TORONTO — Cody Fajardo's one-yard TD run with 1:57 remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a wild 29-28 home win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday night.
Fajardo's score erased a 28-23 deficit, but he was stopped on the attempted two-point convert. That left Toronto (8-9) to protect a precarious one-point lead before an energetic BMO Field gathering of 15,533.
Winnipeg got the ball at its 22-yard line with 1:49 remaining and quarterback Matt Nichols drove the offence to the Toronto 32-yard line. Justin Medlock attempted the game-winning 40-yard field goal, but was wide.
Toronto cemented the victory by then kicking the ball from its end zone out of bounds with no time remaining.
Toronto starter Ricky Ray was instrumental in the win, finishing 32-of-43 passing for 423 yards with a TD and interception. It was a club-record 12th 300-yard game of the season for Ray, who also became just the fourth player in CFL history to surpass 60,000 career passing yards.
Hall of Famers Anthony Calvillo (79,816), Damon Allen (72,381) and Henry Burris (63,227) are the others.
Toronto won for the first time in three games and moved atop the East Division, one point ahead of idle Ottawa (7-9-1). The Argos are off next week, but the Redlblacks conclude their regular season versus Hamilton and a tie or Ticats win will give the Double Blue home-field advantage for the East final.
If Ottawa wins, Toronto can still cement home field for the East final with a road win over B.C. on Nov. 4.
Winnipeg (10-5) remains second in the West Division. A win would've secured the Bombers a home playoff game for the first time since 2011.
With Winnipeg's loss, Calgary (13-2-1) clinches first in the West Division.
Medlock's 32-yard field goal put Winnipeg ahead 28-20 at 1:27 of the fourth, but Lirim Hajrullahu connected from 16 yards out at 7:52 to make it a five-point contest.
Toronto pulled to within 25-20 at 12:12 of the third on James Wilder Jr.'s four-yard TD run. The two-point convert was unsuccessful.
An 11-point outburst early in the third put Winnipeg ahead 25-14. Former Argo lineman Tristan Okpalaugo provided the big play, returning an interception 98 yards to the Toronto one-yard line that Dan LeFevour converted into a touchdown run at 6:38.
Medlock added a single on the ensuing kickoff. His 53-yard field goal at 2:10 put Winnipeg ahead 17-14.
Wilder Jr., with two, and Declan Cross scored Toronto's touchdowns. Hajrullahu added two converts and a field goal.
LeFevour, with two, and Weston Dressler scored Winnipeg's touchdowns. Medlock booted the converts, a single and two field goals.
Nichols' 28-yard TD strike to Dressler at 7:16 of the second quarter resulted in a 14-14 tie at halftime. It came after Nichols hit Dressler on a 43-yard completion to start the drive.
Ray hit 5,000 passing yards for the season, the fourth time he's achieved the milestone and first since '08. He joined Calvillo and Doug Flutie as the only players in league history to have four or more 5,000-yard passing seasons.
Toronto appeared poised to go ahead 17-7 when a drive stalled at the Winnipeg 11-yard line. But the Argos gambled on third-and-four and Ray was sacked and fumbled, which was recovered by Trent Corney at the Bombers' 25-yard line.
The game opened impressively, with touchdowns on the first three possessions.
Wilder Jr. opened the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run at 5:17 of the first, capping a 10-play, 86-yard drive. LeFevour countered with a one-yard touchdown run at 11:27 to finish an 11-play, 79-yard march.
Ray put Toronto ahead 14-7 with a six-yard touchdown pass to Cross on third down at 12:54.