MONTREAL — Johnny Manziel lingered outside the Montreal Alouettes locker-room after Sunday’s win, signing autographs for fans hanging over the stadium railing.
Manziel finally had something to celebrate — his first Canadian Football League victory.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback known as "Johnny Football" threw for one touchdown, while Will Stanback scored two to lead the Montreal Alouettes to a 40-10 rout of Toronto on Sunday, in a battle of beleaguered basement dwellers.
"I’m damn excited. I’ll stop you before you even get to it,," Manziel said, interrupting a reporter mid-question. "I’m damn excited. It was a good win for our team.
"But finally to get the first win out of the way, and to do it at the end of the season where I feel we’re building into something, this season into the next season, it’s what we wanted to do… No matter how cold, how bad the weather was, today was fun."
Manziel had lost his six previous games with Montreal.
George Johnson added a touchdown in the Als’ (4-13) final home game at Molson Percival Stadium, while defensive lineman John Bowman recovered a fumble for just his second touchdown in almost 13 seasons with Montreal.
Armanti Edwards scored the lone TD for the Argonauts (4-13), who remain winless on the road this season.
The Als put the game away with 5:13 to play when Ryan Brown forced a Franklin fumble in the end zone, which Bowman recovered for an easy touchdown.
"We could have played better. What saved us was the play Bowman made for the shortest touchdown run in the history of the CFL I think," Als coach Mike Sherman said. "We certainly didn’t think we had the game in hand because we didn’t do anything in the third quarter. But it was John’s touchdown, and (Brown’s sack). Great combination there. They really iced the game for us at that point."
Manziel completed seven of 14 pass attempts for 139 yards in the first half. Antonio Pipkin came in for the second, competing five of 10 pass attempts with 46 yards and one touchdown. Johnson caught four passes for 86 yards, while Stanback ran for 60 yards, and caught two passes for 52 yards.
Toronto QB James Franklin had 205 yards on 21-for-32 passing.
Manziel made headlines across North America when he signed with Hamilton prior to the start of training camp. But his stint north of the border had been mostly bad news until Sunday. Manziel saw zero regular-season action with the Tiger-Cats before being dealt to Montreal on July 22.
Manziel is under contract for one more season with the Als, who announced earlier in the day that they had extended the contracts of quarterbacks Pipkin, Vernon Adams Jr., and Jeff Mathews.
Asked if he has any doubts he’ll be back next season, Manziel said "None."
Can he see himself signing a long-term deal with the Als in the future?
"That’s kind of a what-if," he said. "I haven’t had that put on my plate or had that offered to me, it’s kind of a hypothetical."
Brown wasn’t ready to celebrate after his touchdown in what might have been his final CFL home game.
"I’ve got one more game and three more practices. That’s my focus right now," said Brown, who hasn’t said whether he’ll retire after this season.
"The thing is I’m not thinking about that yet. I just wanted to play good in front of these fans. They were behind us even with a very bad year at home."
The teams traded first-quarter field goals in front of a sparse crowd — it was announced at 17,583 but looked significantly less than that — that braved the dreary, drizzly 1 C weather. Then Manziel found Stanback with a 42-yard touchdown pass to end the first quarter, sending Montreal into the second with a 10-4 lead.
The Als extended their lead when they turned a blocked field goal attempt into a touchdown. Woody Baron got his hands on Drew Brown’s kick, and Bowman recovered the ball. Manziel threw a lateral to Eugene Lewis, who chucked a 61-yard touchdown pass to Johnson to put Montreal up 20-4 at 8:26 in the second.
A Boris Bede field goal sent Montreal into halftime up 23-4.
Franklin orchestrated a third-quarter touchdown drive that began with his 41-yard pass to Llevi Noel. Eight plays later, the Argos QB found Edwards with a seven-yard touchdown pass with 3:21 left in the quarter to cut Montreal’s lead to 26-10.
After Bowman’s fourth-quarter TD, Pipkin found Stanback for a 10-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in the game.
Bede booted four field goals — 13, 33, 26 and 21 yards — for Montreal. Brown connected on one field goal from 26 yards.
The win was a bit of revenge for the Als, who lost 26-22 to the defending Grey Cup champion Argonauts last week at BMO Field. Toronto’s victory there had ended a seven-game losing skid.
The Argos’ winless streak on the road includes a three-point loss in Montreal on Aug. 24.
Montreal wraps up its season next week in Hamilton, while the Argos are in Ottawa.