Argos' Allen is football's top passer
Toronto Argonauts quarterback Damon Allen became pro football's most prolific passer on Monday.
Allen, 43, surpassed Warren Moon's record of 70,553 career passing yards in Toronto's 40-6 victory over the hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Ironically, the record was broken on nothing more than a simple shovel pass. But fittingly, it went for a touchdown.
"It really doesn't matter to me," Allen said. "Sometimes you can't always have the glory pass as much as you want to. I think that pass was beautiful."
Allen shovelled a pass to wide receiver Arland Bruce III, who broke a pair of tackles and sped 29 yards into the end zone for the game's first TD and a 12-3 lead at 5:02 of the third quarter.
"I'm blessed to be part of history," Bruce said. "It's a beautiful thing."
"If it was just a catch and he got tackled and was in play, it still would have been 5-3, and my mindset would've been on the next play and what we would've done," Allen noted. "The fact that we extended the lead a bit and had a little room allowed me to relax and enjoy the moment."
Allen was immediately mobbed by his teammates and the game halted for a brief ceremony hosted by CFL commissioner Tom Wright, who presented the 22-year pro with the ball amid polite applause from the pro-Hamilton crowd of 28,891.
"Over the last 22 years, I've had the honour and the pleasure of playing in front of great fans across the CFL, including the Hamilton Tiger-Cat fans," Allen told CBC Sports. "I'm just looking forward to going back to Toronto and celebrating."
The Argonauts will honour Allen prior to Saturday's rematch at the Rogers Centre (CBC, 2 p.m. ET), with both Moon and Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, Damon's older brother, on hand for the festivities.
"All I know is that it was a pleasure to coach Damon at age 18-19, when he was just a kid," said Steve Mariucci, Allen's NCAA coach at Cal State Fullerton. "We're all so proud of him."
Toronto (6-5) has won four straight games to move within two points of the Montreal Alouettes (7-4) atop the CFL East Division.
Hamilton (2-10) remains mired in fourth place, having dropped four in a row.
Allen entered the annual Labour Day Classic needing 164 yards to eclipse the mark set by Moon, a Hall of Famer who starred in both the CFL and the NFL.
Allen quickly went to work, completing 11 of 16 pass attempts for 124 yards in the first half as the Argonauts led 5-3 at the break.
He finished 16-of-24 for 207 yards (70,596 for his career) before being replaced by backup pivot Michael Bishop in the waning minutes.
"I don't think I'll fully appreciate the things I've done until I actually stop playing," said Allen, who also connected with
David Azzi for his 5,000th career completion.
"I guess we can pad the numbers from here."
Allen, the CFL's most outstanding player last season, has suited up for the Eskimos, Ottawa Rough Riders, Tiger-Cats, Memphis Mad Dogs, British Columbia Lions and Argonauts.
More importantly, he has won four of five Grey Cups he has played in.
"He has put a lot of time and effort into learning to be a football player and to be a good quarterback — and it shows," said Tiger-Cats interim head coach Ron Lancaster, who coached Allen in 1993-94.
Boreham breaks through
Hamilton opened the scoring 2:12 into the first quarter on rookie Jamie Boreham's 36-yard field goal, his first at Ivor Wynne Stadium and the team's first points in four games.
After Pat Fleming conceded a single point, Noel Prefontaine put the Argonauts ahead to stay with a 25-yard field goal at 7:31 of the second.
After Allen's historic pass made it 12-3, he capped a six-play drive by hooking up with Jeff Johnson on an 18-yard TD pass to make it 19-6 with less than 12 minutes remaining.
It was Johnson's third TD of the season.
Byron Parker then intercepted a pass by Maas and returned it 87 yards for a TD at 5:27 of the fourth.
He later picked off a Kevin Eakin pass and ran it back 46 yards for a TD, his second on the night.
Bruce also tallied two majors, hauling in a 20-yard TD pass from Bishop as Toronto racked up 28 fourth-quarter points.
Hamilton committed eight turnovers in the rout.
Tiger-Cats quarterback Jason Maas endured a horrendous outing, passing for only 186 yards and getting intercepted four times.
Running back Corey Holmes was the lone bright spot for Hamilton as he gained 112 yards on 16 carries.
With files from the Canadian Press