Gosh, bye weeks are no fun when your team is off.
But now we’ll see if this last one benefits or hinders the Montreal Alouettes. They look to defend the Nest on the mountain once again, this time with a familiar foe coming to spoil the party. The Ottawa RedBlacks remember the smack in the face they took against Montreal at home and will be looking to spoil the party Friday night.
Both are on streaks, but only one of them is positive. The Alouettes are riding a three game winning streak while the RedBlacks have lost four straight. Montreal hasn’t won four straight games since the miracle run of 2014 where a 1-7 Alouettes team caught fire and won six straight to finish 9-9 and make their last appearance in the playoffs.
Ottawa is desperately trying to avoid a five game slide, something they haven’t seen since their inaugural season (coincidentally enough, in 2014). The RedBlacks will turn again to Dominique Davis at quarterback, after Jonathon Jennings failed to impress in his two starts where Ottawa lost 31-1 & 17-16 respectively.
Davis lost that game three weeks ago in Ottawa versus a Montreal team that came alive in the second half and put the boots to the RedBlacks on both sides of the field. If Davis is going to ruin Montreal’s fun and get the RedBlacks off their schneid, he will have to solve the mystery that has been the Alouettes’ defense.
The most jaw-dropping aspect of this Bob Slowik-designed defense has been how Montreal has systematically shut down the production of their adversaries as each week has progressed. From that opening day match where they gave up 608 yards of offense to only allowing Edmonton to notch 320 yards during the last home game, this defense has been incredible to watch on a weekly basis.
Add to that the deadly playmaking combo of Tommie Campbell and Greg Reid and Davis certainly has his work cut out for him. Montreal’s defense makes plays happen and causes plenty of turnovers. And even when Montreal is the one turning the ball over, this defense still shuts it down. They’ve only allowed SIX points off of turnovers this season. Suffice to say, this defense comes ready to play.
If Ottawa’s going to stop their slide versus Montreal, they better come ready to play too.
Also coming ready to go for the first time since week one is Alouettes QB Antonio Pipkin, who hasn’t played since an ankle injury felled him in the season opener.
But he will be on clipboard duty for the time being. Because this team belongs to Vernon Adams Jr. and barring an injury, that’s how it shall stay.
Adams has led Montreal to three straight victories in 2019 and is looking to become the first Alouettes QB to win four straight since Jonathan Crompton did so during that 2014 miracle run. Vernon’s proved to be not just a game manager but also a creative playmaker that will get the ball downfield both with his arm and his educated feet.
Adams has found his receivers numerous times and is able to spread the ball around. Both Quan Bray and Jake Wieneke, virtual unknowns until this year, have become stars this season because of Adams. Proved vets like Eugene Lewis and B.J. Cunningham have played lights-out football as a result of catching passes from the former Oregon Duck.
Add to that mix the powerful running of William Stanback (whose 100 yard game against Ottawa a couple weeks ago is still fresh in the memory banks) and you have an offense that has really made everyone league-wide sit up and take notice. Simply put, Montreal started this season with a ton of talent on paper. But now that talent is truly coming to fruition with some smart play-calling from their QB and their head coach.
Montreal will be playing Friday’s game at home, where they remain undefeated in 2019. After the past few seasons where this organization has tried to create a buzz inorganically and faceplanted in the process, Alouettes Nation has been coming alive during these games and slowly making Percival Molson Stadium a dangerous place to play once again.
So far, there’s been no gimmicks or any lame promotions from the Alouettes to try drawing people in. The team has been winning games and giving fans in the stands something to cheer about. THAT is what will put butts in the seats (or rather, on the benches). A lot of people are still wary, considering this team is still without an actual owner and seemingly the league is not able to find the right fit.
But that will come with time. Right now, this team is focused on putting an exciting product on the field and Friday’s game will be no exception. Both teams are coming in extremely motivated and I think we will see a hard-fought match on the mountain.
If you’re coming to see the game live, be sure to swing by the Les Gars Qui Vivent tailgate for some good eats and great fans. As always, it’s located in the adjacent park on the east side of the stadium. Just look for the blue tents and the silver trailer. You can also follow me on Twitter for game-day thoughts and analysis.
I’m not promising an Alouettes victory. But this team has come together in a fantastic way and you as a fan should be excited to see a competitive team in Montreal once again. I’m ready for this team to keep the good times going.
Enjoy the game, regardless of where you watch it.