There was some confusion when Chad Kelly entered the game for the Toronto Argonauts at quarterback late in the fourth quarter of the 109th Grey Cup.
It turns out that starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson suffered a dislocated thumb which forced him to leave the game, head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told reporters after the Argonauts beat the Blue Bombers 24-23 to capture the title.
Bethel-Thompson was 15-for-28 for 203 yards before leaving the game. Kelly finished with 43 yards passing but added a game-saving play with a 20-yard scramble to get the Argonauts into scoring position which set the stage for A.J. Ouellette’s game-winning touchdown run.
Despite not being able to be in the game and help Toronto close out the win, Bethel-Thompson was proud of how his team responded to the adversity throughout the game.
“We got crap for winning close games throughout the year, we won 11 of them,” Bethel-Thompson explained to Sportsnet’s Arash Madani. “You see that facemask penalty (late in the game) we think the game is over. A lot of teams crumble right there and if we hadn’t built that backbone throughout the year, there would’ve been no bounce back. They reloaded in two seconds and they finished the game.”
Kelly earned the backup job in Toronto after veteran Antonio Pipkin was released during training camp. The 28-year-old signed with the Argonauts during the off-season, making only one start in the regular season finale where he threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Montreal Alouettes.
In the East final, Kelly threw a 46-yard touchdown pass on a trick play where the backup lined up for a quarterback sneak but dropped back and found receiver DaVaris Daniels wide-open for an easy score.