VANCOUVER — Bryan Burnham had three touchdowns and his B.C. Lions trounced the Toronto Argonauts 55-8 Saturday.
The loss officially eliminates the Argos (2-12) from playoff contention, while keeping the Lions’ (5-10) faint hope for a post-season berth alive.
Burnham tallied 145 receiving yards in the effort and B.C. quarterback Mike Reilly threw for 276 yards, including five touchdowns. Danny O’Brien came in to relieve Reilly midway through the fourth quarter, adding seven passing yards.
Argos quarterback James Franklin completed 6-of-9 attempts for 32 yards with an interception. He was replaced by McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the third quarter, who connected on 9-of-14 attempts for 94 yards, including a touchdown.
B.C. dominated offensively, allowing Toronto just 167 offensive yards and 16:36 in possession time.
— CFL (@CFL) October 6, 2019
Bungled offensive plays plagued Toronto throughout the game, starting on the Argos’ first drive of the night when Lions defensive lineman Jonathan Newsome knocked down Franklin’s first pass.
The ball bounced to B.C.’s T.J. Lee, who returned it 11 yards.
The Leos capitalized on the opportunity, with Reilly getting a 14-yard toss to Burnham. The receiver stretched into the end zone for the first touchdown of the night.
Toronto fumbled the ball away again minutes later and B.C.’s Gary Peters ended up with it at the bottom of a heap.
Reilly completed the ensuing drive, sending a long pass into the end zone where Burnham, under pressure from a pair of Argos defenders, made a one-armed catch and managed to keep a foot on the field to chalk up another major strike.
The dynamic duo collaborated once about midway through the second quarter, with the quarterback sending a 38-yard pass to Burnham along the sidelines on a second down.
The play broke open another scoring opportunity for the Leos and backup pivot O’Brien finished off the 11-play, 81-yard drive, smuggling through a crowd and into the end zone for his first-ever CFL rushing touchdown.
Toronto gave up yet another chance before the end of the half. Running back Chris Rainey appeared to get a short pass off to receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. in the Lions’ end but B.C.’s Jamel Lyles recovered the ball instead, giving his team an opportunity to set up along the goal line.
O’Brien bulldozed his way through traffic but the play was called back on a penalty.
Sergio Castillo went for a 32-yard field goal instead. His successful kick put the Lions up 34-0 going into the half.
The kicker made both of his field goal attempts on Saturday and added six single-point converts for the Lions.
B.C. widened the lead just over six minutes into the third quarter when Reilly found Shaq Johnson deep in the end zone. Despite having Toronto’s Trumaine Washington draped all over him, Johnson caught the 21-yard toss to add another major strike to the Lions’ tally.
Another unbelievable catch from Burnham increased the lead yet again with less than three minutes to go in the third.
Reilly sent a 31-yard bomb sailing deep into scoring territory. The ball bounced in Burnham’s hands but the receiver managed to recover it and hold it tight before hitting the turf.
His teammate Duron Carter celebrated by bowing at Burnham’s feat.
The touchdown put the Lions up 48-0 at the end of the frame — the largest lead the club has ever had heading into a fourth quarter.
But B.C. wasn’t content with the advantage and kept pressing.
Just over seven minutes into the fourth, the Lions completed another scoring drive with Reilly sending a 25-yard toss to Carter just inside the sidelines in the Argos’ end zone.
Toronto’s only points of the game came with just six seconds left on the clock when Amanti Edwards caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Bethel-Thompson.
The receiver also caught a three-yard toss for the two-point conversion.
The Argos will be back in Toronto next week, hosting the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday. The Lions will head to Edmonton to battle the Eskimos on Saturday.
NOTES: B.C. has won four games in a row, marking the first time since 2017 that the team has accomplished the feat. … Lions receiver Benjamin Plu saw his first CFL action. The 25-year-old from Le Mans, France, was picked by B.C. in the league’s first-ever European draft in April.
THE CANADIAN PRESS