They say revenge is a dish best served cold. My guess is that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wanted to make sure it stayed cold and summoned a bunch of snow in order to do it.
After they blew a 24 point lead a few weeks ago to these Montreal Alouettes, they weren’t about to let them pull a similar stunt at IG Field. The Alouettes punched their playoff ticket a week ago and probably felt like they could beat anyone no matter the circumstances. But midnight finally came for Cinderella and it cost the Alouettes their chance at first place in the Eastern Division.
Losing 35-24 in Winnipeg, the Alouettes now know their playoff fate. They will host their playoff game on November 10th versus a crossover team from the West. That will most likely be the Edmonton Eskimos, who qualified for the Grey Cup playoffs with their win Saturday over the BC Lions.
Simply put, the Alouettes’ loss can be summed up in a simple matter of not paying attention to details. They allowed Winnipeg to dictate the pace of the game and Alouettes QB Vernon Adams Jr. made some poor decisions that ultimately sealed their fate.
Adams had his poorest showing as a starting quarterback despite going 19 of 32 with 266 passing yards. He threw for a pair of touchdowns but it was his FOUR interceptions that stood out in a forgettable day for the Pasadena native. One of those INTs turned into a touchdown for the Bombers as Nick Taylor stepped in front of a pass to Quan Bray and ran it back for six.
Adams’ other interceptions can be summed up as either bad luck or simply trying too hard to make the highlight reel play. The Alouettes and Adams have made their bones this season on being almost always able to make the impossible comeback. And despite the incessant warblings of TSN announcer Rod Black referencing the Miracle on the Mountain ad nauseum, the Bombers weren’t going to be denied this past Saturday.
Leave it to running back Andrew Harris to be inspired enough to beat these Alouettes almost by himself. The Winnipeg native posted a career-best 166 yards on 24 carries, one of them being the opening score of the football game. After missing a pair of games due to a suspension and the ensuing smack talk from Alouettes defender John Bowman, Harris was on a mission to literally run all over Montreal. And he did.
Bombers QB Chris Streveler did just enough to keep Montreal at bay, both in the air and on the ground. He went 15 for 25 with 174 yards passing and one touchdown pass to Drew Wolitarsky. Streveler threw a pair of interceptions, but the Alouettes failed to capitalize on these opportunities.
All this to say that Winnipeg played like a team that wanted to win and establish their playoff performance while Montreal was simply content just to be in the conversation. The Alouettes tend to come alive in the second half of football games, but this past Saturday it’s where they fell apart.
But you don’t come here to The ALSternative for negative talk, do you. You must be able to find some positive in this, right Cliffy?
Well dear readers, I am reminded of another instance like what we saw this past Saturday. Interestingly enough, it involved the Montreal Alouettes playing a game in Winnipeg and the result wasn’t so great.
Back in October 2009, I remember going to Winnipeg to watch the Montreal Alouettes play a game against the Blue Bombers. It was not a great game. The Alouettes lost 41-24 and it was just a poor effort all around. The Alouettes had already secured their playoff berth and simply weren’t inspired to play their best football. If anything, it felt like they were just there because they were scheduled to be and were doing all they could to not get hurt in the process.
It was unfortunate for this fan to bear witness to, but I seem to recall the end of the season working out just fine for the Montreal Alouettes. In fact, I see a lot of parallels to that team in 2009 and the team that currently plays in 2019. To wit:
-The Alouettes swept the Calgary Stampeders in 2009; The Alouettes swept the Calgary Stampeders in 2019.
-The Alouettes lost road games in Edmonton, BC and Winnipeg in 2009: The Alouettes lost road games in Edmonton, BC and Winnipeg in 2019.
-The Alouettes beat the Toronto Argonauts in their lone road game against them in 2009; The Alouettes beat the Toronto Argonauts in their lone road game against them in 2019.
-The Alouettes beat the BC Lions at Percival Molson Stadium in a tightly played game in 2009; The Alouettes beat the BC Lions at Percival Molson Stadium in a tightly played game in 2019.
-The Grey Cup was played in Calgary in 2009; The Grey Cup will be played in Calgary in 2019.
Of course, these are all coincidences. But what if the stars were truly aligning for the Montreal Alouettes? Could this recent loss to Winnipeg be the spark that this Alouettes team needs in order to fulfill a destiny that seemed like a pipe dream when this season started?
Only time will tell on that one. But despite this recent loss, Alouettes Nation should be excited for what is to come. This is a good team that simply had a bad day at the office this past Saturday. They will learn from this and be better for the experience.
Now the Alouettes return home to play a pair of games that will serve no purpose other than preparing for the playoff run. The first of those two home games feature the Toronto Argonauts, a team that is in disarray and are already looking ahead to the 2020 CFL season. But they will certainly relish the opportunity to take advantage of an Alouettes team that may be sleeping on them.
Be sure to tune into the Alouettes FlightDeck podcast for more thoughts and analysis of your Montreal Alouettes. Both Tim Capper and myself will take a longer look at this recent game as well as look ahead to what else October will bring for the Birds of Prey. You can find the show by clicking here of search the keywords Alouettes FlightDeck on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher and Spotify.
The next time the Alouettes face a team from the West, it will be a major deal. But it will be in their house and they don’t plan on losing any more games at home. The nest will be defended and you can bank on that.
Already, it’s on to the next one. Thanks for reading, as always.
GO ALS GO!!!