Ricky Ray threw for two touchdowns as the Argonauts beat the B.C. Lions 40-23 in CFL action Friday night. Toronto made amends for a loss in Calgary last weekend, when they led by a wide margin early only to suffer a late loss.
"Last (game) we had a big (29-10) lead going into halftime, and we couldn't come away with the victory," said Ray. "And tonight was the same thing. It gives us a lot of confidence especially coming off of last week's loss."
Toronto posted only its third win over B.C. in 14 meetings since 2008.
"We played a lot better as a team," said Ray. "We didn't have a lot of costly mistakes out there as well as turnovers and penalties."
The Argos (4-8) gained sole possession of first place in the East Division as they snapped a four-game losing streak.
"It was a great job of coming back from a difficult loss last week," said Argos coach Scott Milanovich. "I thought we played well at times in all three phases and, most importantly, protected the football."
The Lions (7-5) suffered their first loss in three outings as their home record dropped to 3-4.
Rookie LaVon Brazill, Steve Slaton, Curtis Steele and Chad Owens — who returned after missing two games with a leg injury — scored Toronto's touchdowns as the Argos led from start to finish. Toronto's remaining points came via kicker Swayze Waters and a safety conceded by B.C.
Waters was successful on three long field-goal attempts. His second, from 53 yards out, was the longest in the CFL this season.
"I didn't know that. The most important thing is that it went in," said Waters, who also connected from 45 and 50 yards.
Ray completed 24 of 33 passes for 284 yards. B.C. quarterback Kevin Glenn had a comparable night as he also threw a pair of touchdowns and racked up 291 passing yards while completing 21 of 36 attempts.
Glenn's efforts were hampered by an early interception and untimely penalties from the usually disciplined Lions as they committed 13 infractions for 131 yards.
"We didn't make enough plays — no momentum," said Glenn. "We got into a groove too late. That pretty much sums up the whole game."
The Lions got touchdowns on receptions from Emmanuel Arceneaux and Bryan Burnham, and another score on a one-yard plunge from backup quarterback John Beck. Kicker Paul McCallum accounted for the other B.C. points.
The Argos were solid throughout, showing few signs of fatigue after they stayed out west instead of returning home following a tough loss in Calgary last weekend in which they squandered their largest lead in their history.
One series after the Lions got on the scoreboard from a McCallum missed field goal attempt, Ray threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Owens that staked the Argos to an 18-1 lead.
"Obviously, it's nice to have (Owens) back in the lineup," said Ray. "He puts so much pressure on the defence."
"Scoring is great," said Owens, who left the game for a while in the second half. "You're helping your team out. But just being out here, it was exciting."
Thanks to Owens' touchdown and a late second-quarter Waters field goal, the Argos led 21-9 at half-time. They stretched their lead to 30-9 early in the fourth quarter before the Lions started a rally that was too little, too late.
Notes: Former Lions Jamie Taras and Brent Johnson were inducted into the club's ring of honour and had their jerseys retired. … Brazill's TD was the first of his CFL career. He was signed by Toronto in August. … B.C. defensive back Ryan Phillips played his 173rd consecutive game after his status was in doubt because of a hamstring injury. … The Argos have only one road game remaining, at Montreal on Nov. 2. … Lions receiver Courtney Taylor will require surgery on the foot he injured last weekend against Winnipeg and could be lost for the season.