Argonauts come back to win Grey Cup as Stampeders fall short again

Northern Secondary School alumni Matt Black seals the Grey Cup for the Toronto ArgonautsThe Calgary Stampeders were less than 10 yards away from taking a commanding fourth-quarter lead in the 105th Grey Cup championship on Sunday, but the Toronto Argonauts stormed back to win 27-24 on a snowy evening in Ottawa. The loss was Calgary’s second Grey Cup defeat in as many years, and Toronto has now won its last six CFL championship appearances.

Calgary controlled the pace for much of Sunday’s contest, building a 17-8 lead by halftime. The snow was clearly a factor for both teams as both kickers missed extra-point attempts and the Stampeders botched the snap on a punt in the second quarter, resulting in a safety. The Argonauts had little success on offense in the first half beyond one great play at the start of the second quarter when Ricky Ray found DeVier Posey for a 100-yard touchdown pass, but they opened the second half with their first lengthy drive of the game, capping it with a 2-yard touchdown run from James Wilder Jr.

The Stampeders responded with a touchdown on the following drive and maintained an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, getting all the way to Toronto’s 9-yard line with five minutes remaining in the game and an opportunity to take a two-score lead. Bo Levi Mitchell completed a short pass to Kamar Jorden, who fumbled the ball when he was hit by Jermaine Gabriel, leading to a 109-yard fumble recovery touchdown by Cassius Vaughn and a tie game after Ray connected with Declan Cross on the two-point conversion. Ray went 4-for-6 on Toronto’s next drive to set up a 32-yard field goal by Lirim Hajrullahu, giving the Argonauts their first lead of the game with 53 seconds remaining.

The 38-year-old Ray is the first CFL quarterback to win four Grey Cups, and he enters free agency on a high note after his most improbable victory yet. League-leading Calgary was heavily favoured, having already defeated Toronto twice in the regular season. The Stampeders entered Sunday with a 9-1 record against the Argonauts since the 100th Grey Cup in 2012, which Toronto also won, and Mitchell had never lost a start against Toronto. But the Argonauts hung around in the snow and didn’t allow Calgary to establish its pass rush, capitalizing on Stampeders miscues while avoiding any turnovers of their own. Posey was named Grey Cup MVP with a game-high 175 receiving yards.