Argonauts 37 Alouettes 22
TORONTO — Chad Owens caught two TD passes while Ryan Christian returned a kickoff a club-record 110 yards for another as the surprising Toronto Argonauts stunned the Montreal Alouettes 37-22 at Rogers Centre on Saturday night.
Christian, a first-year player from Texas Christian, electrified the season-high Rogers Centre gathering of 22,311 at 2:08 of the second quarter, a play after Montreal had pulled to within 14-7. Christian broke the Argos’ record of 109 yards set by Terry Greer in 1981 and capped the play by summersaulting into the end zone.
But it was Owens, who was acquired from Montreal before the season, who cemented the victory. He hauled in a 40-yard TD toss from Cleo Lemon at 8:00 of the fourth to put Toronto ahead 38-22 when Montreal seemed to be gaining some momentum.
Owens finished with six catches for 163 yards and the two TDs, the Argos first 100-yard receiver of the season.
Lemon recorded his first three-TD game for Toronto, which wore dark blue retro 1970s jerseys and the A symbol on their helmets.
Toronto (5-2) moved into a first-place tie with Montreal (5-2) atop the East Division standings. And after having to rally for their first four wins of the year, the Argos — who had only three wins all of last year — had to hold on for this one after storming out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead.
Montreal made it interesting in the third after Lemon’s 18-yard TD strike to Andre Durie at 3:32 put Toronto ahead 31-14. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo, playing after dislocating a finger on his passing hand last week, found a wide-open S.J. Green on a 49-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 31-21 at 7:42.
Calvillo also took Montreal on a 70-yard, 11-play drive to the Toronto 31-yard line but the Als could only muster a single on Duval’s errant 39-yard field goal attempt to pull to within 31-22 at 5:25 of the fourth.
Calvillo finished 37-of-50 passing for 443 yards and three TDs for the defending Grey Cup champions, who also had three turnovers.
Kerry Watkins and Jamel Richardson scored Montreal’s other touchdowns. Damon Duval booted the converts, a field goal and single.
Cory Boyd also scored a touchdown for Toronto. Shaw added the converts and a field goal.
Calvillo’s six-yard TD strike to Richardson at 14:52 of the second capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive that not only cut Toronto’s half-time lead to 24-14 but also helped take away some of the sting of being victimized by the big play.
Christian delivered the opening half’s biggest play right after Calvillo had pulled Montreal to within 14-7 with a pinpoint 17-yard TD strike to Watkins in the corner of the end zone.
Toronto’s special teams came up huge again later the second when Bryan Crawford surprised Montreal with a 42-yard run on a fake third-down punt. That set up Shaw’s 20-yard field goal at 11:57 for the 24-7 advantage.