OTTAWA — Chad Owens made a one-handed catch in the end zone with 25 seconds left to play to give the Toronto Argonauts a key 38-35 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Tuesday night.
Trevor Harris passed for five touchdowns — including Owens's late 10-yard strike — and 397 yards as Toronto improved to 8-5.
The Argonauts have won two straight and are now tied for first in the division with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Henry Burris threw two TDs and 250 yards for the Redblacks (8-6). Chris Milo had four field goals and converted three touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as the Redblacks fell to third place in the division.
Toronto was officially the home team for the crucial CFL East matchup even though the game was held in Ottawa.
The Argonauts could not play at home because Rogers Centre was being used by the Toronto Blue Jays who are in Major League Baseball's playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Following a three-yard touchdown run by Ernest Jackson that gave the Redblacks a 35-31 lead with less than three minutes to play, Harris led the Argos downfield for the winning score.
Owens was left virtually unmarked with Toronto trailing 35-31 in the final minute of play. He broke open in the end zone but still had to make an acrobatic play to bring the pass from Harris down and in control.
Redblacks defenders dropped to their knees in frustration as they realized the Argonauts had taken the lead with little time left on the clock.
The Redblacks got off to a flying start, driving 57 yards on the opening possession of the game.
Jeremiah Johnson ran the ball in from two yards out for the touchdown right after Ernest Jackson completed a 38-yard catch and run play with Burris, 15 of those yards coming with a pair of Toronto defenders on his back.
The Argonauts responded immediately, taking their first possession 79 yards down field, culminating in a six-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Kevin Elliot.
The big play on that drive was a 55-yard completion from Harris to Elliott, plus another 15 yards that was tacked on for a horse collar tackle by Ottawa defender Domaso Munoz.
An Ottawa punt on the ensuing series pinned the Argonauts deep in their end, but they moved the ball 98 yards on nine plays including the 15-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Tori Gurley that gave Toronto its first lead of the game at 10:06.
Milo kicked field goals of 20 and 21 yards before the end of the quarter, and then both teams traded field goals in the second quarter. Justin Palardy gave the Argonauts a 17-13 lead at 11:10 with his 27-yard three-pointer before Milo cut the lead to 17-16 with a 46-yarder on the last play of the half.
The Argos took the opening drive of the second half and turned it into a 16-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Vidal Hazelton.
At one point they were facing a first-and-25 scenario, but in two plays went to second-and-12 and then the touchdown.
The Redblacks finished the quarter strong thanks to a 46-yard field goal from Milo and a 32-yard touchdown pass from Burris to Greg Ellingson to give the Redblacks a 26-24 lead after three quarters.
Harris connected with Brandon Whitaker on a four-yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter to give the Argos a 31-26 lead.
Darren Desaulniers, The Canadian Press