

  13. Love it. I took MBT in fantasy and he got me 31 points tonight

  14. Argos totally out played in all areas of game…BUT this the CFL and anything can happen….stunner….Go Argos Go

  15. What a miracle win for the Argos.

    Defence and the incompetent Mike Archer/Greg Quivk duo still can’t stop a nosebleed, but a win is a win.

    This really shows how useless the RedBags are. It’s laughable to consider them as even the slightest threat for a championship this year.

  16. THE ARGO’S TEAM climbed up the taught, unfixed rope like the magician does the great Indian rope trick.Ask the gurus did that really happen and they reply,” you saw it didn’t you.”

    This game decidedly informs all CFL fans that this season shows the potential to be one of the greatest in history.The CFL has the players and the coaching to be one heck of a thrill ride and that’s being conservative.Thanks to the players and coaches.

    • Paul Bomber // August 3, 2018 at 8:56 am //

      To be the greatest season, the 287 year GC drought in Wpg has to be snapped… get that storybook ending just right.
      BUT… the comeback was a stunner no doubt, but I’m not surprised the good ship Argo piled up some points. Toronto’s O actually looked really good at times against Wpg here at IGF – they moved the ball at will at times, then would (courteously) shoot themselves in the foot.
      Just need to see MBT do it again and make sure he’s for real.

  17. TC fan here and obviously an Argo detester…but tip my hat to Bethel-Thompson…pretty damn impressive. If only we had a QB that didn’t choke in the clutch…right there, Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Tillman?

  18. RB Nation // August 3, 2018 at 5:39 am //

    For some reason Ottawa teams have trouble with Toronto teams… Little brother syndrome?

  19. Gawd! I just got back from Vegas and put $200 on Ottawa. What a mistake! I should have known that Harris would have sht the bed! Again. When a 9-9 crapola team like this can win a championship, we need to look at revising the playoff format. You suck Ottawa!

    • Paul Bomber // August 3, 2018 at 9:01 am //

      Thick or thin, for better or for worse!
      I thought Harris had a decent game – I don’t put this on him. If you want to blame Ottawa (vs credit to T.O.), I’d put this on your D.
      Oh… and travel Canada, Bro! Need your dollars in our economy!

  20. The Stills // August 3, 2018 at 7:03 am //

    Mcloud is another example of an NFL-NCAA guy having quick success like Steveler. In fact his path is similar to Manziel’s. From Wikipedia.. Ucla red shirt. Appeared in 5 games for Bruins. Transfer Sacramento State (Ricky Ray Alma). Kicked around NFL. Like John played in Spring league but 2017. Signed with Argos may 2017. Two pre-seasOn games 2017. he has sat for a year and a half but still in initial contract. Lets see if Manziel can follow him from Spring league, two pre-season and watching a veteran on the bench to success. I hear John cherry picked through Als playbook to find stuff he ran at [email protected] and Browns.

    • Tiger man // August 3, 2018 at 7:57 am //

      Like Streveler, McLoud has won only one game…let’s give it a few before we anoint him.

      There was little game film on either of these quarterbacks before they played…now that there is at least one…we’ll see if this success carries on…

      • This may be Bethel-Thompson’s first CFL game, but he has been around for more than a year working with Trestman and the rest of the team. Am not sure this qualifies as “quick Success,” but am happy for him and the Argos. They have a heck of a lot of work to do. Could not do anything right in the first half (again). Turned it around in the second, and maybe their season.
        By the way, in their first eight games, they will have played the West 7 times.

  21. Great game Argos. Congrats to MBT on your first start and win, the team never gave up. A sign of a champion.

  22. Double blue through and through // August 3, 2018 at 9:27 am //

    As an Argos seasons ticket holder, I was so fed up with the team that I walked out at the half… was looking to be yet another blow out at home… poor play calling (hand off to Wilder for 4 yards, throw to the flat for 4 yards, punt.. rinse, repeat), poor possession (three TOs in the first, including a terrible kick return by Jackson), and a defense that couldn’t get to the QB or tackle. For those who wonder why the Argos don’t draw better crowds, just look at the product they’re putting on the field… I almost don’t care that they won the game – the team needs to improve drastically.

    • gridiron guru // August 3, 2018 at 9:49 am //

      well maybe this guy will give you a reason to go again??!! some hope in hogtown 🙂

    • Paul Bomber // August 3, 2018 at 9:58 am //

      Look at BLM’s 1st half stats and compare them to the second half – the guy just needed to get his sea legs. If you have a QB struggle like that (for 2 quarters), obviously your D is going to be in tough.
      Hell… you own the GC right now! Do you have any idea what us fools in Wpg would do for that? (a lot of things I wouldn’t be proud of, fyi)
      While I’ve never walked out on a game at 1/2 time, I’ve been there anger/frustration wise, you need to take some joy from the biggest (2nd biggest?) comeback in team history!

  23. Arrrrrgoooos // August 3, 2018 at 10:18 am //

    Double blue through and through…

    I am a season ticket holder as well and stayed till the end. Humurous to me you trying to justify yourself leaving. Best Argos game live I have seen in my 25+ years of going. Next time stay until the end 😉

    • TheLastArgoFan // August 3, 2018 at 10:35 am //

      Yah, I saw people leaving after the last ORBs field goal midway through the fourth quarter and thought “there’s too much time on the clock for me to leave at this point”.
      I was right.
      My buddy and I were laughing at those who left early.
      They missed an incredible and bizarre finish!

  24. OMG…when did the Argos get Will Ferrell as QB?

  25. What an awesome game on all accounts! Harris is a great QB and watching the Argos slowly climb back into it was riveting! The Argos fans that were there enjoyed a fantastic game and can look forward with some hope now. This Bethel guy is the real deal!

  26. Evil Empire // August 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm //

    Campbell is just a little TOO passive at times.

    2015 GC. Kicks the ball away to Edm somewhere near the 2 min mark. Granted they were sitting 3rd, and 17, or something.

    But, they punted, and Reilly just chose not to give the ball back. That’s a brutal way to lose. And, I’d rather go down from a turnover on downs than being an offensive player standing on the sideline. And, not getting one more chance to go for it.

    Campbell makes passive calls all the time. He got away with it last week vs the Tabbies.
    Tonight I had the game on, but honestly was not paying attention. Unless I’m mistaken. Did Ott kick a 16 yard FG, or some crap, late in the game ?

    Sorry, I’m not intending to mislead. But, is that actually what happened ?

    He got away with it last week, as the Tabbies came very close at the end. But, last night. It cost them the game. That and the 80something yard punt return. I think it was that far. Again, I wasn’t actually paying attention.

    Trestman opted for a FG with 6 mins left in a 15 point ball game. I didn’t understand the logic. As it was still a two possession game. And, wasn’t Ott up by 24, or some such crap ? If you give up that lead. You DESERVE to lose.

    Some coaches are either way too passive. Or, negligently agressive.

    Crazy game, and that is why I love it.

    Congrats Toronto.

  27. Paul Smith // August 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm //

    The Argos still suck

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