Argos roll past Alouettes to take East's top spot
Toronto running back James Wilder Jr. leads team to victory
The Toronto Argonauts moved into first place in the East with a 33-19 victory over Montreal on Saturday night, handing the slumping Alouettes their sixth straight loss.
Darian Durant's woes at quarterback continued for Montreal with two interceptions turning into touchdowns in a lopsided first half that saw the Als outscored 26-0 before a BMO Field crowd of 12,862 on a steamy September night.
After Montreal reeled off 11 straight points in the third, Toronto running back James Wilder Jr. sealed the deal with a 85-yard TD run late in the quarter for a 33-11 lead. It was the league's longest carry of the season, erasing his 76-yard TD run in the third quarter of last week's 34-26 victory over Edmonton.
Wilder had 190 yards on the ground against the Eskimos, the fourth-best single-game rushing performance in Toronto history. He added another 141 yards on the ground against Montreal.
Durant was picked off three times on the night, with the third by Mitchell White in the end zone in the fourth quarter. White had an Argo debut to remember with two interceptions.
Montreal receivers drop the ball
His receivers did him no favours, repeatedly dropping balls. Durant completed 25 of 38 passes for 231 yards.
Montreal got a late consolation TD on a one-yard Samuel Giguere run with 1:23 remaining.
Toronto (6-7-0) improved to 5-2 at home and 5-2 within the East Division after posting its first back-to-back wins of the season. Montreal (3-10-0) fell to 0-6 on the road and 1-5 against East rivals.
Montreal, which has won just one of its last nine games, languishes in the East basement after losing the season series against Toronto. The Als arrived mired in a five-game losing streak that cost head coach Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe their jobs on Sept. 13.
Montreal was beaten 29-11 by Ottawa last week in GM Kavis Reed's first outing as interim coach.
While Toronto managed field goals on four of its first five possessions, Montreal punted five times in succession. That 12-0 lead quickly became 19-0 on Alden Darby's 75-yard interception return for a touchdown with four minutes remaining in the first half.
Another interception set up a 16-yard Ricky Ray pass to S.J. Green for a 26-0 lead in the dying seconds of the half.
Lirim Hajrullahu kicked four field goals for Toronto. Boris Bede had a field goal and a single for Montreal.
The Als stuck with Durant, who was pulled in favour of Drew Willy after missing his first six passes against Ottawa last week. And a bristling Argo defence made his night miserable.
1st quarter troubles continue
Montreal, which ran just four plays for minus-two yards in the first quarter of last weekend's loss, continued its penchant for poor starts with two two-and-outs to start the game.
Montreal trailed 6-0 before recording its first first down with a little more than three minutes left in the first quarter, on a pair of Durant shovel passes. A punt soon followed.
The Als were blanked in the first quarter for a sixth straight game.
Things didn't get better much to start the second although Durant seemed to shake off some of the rust later as the half wore on. The Darby pick-six ended the progress, however.
To add insult to injury, Durant was hammered to the ground late in the half by Cleyon Laing. The Argo big body did it again the next play, but was penalized for grabbing the facemask.
Durant had to make the tackle himself late in the half on a 56-yard interception return by White after receiver Ernest Jackson bobbled the ball. But two plays later, Ray found Green for the TD.
Montreal's Nik Lewis, who had just passed Terry Vaughn to move into fifth place on the CFL's all-time receiving yards list, had to helped off with what appeared to be a leg injury on White interception.
How bad was the Al's offence? The club's official Twitter account celebrated "Two consecutive first downs for the Alouettes!" in the second quarter.
The two teams split their earlier meetings this season, with an injured Ray sitting out the Aug. 11 game at Molson Stadium won 21-9 by Montreal. Toronto, with Ray back in the lineup, prevailed 38-6 at home on Aug. 19.