Sean Thomas-Erlington’s 23-yard touchdown run at 11:50 of the fourth quarter rallied the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a wild 34-27 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night.
Erlington capped a 77-yard, five-play drive with his TD. Seth Small made it a 10-point game with a 46-yard field goal at 13:20.
Toronto rounded out the scoring with Boris Bede’s 18-yard field goal on the game’s final play in case points scored figure in the season tiebreaker between the two teams.
Hamilton (3-6) captured the victory after dropping a 34-20 decision to Toronto at BMO Field last weekend. The Ticats moved into a tie for second in the East Division with the Montreal Alouettes (3-6), with both teams two points behind the front-running Argos (4-4).
The Ticats got an inspirational performance from starter Matt Shiltz. Rookie Jamie Newman opened the second half at quarterback for Shiltz (lower-body injury) but Shiltz returned to the game in the fourth.
And Shiltz promptly hit Tim White on a 60-yard TD pass at 4:45 to make it 24-24. It came after Lawrence Woods III returned a punt 87 yards for a TD at 2:31, but it was called back for holding on the play, to the dismay of the Tim Hortons Field gathering of 23,018.
Shiltz was starting for Hamilton with incumbent Dane Evans (shoulder) on the one-game injured list. Shiltz finished 14-of-19 passing for 176 yards with a TD and an interception while rushing four times for 15 yards.
Newman was two-for-two passing for two yards but added 55 yards rushing and a TD on seven carries.
Toronto starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed 24-of-37 passes for 287 yards and a TD.
Woods was outstanding for Hamilton with 222 return yards (153 on six punts, 69 yards on three kickoffs).
Toronto lost receiver Cam Phillips to injury in the pre-game warmup. Veteran running back Andrew Harris had his shoulder pads off on the Argos’ sideline in the second quarter.
Toronto hosts the Calgary Stampeders next weekend before Hamilton returns to BMO Field on Aug. 26. The Argos and Ticats will square off in their final regular-season encounter Sept. 5 in the annual Labour Day showdown at Tim Hortons Field.
Hamilton is in Montreal next weekend before its final two regular-season meetings with Toronto.
Chad Kelly and DaVaris Daniels scored Toronto’s touchdowns. Bede booted four field goals and two converts while John Haggerty added a single.
Rookie Kiondre Smith — the son of former CFL star Adrion (Peewee) Smith — had a two-point convert for Hamilton. Small booted four field goals and a convert.
Bede’s 23-yard field goal at 10:21 gave Toronto a 24-17 advantage. Small’s 37-yard field goal at 5:55 pulled Hamilton to within 21-17.
Bethel-Thompson staked Toronto to a 21-14 halftime lead with a six-yard TD strike to Daniels at 14:47 of the second, capping a wild and eventful end to the quarter. It appeared the Argos would take a 17-14 lead on Bede’s 19-yard field goal, but the visitors received a first down at the Ticats’ six-yard line after linebacker Kameron Kelly was flagged for pyramiding — a play where a defensive player is lifted up by teammates in an effort to block a kick.
Daniels’ TD capped a 46-yard, seven-play drive that took 56 seconds. Over that span, Hamilton received two misconduct penalties, a pass interference call and roughing the passer — plus the pyramiding — while Toronto received a misconduct flag and facemask penalty.
Four penalties came on Toronto’s first play from the Hamilton 46-yard line. The Argos won a challenge for pass interference on the Ticats’ Ciante Evans, who registered the interception while defending against receiver Brandon Banks. All three misconduct calls also came following the turnover.
Bede made it 14-14 with a 23-yard field goal at 10:38, capping a smart six-play, 80-yard march.
Hamilton went ahead 14-11 on Newman’s two-yard TD run at 4:46 before Shiltz found Smith for the two-point convert. Newman scored a play after a 37-yard pass-interference call on Toronto’s DaShaun Amos.
Small’s 43-yard field goal 20 seconds into the quarter pulled Hamilton to within 8-6. But Bede countered with a 47-yard boot at 2:15.
Kelly’s one-yard run — Toronto’s first rushing TD this year — put the Argos ahead 8-3 at 12:28 of the first. It was set up by defensive lineman Robbie Smith’s 31-yard interception return to the Hamilton four-yard line.
Haggerty booted a 48-yard punt single at 10:59.
Small opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal at 8:43, which was set up by Woods’ 47-yard punt return. The ensuing facemask penalty on Haggerty put the Ticats at the Argos’ 16-yard line.