Argonauts 32, Lions 29: Costly missed kicks down the stretch put BC’s boots on in Toronto

Kicker Jimmy Camacho is 0-for-3 on fourth-quarter field goals as the Lions fall to the Argonauts and reduce their postseason hopes.

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The BC Lions began the season with serious kicker issues, leading to the release of global player Takeru Yamasaki.


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Now, the problems with the kicks may have ended their season.

Kicker Jimmy Camacho was 0-3 in fourth-quarter field goals as the BC Lions fell 31-29 in overtime to the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.

He missed from 37, 50 and 37 yards. He had the potential game winner from 50 blocked yards with 53 seconds left, and after Toronto miscalculated the clock with two straight knees, the Lions got another shot from 37. He missed on the right, but the Lions had a single for tie the goal. score at 22-22.



BC Lions vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats

4 pm, Tim Hortons Field, TV: TSN, RADIO: AM730

The Argos scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the extra period to take the lead, but Michael Reilly hit Jacob Scarfone with a 32-yard strike to keep up, missing the two-point conversion.


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Camacho had started the season 14 of 14, but missed four of his last five shots.

This is what we learned …

Toronto Argonauts running back DJ Foster (29) avoids a tackle by BC Lions defensive back Garry Peters (4) and Jordan Williams (21) on Saturday at BMO Field.
Toronto Argonauts running back DJ Foster (29) avoids a tackle by BC Lions defensive back Garry Peters (4) and Jordan Williams (21) on Saturday at BMO Field. Photo by Evan Buhler /The Canadian Press


The Argonauts were trying to reserve their ticket to the CFL playoffs. The Lions were trying to make sure they didn’t need to start thinking about booking their vacation.

The Boatmen entered the game looking to clinch a playoff spot, while BC just hoped to keep their playoff hopes alive, the odds were 25 percent by night.

With its fifth loss in a row, BC (4-7) is now two wins behind third-place Calgary in the West after the Stampeders won 26-13 against Ottawa on Friday, though the Leos are one game down. The crossover spot is closer to reaching, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-5) now third in the East after beating Edmonton 39-23 on Friday.


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BC has three games remaining this season, beginning with a visit to Hamilton next Friday. A week later, they host the Stampeders before ending the season against the Edmonton Elks at BC Place.

Argos (7-4) took first place in the East pending the result of the last game between Montreal and Saskatchewan.

BC Lions quarterback Michael Reilly (13) delivers the ball to BC Lions running back James Butler (24) on Saturday at BMO Field.
BC Lions quarterback Michael Reilly (13) delivers the ball to BC Lions running back James Butler (24) on Saturday at BMO Field. Photo by Evan Buhler /The Canadian Press


Michael Reilly came into the game without a touchdown pass in his last three games and averaged just 151 passing yards per game during that span.

It looked like the tough times would continue after the first drive, when he threw his second pass of the day to the ground three yards from Dominque Rhymes and was then intercepted by Jeff Richards on a deep ball attempt to Shaq Johnson.


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But by halftime, Reilly had 159 yards and two touchdowns, and he was back throwing bombs downfield like he had in the first half of the season. But the rain began to fall in the second half, affecting Reilly’s accuracy and ability to catch the ball, and the Lions were two and eliminated in four of their first eight drives in the second half.

Reilly finished the game 20 of 38 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.


The Lions defense came in averaging 381 net yards and 25 points against per game, the third-most in the league. He held firm enough when a Reilly interception put the Argos at 25, keeping them on a field goal, but Toronto marched 83 yards on nine plays with ease on their next drive to make it 10-0 early.


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New undisputed starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed just 23 of 37 for 155 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while the Argos racked up just 278 yards on net offense.

They also returned to their great playing form that they had earlier in the season. With the Argos leading in the third quarter, Bo Lokombo bombed Bethel-Thompson and got his gloves on a pass attempt. He fell directly into the hands of defensive lineman Obum Gwacham, who carried him 33 yards home to put BC 21-20 up.

The Argos had six scoring units, but five of them were field goals, including two for more than 50 yards. With Toronto in the red zone at the 10-yard line to start the fourth quarter, Lokombo filled in running back DJ Foster for no gain, then sacked Bethel-Thompson on the next play.


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The return of Lucky Whitehead was a huge boost for the Lions’ offense. The deep threat sprinter was only attacked twice in the first half on Saturday, but his presence meant one-on-one coverage for the other receivers.

Bryan Burnham had his first TD catch since September 11 of Week 5, hitting a 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter to bring the Lions back into the game. It came after Shaq Johnson’s miraculous 53-yard double catch on the sideline, where the Canadian fell, then caught the deflected ball while sliding onto his back.

Dominque Rhymes scored his first touchdown in the Lions colors in the second quarter. Again, with Whitehead drawing double coverage in midfield, Rhymes went one-on-one with Jeff Richards, creating enough room for Reilly to drop a ball just in the back of the end zone for Rhymes.


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Whitehead, who had been out since Oct. 1 with two broken fingers, had two receptions for 20 yards. But Burnham had five receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Rhymes had 68 yards on 6 receptions.


BC had played disciplined soccer this season, with the fewest penalty yards awarded in the league coming into the night.

At one point, Toronto had been penalized six times for 53 yards to zero by the Lions, but the tides soon turned. BC finished the game with 129 yards on nine penalties, and it wasn’t just the quantity, it was the quality. Punishments nullified offensive gains or expanded Argos units that would otherwise have ended.

In overtime, Marcus Sayles was in coverage, but he slipped on the grass in the end zone and either dropped Chandler Worthy or gave up a scoreboard. The pass interference call set Toronto up at the one, and quarterback Antonio Pipkin sucked in for the lead marker.

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