The '91 Toronto Argonauts, still reeling from their opening week loss to the '03 Edmonton Eskimos, had to stay in the self-proclaimed “City of Champions” for week 2. They had a much bigger task in taking on one of the greatest teams to ever grace a Canadian field in the 1981 Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. A rarity occurred during the game as Hank Ilesic, the punter for both the '91 Argos, and the '81 Eskies, had to use a golf cart around the track to get to both benches during the course of the game, as well as having to change on either sideline.
The first quarter was really a defensive showcase. Both secondaries were on point in preventing Warren Moon and Matt Dunigan showing their class in the early going. The command centre was also on full display as they took a big gain away from the Scullers within 3 minutes of the kickoff. At the 6 minute mark, Lance Chomyc attempted a 46 yard field goal that hit the upright. Within the final minute, Chomyc would be redeemed by connecting with 45 yard field goal to give the Boatmen a 3-0 lead to end the first.
The second quarter opened things up a little more. Warren Moon settled in as he connected with Waddell Smith at the 11 minute mark for a huge 60 yard strike to give the Eskies a 7-3 lead. The Argos went 2 and out, but when Edmonton took possession, on the third play of their drive, Don Berry intercepted a pass around the midfield area. Matt Dunigan took advantage and found Darrell K. Smith in the endzone with 5 minutes to go in the half to give the Argos a 10-7 lead. Lance Chomyc would kick a 30 yard field goal, and would have one more from 56 yards dong the upright before the half was done. Argos go into the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
Hugh Campbell rallied the troops during halftime, and it was evident. As the Argos opened the half, the offence sputtered. Larry Highbaugh would intercept a Matt Dunigan pass to give the Eskimos possession 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter. Warren Moon connected with Waddell Smith again with a 34 yard catch to get his second touchdown of the game, and to put the Double-E in front by 1, 14-13. Moon would find Smith again 2 minutes later with a massive 65 yard throw for his third Touchdown of the game. That put them up 21-13. Adam Rita looked dismayed with the performance of his offence after 3 consecutive 2 and outs. Dave Cutler put a 43 yard field goal away to make it 24-13 with 7:20 remaining. With 3 minutes to go in the quarter, both teams stalemating with 2 and outs, Warren Moon tried to find Waddell Smith again, this time, he found Ed Berry. His second interception of the game went 61 yards the other way before being stopped at the Edmonton 8 yard line. Matt Dunigan was nice and cool in the red zone as he found Paul Masotti for the touchdown. The score 24-20 in favour of the Esks as the 4th quarter began.
Edmonton started the 4th with the ball, 2 minutes in, Dave Cutler would attempt a field goal, however a bad snap forced Cutler to make a messy punt instead. Toronto would take possession at their own 18 yard line. Matt Dunigan would find Jeff Boyd with a huge 46 yard throw for a first down. Kevin Smellie would run it inside for a first as well. Dunigan would make Darrell K. Smith his favourite target in the drive connecting with him twice for good gains. The Boatmen pulling together made it to the Edmonton 18. Dunigan would find DK Smith for the Touchdown capping off a 7 play 92 yard drive. Argos take the lead 27-24 with 9:20 to go.
With 2 minutes to go, Edmonton took possession at their own 46. With a field goal separating the two, they just had to get within Cutler's range to send it to OT. Warren Moon targeted Tommy Scott for a first down at the Toronto 51. With 1:20 to go, Warren Moon dropped back to pass, but Dennis Meyer, the Argos Defensive Coordinator, sent the corners on a blitz, and Reggie Pleasant found a hole in the line. He got to Moon for a massive 13 yard sack! All or nothing for the next play, 3rd and 23. Moon connected with Marco Cyncar, but only got 9 yards, and turned it over on downs. Victory formation, and the '91 Argos claw back to defeat the '81 Eskimos 27-24.
Waddell Smith torched the Argos secondary with 6 catches, 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. Warren Moon ended the day going 13 for 26, 301 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was picked off 3 times during the game. On the opposite side, Jeff Boyd had a great day as well, 5 catches, 121 yards. Darrell K Smith had 2 touchdowns on his name, with 5 catches for 61 yards. Matt Dunigan went 17 for 27, 309 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Next week, the '81 Eskimos will have to figure out which locker room to go to as the 2003 Eskimos will be the hosts for the first McCauley Bowl of the season. The '91 Argos on the other hand, return to YYZ and head to Skydome for their Home Opener against the 2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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Click here for Game Stats