OTTAWA — Toronto Argonauts coach Marc Trestman had to wait out the first half on Saturday before his team showed up to play.
Ricky Ray threw his 300th career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter as the Argonauts erased a forgettable first half to beat the Ottawa Redblacks 26-25.
Toronto fell behind 12-0 in the first half and could only produce a single point in the opening 30 minutes, coming off a missed field goal from Lirim Hajrullahu, before finding its offence after the break.
“I’ll start by saying it wasn’t a good start for us,” said Trestman.
“There was nothing that showed up out of the hard work we put in all week in practice. Penalties early on special teams, penalties on offence, penalties on defence. It was just a complete team debacle probably for the first 17 minutes of the game. Then it started to feel like a better game for us and we gave ourselves a chance.”
Ray connected with DeVier Posey for a 10-yard TD in the fourth to reach his milestone. He finished the night 27-of-41 passing for 366 yards and two TDs.
That TD gave the Argos a 23-19 lead before Hajrullahu kicked a 16-yard field goal at 8:41 to make it 26-19.
Ottawa had two late chances to change the outcome of the game, but failed to do so.
Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Greg Ellingson with less than three minutes to play in the fourth, but the convert that would have tied the game at 26 was unsuccessful as Drew Tate bobbled the snap.
Brett Maher had an opportunity to win it for Ottawa (0-2-1) on the game’s final play, but his 59-yard field-goal attempt as time expired was no good.
Ottawa allowed the Argonauts (2-1) to hang around. Not only with the bobbled snap, but a fumble that Toronto recovered in the end zone, an interception that led to another touchdown and a failed quick kick from the 10-yard line that the Argonauts turned into a field goal.
“There’s no one play that wins or loses a game, but we had multiple opportunities to get it done,” Redblacks coach Rick Campbell said.
“I would say that our guys were fighting, but when we give them a free touchdown on a fumble, that’s letting people off the hook and we have to eliminate that. We have the makings to be a pretty good team but we’re not firing on all cylinders, but we’ve played three games where the point difference is five points.”
The Argonauts recovered that fumble in the Ottawa end zone five minutes into the second half for their first touchdown of the game.
Harris missed the snap and was unable to recover the ball after chasing it down as it was heading towards the end zone. Rico Murray eventually fell on the ball for six points. The Argonauts’ attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but they managed to cut Ottawa’s lead to 12-7.
The Argos then took their first lead of the game as Ray connected with S.J. Green on a 55-yard catch and run at 10:05 to make it 13-12. Green finished with 10 catches and a career high 210 yards.
“It’s a lot but the most important thing is that we got a win in the third game of the season,” Green said. “That was a huge win for us that we needed to have and we’re happy that we came out with the W.”