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Maher lifts Ottawa over Toronto with late field goal

Jul 19, 2014 - 7:01 AM Ottawa, ON ( - Brett Maher drilled a 23-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining, and Jasper Simmons intercepted a Ricky Ray pass as time expired, as the Ottawa RedBlacks secured their first win in franchise history, 18-17 over the Toronto Argonauts at TD Place.

Maher finished the game 6-for-6 on field goal tries for Ottawa (1-2), which opened the season with losses at Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Ray threw two interceptions for Toronto (1-3) and connected on a touchdown pass, while kicker Swayze Waters went 3-for-3 on his field goal attempts.

Henry Burris completed 17-of-30 passing for 216 yards for Ottawa, but was sacked five times by the Toronto defense. In the third quarter, Burris, a 15- year CFL veteran, went over the 52,000 passing yard mark for his career. He added 22 rushing yards on four carries in the contest.

"Guys are happy with the win, but you can see we're so upset with the way we played in different situations," Burris said. "We had chances to score and we didn't make it happen. We have to be better offensively, especially with the talent that we have, but we were key in the key moment."

Kierrie Johnson led all receivers in the game with 91 yards for the RedBlacks. Johnson dropped an easy touchdown pass early in the first half for Ottawa, but made up for it with an enormous 43-yard grab down the sideline with time running down to set up the winning field goal.

Ray completed 21-of-37 passes for 298 yards and two interceptions. Darvin Adams led all Argonauts in receiving with four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Waters put the Argos up 3-0 on the first offensive drive of the game by connecting on a 36-yard field goal, but Maher answered the call with 4:20 left to play in the first quarter by splitting the uprights from 26 yards out.

Burris found Johnson streaking wide open down the middle of the field in the closing minutes of the first quarter, but the wide receiver allowed the ball to slip through his arms. Instead, Ottawa was forced to punt and the quarter ended in a 3-3 deadlock.

Maher connected on field goals of 30 and 22 yards, while Waters made one from 40 in the second quarter. Maher's 22-yard boot came with four seconds left in the half, which gave Ottawa a 9-7 advantage. It was the third time in as many games the RedBlacks led at the midway point.

Maher sent a 32-yard kick through the uprights late in the third for the only score of the quarter, giving Ottawa a 12-7 advantage.

Just a minute into the final stanza, Ray found Adams on a deep fade into the end zone from 20 yards out for the only major of the contest. The Argonauts went back ahead for the first time since midway through the second quarter, 14-12.

Maher put the hosts ahead with a 48-yard kick, but Waters moved Toronto in front, 17-15, with 1:33 to play by making a 47-yard try.

Toronto, which entered the game first in the league in total offense (446.0 yards per game) finished the night with 351 yards. The Argos gave up 34 points in a loss last week to Calgary.

"I thought our defense played great," Argos coach Scott Milanovich said. "They got after the quarterback, flew to the ball. You can see the confidence growing. That's why I'm so disappointed. You get an effort like that from your defense that's been struggling a little bit you have to make it stick."

Game Notes

This was the first meeting between the two teams, but taking into account regular season matchups between teams from these respective cities dating back to 1907 Toronto leads the series, 132-104-5 ...Ottawa's Chevon Walker led all rushers in the game with 60 yards on 12 carries, and had a 44-yard burst called back because of a holding call ... Tristan Okpalaugo recorded his third sack of the night on Burris midway through the third quarter.