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Record-tying Ray fuels Argos' attack

Completes 17 straight while sending Esks to dismal 1-6

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Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray was smokin' hot Sunday night, completing 17 straight passes and throwing for three touchdowns.

NATHAN DENETTE / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray was smokin' hot Sunday night, completing 17 straight passes and throwing for three touchdowns.

TORONTO -- Another near-perfect performance from Ricky Ray ensured the Toronto Argonauts' impressive start to the CFL season stayed on course.

The veteran quarterback threw three touchdowns and tied a club record for consecutive completions Sunday as the red-hot Argonauts won their fourth straight, 36-33 over the Edmonton Eskimos.

Ray, who finished the night 30-of-35 for 413 yards, including TD passes to Jason Barnes, John Chiles and Chad Owens against his former team, says his comfort level is a big reason the numbers have been so staggering.

"It feels like you're just seeing everything and trusting everything," said Ray, who has thrown for 851 yards and eight touchdowns in Toronto's last three victories. "There's no second guessing or double clutching or worrying about anything. You're just seeing it and throwing it. That's a good feeling."

Ray's 17 straight completions in the first half tied the Argonauts' club record set by Mike Rae in 1975 in a game against the Montreal Alouettes.

"When you look at each play individually you feel like you should be able to complete every one," Ray added. "We're just in a good stretch right now. There's going to be some games where I'm not going to complete this many passes."

Ray came over to Toronto in a lopsided trade with Edmonton prior to last season and was instrumental in helping the Argonauts with the 100th Grey Cup on home turf at Rogers Centre.

"I've always thought Ricky was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league," Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said. "He's in a system that fits him now with playmakers at receiver and at tailback and now he's a year into it.

"At this point he's just hot. He's always going to be good but at this point he's just red-hot and things are taking off for him."

Despite the victory, Milanovich was not happy with his team's performance in the fourth quarter as the Eskimos cut the Toronto lead late.

"Those guys are not satisfied and clearly we are not happy but I'll never apologize for a win," he said. "They played well. We give them credit but we had a chance to put that thing away and we didn't do it."

Backup quarterback Zach Collaros also threw a TD for Toronto (5-2), which is on its longest winning streak since 2007 and leads the East Division by four points over the second place Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Eskimos (1-6), meanwhile, sit last in the West and have lost their last three games by a combined nine points.

"The loss is very disappointing. Devastating actually," Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed said. "It's a lot about details. A lot of things we're not doing well ... I'm not doing well.

"I have to look at myself in the mirror as to how things have turned out."

Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly was 35-of-46 for 511 yards and three touchdowns as the Eskimos lost their fifth consecutive game.

"People can talk about the numbers but they should have been higher," Reilly said. "I missed a couple of throws. Drives stalled. We didn't play the entire four quarters."

Grant Shaw added four field goals for Edmonton, which was without injured star linebacker and reigning CFL defensive player of the year J.C. Sherritt (thumb surgery).

"If I throw for 100 yards and win I'm happy," Reilly said. "It doesn't matter how much it is if we lose."

Notes: Owens finished with nine catches for 102 yards...Edmonton won both regular-season meetings between the teams last season. The Argos beat them in the East semifinal.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2013 C2

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