CFL: Argonauts 23, Redblacks 20
OTTAWA — It wasn’t a great sight to see but the Toronto Argonauts got it done.
A fourth-quarter touchdown pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Boris Bede’s fifth field goal of the game powered the Argonauts to a 23-20 win over the Ottawa Redblacks Saturday.
Trailing 20-12, Bethel-Thompson connected with Kurleigh Gittens Jr. for a 12-yard touchdown pass and then completed the play with a two-point conversion toss to DaVaris Daniels to tie the game at 4:37 of the fourth.
Bede then connected from 34 yards out for his fifth field goal of the game and a 23-20 lead with four minutes to play.
When asked if he thought it was an ugly win, Argos coach Ryan Dinwiddie said “I would say so. I’d say the first half was. We came out flat on all three phases of the ball. The second half we found a way to get it done.
“These tough wins, they're not always pretty but it shows that we’re able to play some close football games. I thought we did some good things but obviously you always want a better performance. But we’re happy we got a win."
Devlin Hodges was making his first career CFL start for the Redblacks but only threw for 90 yards as Ottawa fell to 2-11 with their sixth straight loss.
Bethel-Thompson threw for almost 300 yards but was intercepted three times. The Argonauts improved to 8-4 and remain first in the East Division.
"When you have a turnover margin like that, you should win the football game," Redblacks coach Paul LaPolice said, referring to the three interceptions and one fumble recovery.
"I need to do a better job to put them in a position to finish stronger. It lies on me."
The Argonauts lost the services of running back John White with a leg injury. Dinwiddie didn’t have an update after the game but said White was on crutches.
A.J. Ouellette came on in relief and finished with 107 yards on 14 carries, including a 30-yard run on the final drive that allowed the Argos to close out the victory.
“It’s tough when you’re not on the field, but I’m a professional football player and I get paid to do this,” Ouellette said.
“Games like that, you can’t worry about how bad you’re hurting. Your team is hurting, they’re hurting so you just have to push through. Especially on that last drive to secure the win. I’m just glad I could do my part, be patient and bide my time.”
DeVonte Dedmon took the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown in his return after missing the past two games with an ankle injury to give the Redblacks a 20-9 lead.
With that score Dedmon became the fastest player in CFL history to score five kick-return touchdowns and he did it in 15 games. Henry “Gizmo” Williams held the old record with 18.
"Coach Dyce always put us in a great position," Dedmon said of special teams coach Bob Dyce.
"For me, when I look at my teammates, they give me confidence. They say 'on three, let's get Dedmon in the end zone.' ... When I get the ball in my hands, I just want to get in the end zone."
Later in the quarter Dedmon had an 81-yard punt return negated on an illegal block penalty.
Bede kicked a 49-yard field goal for the only other scoring of the third quarter as the Redblacks took a 20-12 lead into the fourth.
The Argonauts opened the scoring at 4:29 of the first quarter on a 46-yard Bede field goal, but it was the Redblacks who went into halftime with a 13-9 lead.
That lead was not the result of long drives. Their two field goals in the first half came off Toronto turnovers and their one touchdown was aided by two separate runs that totalled 61 yards.
After Lewis Ward missed a long attempt snapping 14 consecutive field goals made, Chris Edwards fumbled coming out of the end zone and the Redblacks recovered on the Toronto eight-yard line.
Three plays later Ward redeemed himself with an 11-yard field goal at 9:29, but it was the inability to get six that was concerning for Ottawa. Ward missed on two other attempts in the game.
Late in the first quarter Bethel-Thompson was intercepted by Avery Williams, which led to an early second quarter 25-yard field goal by Ward for a 6-3 Ottawa lead, but that was short lived. Bede restored the tie with his second field goal of the half, this one from 42 yards.
Later in the quarter Hodges just missed connecting on a pass play that would have covered about 50 yards. The next three plays saw Hodges run for 10 yards, then Timothy Flanders for 41 and finally Ryan Davis for 20 to the Toronto one-yard line. Caleb Evans replaced Hodges at quarterback and ran a sneak for the score that, once converted, gave the Redblacks a 13-9 lead.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 6, 2021.