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Argos beat Blue Bombers to win first Grey Cup since 2017


Argos beat Blue Bombers to win first Grey Cup since 2017

REGINA—The Toronto Argonauts came up with a script no one would have believed — and won the 109th Grey Cup on Sunday night.

Chad Kelly, the backup quarterback used mostly on short-yardage plays during the regular season, came on in relief of injured McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the fourth quarter and led the deciding drive for a 24-23 victory over the heavily favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Toronto linebacker Henoc Muamba, who had a key interception late in the game, was named the game’s most valuable player and top Canadian.

“We walked onto this field with total confidence,” Muamba said. “We knew what we had as a team. We all believed … and we have this forever.”

Kelly drove the Argos with just under four minutes left and Winnipeg up 23-17. The quarterback the Argos never planned on using handed off to A.J. Ouellette for a six-yard run to cap what would be the winning drive.

Muamba’s interception seemed to be the clincher, but a Boris Bede field-goal attempt soon after was blocked, giving the Bombers the ball deep in their territory with two minutes to go.

On a wild night at Mosaic Stadium, Argos defensive end Robbie Smith had a hand in the win — twice — and almost lost it for them.

Smith sacked Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros twice, but negated the second one with a facemask penalty. Then Smith made amends by blocking Winnipeg’s attempt at a game-winning field goal in the final minute.


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It was one of the more amazing finishes in Grey Cup history, and deprived the Bombers of a third consecutive Grey Cup.

Kelly — nephew of NFL great Jim Kelly — came on after Bethel-Thompson left favouring his throwing hand. Bethel-Thompson had 15 for 29 and 203 yards. Ouellette finished with a pair of touchdowns. Collaros was 14 for 23 and 183 yards.

The defence, plagued by penalties, played its roughest game of the season. In total, the Argos sacked Collaros, the two-time CFL outstanding player, five times — all of them monster hits.

Until the Argos’ late heroics, the Bombers appeared to be on the way to a third straight championship. They capitalized on several Argo penalties and delivered what appeared to be the lethal blow when Janarion Grant returned a punt 102 yards for a touchdown — a Grey Cup record, surpassing the 97 yarder by Calgary’s Terry Williams in the 2018 game.

The Argos relied on the never-say-die attitude that helped them win 10 of their last 12 games. At the final whistle, there was a rush of emotion on the field before a crowd of almost 33,000.

Slotback Brandon (Speedy) Banks is a first-time Grey Cup champion in what might be his last season.

Andrew Harris, the former Bombers running back, is a three-time champion after beating the team he helped win the last two.

And after a 4-5 start to the season, the Argos are CFL champions for the first time since 2017.

Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol

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