TORONTO ARGONAUTS GAME REPORT - WEEK 2: Ticats Badly Spoil Argos’ Home Opener and Ricky Ray Retirement Game
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, June 22, 2019
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS 64 – TORONTO ARGONAUTS 14 FINAL
TORONTO, ON – This was not the foot the Toronto Argonauts wanted to start the season on.
An all-round poor performance from the Argos wasn’t a good way to honour legendary Quarterback Ricky Ray, who’s jersey and retirement were honoured before kickoff.
Toronto’s biggest issue was their complete lack of a running game. James Wilder Jr. couldn’t get anything going on the ground and the Argos rarely tried to run the ball as a result.
Hamilton had multiple firsts in Saturday afternoon’s game, starting with a 56-yard field goal kicked by Lirim Hajrullahu, a career best. He made that early in the 2nd quarter to give the Ticats a 6-3 lead and they never looked back.
What led to that Hamilton field goal was a special play, however.
Jeremiah Masoli threw a pass intended for Brandon Banks that was picked off by Abdul Kanneh. Kanneh ran the ball about 15 yards downfield before he was stripped of the ball by Hamilton OL Brandon Revenberg, who recovered the fumble. So, Hamilton maintained possession, but Masoli was hit with the INT.
The game started to open up for the Tiger-Cats in the 2nd. Hamilton converted on two red-zone attempts for two touchdowns and complete one of two 2-point converts to make it 20-3. Hamilton backup RB Maleek Irons stepped in late in the half to replace the injured Sean Thomas Earlington and ran 18 yards in two plays for his first career touchdown.
Drew Brown booted another field goal for Toronto to make it 20-6 at the half.
And that was about it for the Argos.
Hamilton dominated the 3rd quarter with 3 touchdowns and one 2-point convert, including the first CFL reception and touchdown for Hamilton’s 2019 2nd round draft pick Nikola Kalinic. Bralon Addison caught the other two and the Argonauts received more bad news with a serious injury to Safety Jermaine Gabriel.
The Ticats started the 4th quarter with a 113-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown by Banks and rookie kicker Gabriel Amavizca kicked his first career extra point convert to make it 48-6.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson started the 4th quarter for Toronto with a 2 and out and Dane Evans started the 4th for Hamilton. Evans capped off his first drive of the game with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Addison, his 3rd TD reception of the game.
Bethel-Thompson finally broke through with a good drive downfield and a touchdown pass to Armanti Edwards with 1:37 left in the game. The Ticats had a mercy 2 and out before Bethel-Thompson threw an interception to Rico Murray on the last play of the game. Murray returned the catch 37 yards for one final touchdown.
James Franklin did start this game and went 16 for 26 and 211 yards with 1 interception. He threw a 42-yard bomb to Derel Walker midway through the 3rd. They had to punt on that drive.
Bethel-Thompson meanwhile was 9 for 16 and 99 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Armanti Edwards had 73 yards on 4 catches and Noel Llevi had 71 on 7 touches.
For Hamilton meanwhile, Masoli was 23 for 31 and 338 yards, with 3 touchdowns, an interception and a 44-yard bomb. Dane Evans was 5 for 6 and 105 yards, with a touchdown and also a 44-yard bomb.
RB Sean Thomas Earlington rushed 109 yards on 12 carries, while receivers Addison and Banks each had 100+ yard games and 3 touchdowns for Addison.
Toronto also suffered 5 major injuries on defence which depleted their ranks, including the Gabriel injury.
Hamilton improves to 2-0 on the season while Toronto drops their opening game in embarrassing fashion.