TORONTO — Chad Kelly threw two touchdown passes as the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 29-14 on Saturday night to sweep the season series.
Toronto (12-1) earned its first four-game sweep of Hamilton since 2006. The Argos have downed their arch rivals in six straight contests and 10-of-11 overall, delighting the energetic BMO Field gathering of 15,549.
Kelly’s nine-yard strike to Dejon Brissett — his second TD of the game — at 14:44 of the third quarter gave Toronto a commanding 27-4 lead. It was set up by Wynton McManis’s 50-yard interception return.
McManis also had a 58-yard pick-six in the first half.
Hamilton pulled to within 27-11 on Taylor Powell’s six-yard touchdown pass to Terry Godwin II at 4:33 of the fourth. It capped a smart nine-play, 95-yard march.
Tyreik McAllister appeared to give the Ticats more life with a 57-yard punt return, but it came back due to a holding penalty. So instead of starting from the Toronto 35-yard line, Hamilton was at its own 10.
Toronto was awarded a safety at 6:12 when Powell was flagged for intentional grounding while in Hamilton’s end zone. Marc Liegghio’s 37-yard field goal at 10:30 pulled the Ticats to within 29-14.
The Argos, who cemented top spot in the East Division with last week’s 23-20 win in Montreal, extended their overall win streak to six games. The defending Grey Cup champions improved to 8-0 within the conference and 7-0 at home (including a victory in Halifax over Saskatchewan).
Hamilton (6-8) suffered its first loss in three games. The Ticats also fell to third in the East Division, two points behind the Montreal Alouettes (7-7), who defeated the Calgary Stampeders 28-11 earlier Saturday.
Running backs A.J. Ouellette (healthy scratch) and Andrew Harris (six-game injured list, knee) along with offensive lineman Isiah Cage (one-game injured list, hamstring) didn’t play for Toronto. But Kelly did, along with the entire starting defence.
Kelly completed 17-of-26 passes for 242 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
Powell, who’d won three of his four previous starts, finished 26-of-40 passing for 326 yards with a TD and two interceptions. The Ticats’ rookie fell to 0-3 this season versus Toronto.
Hamilton receiver Kiondre Smith had eight catches for 152 yards, both game highs.
Boris Bede kicked two field goals, two converts and a single for Toronto.
Liegghio booted two field goals and a convert for Hamilton. Kaare Vedvik added a single.
Toronto rode a 16-point opening quarter to a 20-4 half-time lead.
Toronto rolled up 259 net offensive yards, compared to 104 for Hamilton, and registered 12 first downs. The Ticats had just five.
Kelly completed 13-of-18 passes for 218 yards with a TD and interception. Powell was eight-of-14 passing for 82 yards and an interception.
Bede opened the scoring with a 41-yard field goal at 3:59 of the first. McManus staked Toronto to a 10-0 lead at 4:56, returning an interception 58 yards for the touchdown on Hamilton’s second play from scrimmage.
Liegghio put Hamilton on the board with a 26-yard field goal at 11:12. It was set up by Gordon Whyte’s recovery of a punt-returner Javon Leake’s fumble.
But on the next play, Kelly hit Brissett on a 70-yard TD strike at 11:31. That put the Argos up 16-3 as Bede missed the convert.
Bede put Toronto ahead 17-3 with a 62-yard single at 5:26 of the second. He made it 20-3 after connecting from 36 yards out at 13:07.
Vedvik rounded out the first-half scoring with a 56-yard single at 14:07.
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