Sadly, these turkeys couldn’t be pardoned despite it being Thanksgiving.
For the second year in a row, the faint playoff hopes of the Montreal Alouettes were snuffed in front of their fans during the annual Thanksgiving Monday home game. And once again, it was a team from Alberta putting the bullet in between their eyes.
For the first time in four years, the Calgary Stampeders won a football game at Percival Molson Stadium by narrowly beating the Als 12-6. This match was heralded as a defensive battle. That’s a very kind statement to give to a pair of teams that had a difficult time putting points on the board.
This Alouettes defense, which looked bland and listless one week ago versus Saskatchewan, was absolutely brilliant against a Stampeders team that was likely doing all it could to escape La Belle Province without incurring more injuries. Not only did they keep Calgary scoreless for the first THREE quarters, they made Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell‘s afternoon a rough one, sacking and picking him off three times.
But they couldn’t keep the Stamps out of the end zone forever as Terry Williams was able to waltz in for a 6 yard touchdown score that finally gave Calgary the lead for good. Give the lead, you say? Yes, the Alouettes actually led this game for the first three quarters thanks to a pair of Boris Bede field goals.
But as I have stated numerous times regarding many of their opponents, these Alouettes are not good enough to win with field goals alone. After scoring a season-high 29 points last week, this team couldn’t find the end zone with Google Maps against a Stampeders team that usually finds new and exciting ways to blow it in Montreal.
After his two touchdown performance last week, Alouettes QB Johnny Manziel was unable to replicate that same Johnny Football magic. Instead, we got the Manziel that has come to define his enigmatic football career; flashes of brilliance but unable to get the job done.
Remarkably, Manziel actually got the better of Bo Levi on the stats sheet, going 18/29 with 250 yards passing and one INT compared to Mitchell’s 20/34 and 199 yards passing with 3 INTs. Johnny’s major highlight was a 52 yard bomb to Eugene Lewis to get out of the shadows of his own goal posts. But even that drive turned into nothing, as did many this past Monday.
While I will state that the usual excuses from the Johnny Football apologists still apply here (Bad O-Line, no rhythm with the receivers, etc etc), the fact remains that the Johnny Manziel that played last week surely would have won this game against Calgary. After almost a month of autonomy at the quarterback position, this is Manziel’s team simply by attrition.
If Antonio Pipkin or Vernon Adams Jr turned in such hot and cold performances, they’d be benched without a second thought. But this is what you have to expect when you get into bed with the idea of employing a quarterback like Manziel; with his ulterior motive that likely doesn’t involve your team’s long-term future.
But I’m not here to blame Manziel outright for the loss and subsequent elimination from the Grey Cup playoffs; this was a team effort through and through. But my goodness, imagine if this team had a real coaching staff that could inspire confidence?
With the loss and the indisputable truth that Alouettes general manager Kavis Reed now sports a record of 6-27 as the architect of this team, does the Wetenhall family STILL think that their football decisions are the best ones? Was hiring Reed and allowing him free reign with all personnel choices (or at least be the face behind those choices) the right call to make?
Numbers don’t lie, especially 6-27. Even if the Alouettes manage to beat the hapless Toronto Argonauts featuring the castoffs that once called Montreal home, nothing will change in the grand scheme of things. If the Wetenhall family wanted to salt the earth that once blossomed championship football in order to placate their ego, mission accomplished.
Three games remain of this never-ending nightmare for Alouettes Nation. What should have been a year to rebuild was instead spent chasing one’s own tail on a weekly basis, only occasionally stumbling into the winner’s circle. But it’s all over now and some real work needs to be done to restore this Alouettes team back to glory.
Suffice to say, there’s plenty of soul-searching to be done. Welcome to Year Four of no playoff games. It’s not exactly a great feeling.
Thanks for reading.