Argos clinch first place
TORONTO—Ricky Ray will have plenty of time to savour the first 500-yard passing performance of his CFL career.
Ray completed 39-of-45 passes, including a club-record 21-straight, for 505 yards and three TDs as the Toronto Argonauts clinched first in the East Division with a 36-21 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last night.
That means Ray’s next game for the defending Grey Cup champions will be Nov. 17 in the East final at Rogers Centre.
“I can tell you right now Ricky Ray will not be playing next week,” Milanovich stressed.
“He’ll be standing beside me on the sidelines without gear on; we can end the speculation right now.”
Milanovich’s decision also means Ray will finish the season with a 77.7 percent completion average, breaking the CFL single-season mark of 73.98 percent held by Calgary offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson.
Predictably, the humble Ray downplayed the career performance.
“It was just one of those nights we had a lot of opportunities to make plays and were able to finish most of them,” he reasoned.
“But we left a lot out there, we had a couple of turnovers, and I missed Chad Owens on an easy touchdown.
“We still have a lot of things to clean up,” he added.
Discipline certainly is one of them as Toronto was flagged 14 times for 139 yards.
Winnipeg wasn’t much better with 12 penalties for 95 yards in a very chippy affair that saw both teams penalized often for vicious hits on a night when players, coaches, and officials all had pink-coloured apparel as part of the CFL’s initiative to bring awareness to women’s cancers.
“We’ve got to be more disciplined,” Milanovich conceded. “To win a game with that many penalties just isn’t going to happen very often.
“If we keep having the penalties we had tonight, we won’t go far in November,” he warned.
Ray broke the Argos’ record of 19-straight completions in the third and finished one short of the CFL mark when he threw an incompletion to running back Chad Kackert—back after missing two games with a shoulder injury.
Toronto finished atop the East Division for the first time since ’07 and just the third time since ’97.
More importantly, the Argos cemented home-field advantage for the conference final by sweeping the home-and-home series with Winnipeg after dropping two-straight games to Hamilton.
Winnipeg—2-7 on the road this season—was eliminated from playoff contention with last weekend’s 26-20 home loss to Toronto.