Argos deny Blue Bombers 3-peat in wild Grey Cup win

Steve Russell / Toronto Star / Getty

Dynasty denied.

The Toronto Argonauts ended the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' reign atop the Canadian Football League and claimed their 18th Grey Cup championship with a wild 24-23 win at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

Lineman Robbie Smith took a critical facemask penalty on a sack of Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros to extend their drive but redeemed himself moments later by blocking Winnipeg's 47-yard field-goal attempt with 54 seconds left to seal the upset win.

Argos backup quarterback Chad Kelly led the winning drive after taking over for an injured McLeod Bethel-Thompson early in the fourth quarter. Kelly scrambled for a remarkable 20-yard run after a penalty had pushed the Boatmen back, setting up A.J. Ouellette's championship-clinching touchdown run.

Henoc Muamba, who was named both the Grey Cup MVP and Most Valuable Canadian, picked off Collaros' first pass after the touchdown, appearing to set up a field goal. But Winnipeg blocked Boris Bede's kick, setting up the incredible final drive that finished with Smith's block.

Kelly completed four of his six attempts for 43 yards after coming into the game. Before suffering an apparent hand injury during the first series of the fourth, Bethel-Thompson threw for 203 yards.

The Argos' offensive attack was primarily led by the two-headed monster of running backs Ouellette and Andrew Harris. The duo combined for 79 yards on the ground, with Ouellette rumbling home for both of Toronto's majors.

"I'm so proud of this team right here," Ouellette told TSN after the win. "We blocked out the media, we blocked out everyone saying that we couldn't beat them. I'm just proud of the team and how we rallied."

Harris, who now owns the most rushing yards by a Canadian in Grey Cup history (334 across four Grey Cup games), earned his third consecutive title, this time against his former team. He was a critical part of Winnipeg's back-to-back championships before the team let him walk to Toronto this past offseason.

The win also gives former MOP Brandon Banks his first career championship. Banks, 34, joined the Argos this winter in search of that elusive title. He had lost each of his four previous Grey Cup appearances as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Argos' shocking win continues a remarkable championship run for the oldest franchise in professional football. The Boatmen have now won their last seven Grey Cup appearances dating back to 1991. Argos general manager and franchise icon Michael "Pinball" Clemons has been in the organization for all seven of those wins, either as a player, coach, or executive. Their last Grey Cup loss was in 1987.

Toronto also moves to 7-0 against Winnipeg in Grey Cup games. All of their previous six meetings in the Grey Cup came before the CFL was formed.

For the Blue Bombers, the loss ends their hopes of making history with a third straight title. The last team to three-peat as Grey Cup champions was Warren Moon's Edmonton Eskimos in 1982.

Collaros, the two-time reigning Most Outstanding Player, ran into a big blue wall of Argonauts defenders throughout the evening. While he led a pair of touchdown drives, he didn't throw for a major, finishing with just 183 passing yards and an interception. Dalton Schoen, the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie and league-leading receiver, was held to just three receptions for 78 yards.

"It seemed like we really couldn't get into a rhythm offensively for most of it," Collaros said. "We put together a couple of good drives but didn't do enough to win the football game."

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Argos deny Blue Bombers 3-peat in wild Grey Cup win
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