All this week, the big question surrounding Alouettes Nation was whether last Friday’s huge win was a sign of things to come or was it just the good fortune of playing a bad team? I hate to say it but based on last’s night performance, it may have been the latter.
The Montreal Alouettes went back to being their 2016 selves and added another loss to the ledger, being soundly defeated by the BC Lions 38-18. As has been the case all season, this Alouettes team has been snake-bitten by an anemic offense, an undisciplined defense and a kicker who at this point couldn’t hit water even if he fell out of a boat. The question is, what sort of antidote is required to stop this venom from shutting down this team’s lifeblood?
No matter what the antidote is, the first place you’d apply it is on the offensive line of the Alouettes, which has certainly lived up to its name in recent weeks. I think we have gone far past mere growing pains with these guys; they have just been flat out terrible. Kevin Glenn was sacked six times yesterday. A far cry from the ZERO he had last Friday.
At this rate, Montreal will need to stop cutting quarterbacks; I doubt Glenn’s 37 year old body can handle too many more of these games. Having an all-Canadian line is a thing of beauty, but not when it resembles a hunk of Swiss cheese with all these holes in it. Thankfully, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain has been practicing with the scout team in practice and his eventual return will be a tremendous help for this woeful line.
Despite all that, it should be noted that Montreal played rather well in the first half of this game, despite being down by nine at halftime. After Kevin Glenn found B.J. Cunningham for a 15 yard touchdown and eventually scampering to the end zone to score his own touchdown, all remaining points in the game came at the feet of the much maligned Boris Bede, whose sophomore jinx has not wavered one bit.
Missing another field goal has not favoured the Frenchman one bit with the fans of this team, who are begging the head coach/general manager to send the former Rouge et Or star packing. As tempting as it would be to throw the baby out with the bath water, I do think Bede still has a lot to offer this team. But he’s clearly not in a good head space and some time on the bench would like do him more good than anything else.
After the game, Jim Popp had stated that in all likelihood, another kicker will be playing next week in Edmonton. I have it on good authority that Drew Basil, who was one of the three kickers the Alouettes brought in for a tryout last week, was asked to stick around the Montreal area and stay ready.
He’s got a huge leg and really impressed at training camp last season. It should not surprise anyone to possibly see the former Ohio State Buckeye in the lineup next week in order to stem the bleeding that has been happening in Montreal’s kicking game.
The Lions, on the other hand, looked like the team that owned Hamilton & Saskatchewan and played very strongly against Calgary earlier this season. If there was any doubts about the development of their young QB Jonathan Jennings, they were all laid to waste last night at Percival Molson Stadium. Going 27 for 34 and throwing for over 300 yards, Jennings was cool, calm and collected.
Not even throwing an early INT to Bear Woods rattled the youngster as he gathered himself quickly and eventually found Emmanuel Arceneaux in the end zone. He also handed off to the returning Jeremiah Johnson for a rushing TD and let kicker Richie Leone boot the ball through the uprights on five separate occasions.
He also got scoring help from his defense when Als receiver Corbin Louks fumbled a Kevin Glenn reception, allowing Lions DB Loucheiz Purifoy to scoop up the errant ball and rumble 47 yards for the major. After being overlooked in the Alouettes offense for weeks, this was Louks’ chance to really live up to the hype from training camp.
Instead, it was his unfortunate inability to handle the pass that sealed this game for the Lions, giving BC its fourth win on the year and keeping Montreal firmly in the Eastern division basement.
Perhaps the thing that did the Alouettes in more than Boris Bede’s inability to kick a football or the mostly punchless offense was the sheer lack of discipline. Penalties were the story of the game for Montreal, especially on defense. This too is hardly new, as the past few losses have been rife with tossed linen.
Once again, the fault of this has to lay at the feet of the coaches. No, they aren’t causing the players to act out improperly, but there certainly doing very little to discourage this sort of behaviour. I don’t expect these guys to act like saints on the football field, but you know that the first few games will involve the refs being extra vigilant on such matters.
Also, the collective heart of the crowd sank when our head coach threw his yellow challenge flag. Once again, it’s looking more and more like this ship has no rudder and now is taking on water. Honestly, at what point does this team say enough is enough with the head coaching situation?
It’s gut-wrenching to see guys go out and give this team their all with little to show for it. This will all come to a head, but when will this team hit rock bottom? What will it take for a monumental shift to happen within this team? And when it happens, will it already be too late?
The game against Saskatchewan has clearly given this team a lot of false hope, as they are still not ready to strike fear in the heart of any opponent just yet. The talent is there, there just has to be more stability and accountability. The very things that this coaching staff had promised at the end of last season and the fans who bought in must surely be looking for the receipt in order to return this defective product to the store.
Montreal now hits the road for a pair of games, starting next week in Edmonton. Perhaps some time away from home will do some good for this team. They’ve played 4 of their last 5 at home and only have a single win to show for it. And with road teams playing really well in 2016, maybe a business trip out West is just what this team needs to get back on track.
I’ll be back next week to discuss the game versus the Eskimos. In the meantime, the Alouettes will be practicing at Stade Hebert starting Sunday to prepare for these road outings. For more info, click here.
As always, follow along on Twitter for more thoughts/info and give the Alouettes Flightdeck podcast a download. It’s not easy to keep the faith, Alouettes Nation. But no one on this team is giving up on this season and neither should you. These birds will soar once again.