One of the stranger endings in recent memory in the Canadian Football League (which is saying something, considering the CFL tradition of zany endings) happened Thursday in the Montreal Alouettes-Toronto Argonauts game. The Argonauts led 19-9 heading into the fourth quarter, but only added a single point there (on a missed Boris Bede field goal: returner Chandler Worthy tried to take it out of the end zone, but was tackled by Declan Cross for the rouge), while the Alouettes got a field goal and a touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion attempt), and got the ball back on their own 31 down 20-18 with 2:43 left.
Montreal quarterback Trevor Harris then led an impressive drive all the way to the Toronto 13 with a minute left, converting a third-and-10 and two different second-and-long situations along the way. And the Alouettes then let the clock tick down to 18 seconds before taking a time out to set up a 21-yard field goal attempt from David Côté. But, while Côté had made all four of his previous field goal attempts in this game, he pulled this one hard left, producing just a rouge and giving the Argos the 20-19 win:
David Cote MISSES his 1st field goal of the night from 21 yards away in the dying seconds of the 4th quarter.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 17, 2022
Here’s how the Toronto sideline reacted:
who doesn't love a good thriller 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/fESd6sDkFD
— Toronto Argonauts (@TorontoArgos) June 17, 2022
That’s an unfortunate miss for Côté, especially considering when it happened. In most games, you’d definitely take a four-for-five field goal night from your kicker, especially if your offence only scored one touchdown. Four for five is 80 per cent, not far off Côté’s 82.1 per cent field goal rate last year (when he made 39 field goals, third-most in the CFL), and if his lone miss on the night had come in the first couple of quarters, it barely would have been discussed afterwards. And if Montreal had opted to kick the convert after their touchdown instead of going for two, and if Côté had made that, even this miss would have sent the game to overtime thanks to the single.
But with this miss coming in this particular final-seconds situation, and from so close, this obviously hurt. And it’s the second close loss for the Alouettes through two weeks of the season. Last week, they had a shot to beat the Calgary Stampeders, but couldn’t haul in the game-ending Hail Mary, falling 30-27. (And that was in a game where they lost 2021 CFL rushing leader William Stanback to a fractured ankle that required surgery.) And they would have liked this win even more than usual, as owner Gary Stern (a Toronto native) was in attendance, and guaranteed a win earlier in the week, saying “We are going to kill Toronto on Thursday.” A one-point win isn’t necessarily “kill,” but they would have had that win if not for this field goal miss.
The 25-year-old Côté, a national player that Montreal chose in the fifth round of last year’s draft following his college career with the Laval Rouge et Or, has done fine overall in the CFL to date. That 82.1 per cent accuracy mark last year was seventh in the league (sixth amongst kickers with more than three games played), which is decent, especially for a fifth-round national rookie. But this was certainly a rough moment for him. (On the bright side, though, the field goal miss may take some of the focus off the brewing quarterback controversy.)