The Toronto Argonauts looked like they had a plane to catch.
Actually, they did have a plane to catch.
The Argos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers were tied 32-32 with 1:10 left in yesterday's CFL contest at Canad Inns Stadium. Toronto was starting on its own 35-yard line and facing a 7:40 p.m. departure time at Winnipeg International Airport.
Enter the amazing Damon Allen.
The Argos 42-year-old quarterback hit fullback Sean Millington with a 23-yard pass and then found receiver Arland Bruce III on a 46-yard toss to the Bombers six-yard line.
After Allen took a sack for better field position, Toronto placekicker Noel Prefontaine booted a 20-yard field goal on the last play of the game to give the Argos the 35-32 victory at 6:10 p.m.
"We joked about that beforehand: We can't go into overtime," Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons said with a laugh afterwards.
Besides getting to the airport on time, Toronto (9-6) also moved back into a tie for the East Division lead with the Montreal Alouettes, who beat the B.C. Lions earlier yesterday afternoon.
The Bombers, who had been eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, fell to 5-11 in front of an announced crowd of 22,323. They meet the Lions in Vancouver on Saturday night.
Allen completed 26 of 39 passes yesterday for a season-high 484 yards and two touchdowns. He threw the ball on 24 of Toronto's 30 offensive plays in the second half after running back John Avery went down with a hamstring injury, yet he still found a way to dominate the woeful Winnipeg defence.
Clemons had a feeling Allen would do something special on the final drive.
"He had that little bit of a smile," Clemons said. "When he gets that, he's in a little bit of a zone."
It looked like the Bombers were toast with 4:19 remaining when Allen scored on a one-yard plunge to put the Argos up 32-22.
However, Darnell McDonald made a diving, five-yard touchdown grab -- his first as a Bomber -- with 2:21 to go, and defensive back Stanford Samuels forced Argos receiver Andre Talbot to lose a fumble at the Argo 44 with a thunderous hit three plays later.
The Bombers were facing second-and-five from the Argo 24 when quarterback Kevin Glenn took a critical time-count penalty, which meant loss of down since it happened after the three-minute warning.
"Just trying to change the play," Glenn said with a shrug. "We had a play called, and they came up in a certain defence to try to check it. We just didn't get it off in time. It's one of those things.
"If we would've run the play that we had called, we might've still been kicking the field goal."
Troy Westwood booted a 31-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:10 left, but Allen squished Winnipeg's overtime hopes on the ensuing drive.
The loss ruined another stellar outing by Bombers running back and CFL rushing leader Charles Roberts, who carried the ball 24 times for 176 yards and scored on a one-yard touchdown run.
Glenn, who got knocked silly midway through the fourth but missed only one play, completed 16 of 27 attempts for just 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Bombers, who led 11-0 in the first quarter but trailed 15-14 at the half.
Keith Stokes had a 19-yard touchdown catch, Westwood added field goals from 47 and 15 yards, and Jon Ryan, who had a punt blocked for the fifth time this season, boomed 74- and 72-yard singles.
For the Argos, Avery had a 25-yard touchdown catch, while Andre Talbot caught an 11-yard score. Prefontaine also had field goals of 17, 22 and 15 yards, and the Bombers conceded a safety instead of punting into the stiff south wind.