The fans at Percival Molson Stadium certainly made a lot of noise this past Friday for their Montreal Alouettes. Unfortunately the team itself made another kind of noise, crashing down to earth in ear-splitting fashion.
For the third time this season, the Alouettes followed a spectacular win with a sobering defeat, losing at home 32-18 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. This really has become a Jekyll & Hyde football team, as you just never know which Alouettes team will show up.
How do you go from looking so masterful versus the Ottawa RedBlacks to just laying a massive egg against a Winnipeg team that you spent the better part of three quarters keeping in check? I’m really starting to think that this team simply can’t help itself. As thought they don’t feel like they deserve success and play like it.
Kevin Glenn proved to be his perennial .500 self, going 29 of 38 and throwing 283 yards. While he did throw for one touchdown to Stefan Logan (A shovel pass, which still counts!), he also threw FOUR interceptions. His second was the most painful, as dreaded ballhawk Maurice Leggett read Glenn like a book and returned his pass 60 yards for Winnipeg’s first touchdown.
The first half of this game was a defensive chess match, as both teams capitalized on turnovers and kept things extremely close. Montreal’s defense was stellar in the first half, keeping Winnipeg’s scoring to the foot of Justin Medlock, who notched a total of six field goals against Montreal in this game.
But the play-calling of Alouettes OC Anthony Calvillo regressed again, as he made some really bizarre play selections. For example, why the hell would you have Duron Carter run a fly sweep? I’ve said on numerous occasions that this is the perfect role for Sam Giguere, who until recently had hands like feet. While it’s great that Giguere is finally living up to his potential as a receiver, this particular play was not the best use of one of the CFL’s top receivers in Duron.
Perhaps it was just to get Carter some action, as he was essentially neutralized by this Winnipeg defense. They brought all kind of heat on Montreal’s beleaguered O-Line and forced Kevin Glenn to make mistakes throughout this game. In addition to his four picks, he was sacked three times and fumbled once. As great as he played against Ottawa, that’s how poorly he played against Winnipeg.
Perhaps what was really remarkable was that despite this poor showing, Montreal was actually in this game for three quarters. Both teams had trouble even sniffing the red zone in the third quarter of this game. It looked this was going to be that close, defensive game that I predicted in the last blog post.
It helped that Bombers running back Andrew Harris was kept in check by this Alouette defense, even being forced to turn over the ball two times thanks to the great defensive play of both Gabe Knapton and Chip Cox. But counting out this National player is a huge mistake and in the fourth quarter, Harris helped Winnipeg put this game away for good.
After John Bowman took a pair of costly penalties to move the chains nearly 30 yards for Winnipeg, Harris took a handoff and danced around nearly all of Montreal’s defenders as he went 19 yards for the touchdown that essentially iced this game for the Bombers. With that score, Montreal’s fans had seen enough and start filing for the doors.
Give them credit though, all 19,000+ were in it and certainly cranked the noise level up, much to the delight of the admin people who came up with the idea of making this game the “Make Some Noise” night (as though every other game should be Library Night or something). Montreal’s defense certainly benefited from this and they kept this Alouettes team contending with arguably the league’s hottest team all night.
But in what has become an unfortunate microcosm of this season for Montreal, suspect play-calling and a porous offensive line led to yet another gut-wrenching defeat. A failed opportunity to catch up to the rest of this Eastern division, who is also looking quite human after all. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Montreal will have a chance to redeem themselves this coming Thursday as they play their quasi-Labour Day game versus the Ottawa RedBlacks. This will be the rubber match between these two teams. In both games so far, the road team has been victorious. Having just played them two weeks ago, Montreal will be very familiar with them.
However, Trevor Harris is back under centre for the RedBlacks and he had a field day with the Alouettes in Week Two. Ottawa is in the midst of a two game losing streak and a lot of their lustre has been lost. But road teams have been successful more often that not this season in the Canadian Football League, so perhaps this is what this RedBlacks team needs to get themselves back on track.
We’ll see just how this game shapes up this coming week. Be sure to tune into this week’s edition of the Alouettes FlightDeck, as Tim Capper and myself further discuss the Alouettes’ latest loss and preview this Thursday’s tilt.
It was around this time last year that wholesale changes were made with Montreal’s coaching staff. Could we see a repeat of that should Montreal falter against the RedBlacks? Or will a win this Thursday be enough yet again to slightly chill the hot seat that Jim Popp’s staff sits upon?
This team’s ownership has been forced to put up with a lot of shenanigans in recent years and throwing money at the problem hasn’t done much to fix it. They can’t be enjoying this current malaise any more than what the fans are. Winning does cure all; but that means that you have to, y’know, WIN.
As always, on to the next one.