Riders let the thunder roll on the Argos

By Grant Deme

Cody Fajardo rained down on the Argos.

Fajardo had 430 passing yards on 24-for-31 passing with two touchdowns and a third on the ground. In the first live mic game of the season, it was the Riders making the most noise with a 32-7 win at home.

Toronto needed a win. 10 days after the home opener beat down suffered against the rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Argos were in hostile territory on Canada Day taking on a hungry Saskatchewan Roughriders team, who lost 44-41 to Ottawa in Week 2, falling to 0-2.

Craig Dickenson’s squad looked dangerous right away but ultimately settled twice for six.

Christion Jones tore off a 42-yard kickoff return to start the game. Fajardo put two passes into the hands of Shaq Evans then Cory Watson for 18 and 16 yards, respectively. The next two passes fell incomplete so Brett Lauther split the uprights for the game’s first points. Their second drive ended in a 33-yard boot after 12 plays.

The Argonauts looked poised to respond flirting with the red zone before Derrick Moncrief picked off James Franklin’s pass intended for S.J. Green.

It took just one play for Fajardo to make Franklin pay for the mistake. Kyran Moore got behind the secondary and pranced his way into the end zone for a 98-yard pass and run for a 13-0 lead. It was the longest Riders completion since 2002 when Nealon Green connected with Derick Armstrong. Moore had 127 receiving yards.

The Riders defence forced a pair of punts in the second before the offence struck again. Fajardo worked his way down the field and connected with Watson at the six-yard line with the receiver crossing the goal line. Naaman Roosevelt prefaced the touchdown with a 33-yard reception. The lead stretched to 19 after a failed two point conversion attempt.

A two-and-out later and Saskatchewan had the ball again. Fajardo completed a 42-yard pass to Evans before William Powell grabbed 11 yards on the ground, and then 18 more with a catch. The quarterback took it across the one for the score and it was 25-0.

Then it took two hours and five minutes to kick the point after, as lightning in the area put a lengthy delay on the contest. In that time, some fun stuff happened.

After the action started back up again, the Argos showed a blip of offence. A six-play drive saw one sack and five throws as Franklin completed it with a touchdown pass to Llevi Noel, after deep threat Derel Walker broke away for 56 yards two plays before.

The third quarter had a Riders major called back on a holding penalty so they ended the drive with three points instead. The clubs then swapped a few short drives playing into the fourth.

His team trailing 29-7, Franklin’s pass attempt to Green got picked off again, this time by Nick Marshall in the end zone. The Roughriders turned a field goal out of the extra possession.

The Argos starting pivot went 20-for-28 for 224 yards with two picks and a touchdown. Franklin hobbled to the sidelines with five minutes remaining favouring his right leg after taking his second sack by Charleston Hughes and third of the night. McLeod Bethel-Thompson came in and got immediately sacked on his first play as well.

Toronto is back home against B.C. Saturday as is Saskatchewan, who take on the Calgary Stampeders.

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