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Waters' FG lifts Toronto, ends Hamilton's playoff hopes
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Swayze Waters booted the game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired and the Toronto Argonauts ended the playoff hopes of the provincial rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a 43-40 victory at Rogers Centre on Thursday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
After allowing the game-tying touchdown with 1:10 left, Toronto began its final drive at the 42.
Zach Collaros connected with Jason Barnes for 20 yards on first down. After an incompletion, Collaros ran for four more yards, setting up the game-winner for Waters, who finished with five field goals on the night.
Chad Owens caught three passes for 39 yards and threw for 49 more in one half of action for the Argos, setting a CFL record for most all-purpose yards in a single season with 3,863.
Owens entered the contest needing 73 yards to surpass Michael 'Pinball' Clemons' mark of 3,840, set in 1997.
"It was great to be able to do this in front of family and to put myself in this position," Owens said. "I want to thank to the Toronto Argonauts organization for giving me the opportunity to play football."
Gerald Riggs ran for 112 yards and a score on 15 carries and Dontrelle Inman hauled in seven passes for 128 yards and a major for Toronto (9-9), which will host a playoff game on Nov. 11.
Henry Burris had a huge day through the air for the Tiger-Cats (6-12), who needed to win and hope that Edmonton lost to Calgary on Friday to make the postseason. He threw for 497 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, while Chris Williams caught four passes for 104 yards and two scores
Toronto opened the scoring on the first possession of the game. Starting from the 34, Jarious Jackson connected with Inman deep down the middle for 46 yards to the Hamilton 30 and Waters banged a 36-yard field goal through the uprights three plays later.
On the ensuing Hamilton touch, Burris was picked off on the second play of the drive by Jordan Younger, who took it 36 yards down the left sideline for the major and an early 10-0 Argos' lead.
The teams then swapped field goals of 19 and 28 yards before the Argos struck for another touchdown late in the first quarter.
Starting from the 34, Jackson pitched it out along the right sideline for Owens, who fired it deep and connected with Spencer Watt for 49 yards up to the Hamilton 13.
From there, Jackson found Inman in the back-left corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown strike and a 20-3 advantage.
Hamilton bridged the first and second quarters with a nine-play, 39-yard drive that culminated in a 33-yard field goal by Luca Congi, pulling the Ti- Cats within 20-6.
After forcing a two-and-out, Hamilton took possession on the 22 and needed just two plays to make it a one-possession game. Burris fired the ball perfectly over the right shoulder and into the arms of Williams, who raced to the end zone for a 93-yard score to make it 20-13.
On the next Ti-Cats touch, Burris was hit and lost the ball, which was scooped up by Johnnie Dixon at the Hamilton 13.
Three plays later, Riggs bulldozed his way through the pile and across the goal line for a 1-yard score and a 27-13 Toronto lead with 5:26 to play in the half.
"We made far too many mistakes tonight," Hamilton coach George Cortez said. "We dug ourselves a huge hole and couldn't get out of it."
Hamilton did answer right back with a 9-play, 64-yard march, capped by a quick 2-yard touchdown strike to Aaron Kelly that the deficit to 27-20 at halftime.
Following a 32-yard punt return to the Toronto 31, Hamilton needed just three plays to capitalize on good field position as Congi nailed a 34-yarder to cut the deficit to 27-23 early in the third quarter.
Waters hit a 32-yarder on the next Toronto touch, but again Hamilton answered as Congi connected on a 44-yarder to make it a 30-26 game with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Toronto made it a two-score game in the early stages of the final quarter, as Collaros led an extensive 9-play, 100-yard drive to the Hamilton 13 before finishing it off with a 13-yard TD strike to Samuel Tranks, putting the Argos ahead by a 37-26 score.
Waters hit a 41-yarder with just over eight minutes to go in the game, putting the Argos up 40-26, but with their playoff lives on the line, the Ti-Cats responded appropriately.
Burris led a 15-play, 75-yard drive to the Toronto two before capping the march with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Avon Cobourne, cutting the deficit to 40-33 with three minutes to play.
Hamilton tied the game on its next drive when Burris hit Williams with a 5- yard touchdown strike.
Williams finished the season with 16 touchdown receptions, setting a Hamilton franchise record for most in one season ... Burris finished the season with 47 touchdown passes, becoming the fifth quarterback in CFL history to throw 40 or more in one season ... 10 Toronto starters, including quarterback Ricky Ray, did not dress for the game.
11/01 23:44:14 ET