Special teams sink ’Riders

The Toronto Argonauts’ special teams spoiled Saskatchewan’s playoff party Saturday. Toronto’s second fake punt of the fourth quarter set up the game-winning touchdown pass from Cleo Lemon to Jeremaine Copeland as the Argos beat the Roughriders 24-19.

Argonauts 24 Roughriders 19

REGINA — The Toronto Argonauts’ special teams spoiled Saskatchewan’s playoff party Saturday.

Toronto’s second fake punt of the fourth quarter set up the game-winning touchdown pass from Cleo Lemon to Jeremaine Copeland as the Argos beat the Roughriders 24-19.

A Saskatchewan win would have guaranteed the ’Riders a home playoff date for the fourth straight season, but instead it was the Argonauts who were celebrating.

The game-changing sequence started when Toronto’s Ricky Foley blocked a Luca Congi field goal attempt to give the Argos the ball at their own 28-yard line.

Facing a third-and-long situation three plays later at their own 51, the Argos (7-7) set up in punt formation. But instead of kicking it away, Bryan Crawford ran the ball to the Saskatchewan 29-yard line for an Argos first down.

That set up a 27-yard touchdown pass from Lemon to Copeland that held up as the game-winning score.

“We’re not just hoping they work,” Crawford said of Toronto’s trick plays. “We’re running them against looks that we’re practising against, that we’re waiting to see. And when we see them we have to trust in the guys on the field that we’re going to execute them properly.”

Earlier in the quarter, the Argos’ were facing third down in the shadow of their own goalposts. Punter Jamie Boreham took the snap in the end zone and started to kneel as if conceding the safety, but instead handed the ball behind his back to Byron Parker.

Parker ran out of the end zone and drew a penalty to give Toronto a first down.

“You have to do things like that to get players to believe that you believe in them,” Toronto head coach Jim Barker said.

“And I believe in these players and I’m going to give them opportunities to win games.”