I don’t know what side of whose bed he woke up on this past Friday, but oh my goodness was it excellent to see the REAL Vernon Adams back behind centre for the Montreal Alouettes.
After a very pedestrian effort versus the Hamilton Tigers-Cats the week before, the doubters and critics were starting to circle overhead, wondering if the enigmatic QB really was who he said he was. Adams took a lot of the criticism to heart and vowed to be better for his teammates, his fans and his city.
This past Friday, “Big Play VA” was back in a big, big way.
Going 18/23 with 288 yards passing and FOUR passing TDs. Vernon Adams once again looked like the poised leader of this team. Adams also ate up yardage on the ground with seven carries and most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over once. With a pair of tuddys to both Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke, Adams got everyone out of their seats at TD Place with his spectacular play.
Adams also got the ground game moving again, wisely using his workhorse William Stanback when he wasn’t throwing dimes to his receivers. The bruising tailback notched his second game of over 100 yards rushing as the RedBlacks had a hard time containing Stanback. National RB Jeshrun Antwi also got a few more reps to move the chains.
But perhaps the most impressive run came VERY late in the fourth quarter as VA handed off to defensive lineman Almondo Sewell for a heroic one yard plunge into the end zone. With that, the big fella claimed his first ever CFL touchdown to further rub salt into the RedBlacks’ wounds.
All in a day’s work for Montreal’s superstar quarterback, who had stated on numerous occasions that he knew he had to be better than he had been. You knew he was motivated with every dazzling pass he threw downfield and even escaping defenders with his educated feet.
Safe to say that the timid, confused QB we saw last week at home didn’t make the trip to the Nation’s Capital. But Big Play VA sure as heck did, much to the delight of Alouettes Nation.
To paraphrase one John Wick….. Yeah, I’d say he’s back!
The Alouettes took advantage of a battered defense along with another poor showing by Ottawa starting QB Matt Nichols, who only managed to complete 2 of 5 passes for 23 yards. He was picked off early on by Alouettes defender Greg Reid and RedBlacks head coach Paul LaPolice had seen enough. Last season’s starter Dominique Davis was sent in to stop the bleeding and did post some decent numbers, going 23/33 with 291 passing yards plus a pair of TDs.
But this Alouettes defense wasn’t going to be denied, picking off Davis twice, one being returned for a touchdown by the always dangerous Patrick Levels. David Menard and Woody Baron also made their presence felt with timely sacks to stop any RedBlacks momentum in its tracks.
Alouettes kicker David Cote managed to score a hat-trick of field goals to help pad this lead for the Alouettes. Special teams didn’t exactly explode like they could have, leaving a lot of a tackles unfinished this past Friday.
The defense also had a hard time containing guys like DeVonte Dedmon and RJ Harris, who were able to turn aside Montreal’s poor attempts at tackling. But for every score Ottawa managed, it seemed like Montreal would simply respond with another and then another on top for good measure.
This made for a very long night for the RNation fans who were just as desperate for a win as Montreal’s fans were. As they have done in the past, the Alouettes walked into TD Place in a very angry mood and repeatedly punched the RedBlacks in the face, both on offense and defense. This team simply didn’t let up, even when it was clear that Ottawa simply had no answer for this team.
Post-game, a very emotional Adams showed his humility and appreciation for the many people who had his back during this mental slump of his. I think Vernon realizes that he has the potential to be a superstar in this league and will not be denied his chance to be a winner.
It is early, but I can’t help but think that in his head he IS more that “Big Play VA” than the other version that we’ve had to see in the past couple of weeks.
When Vernon Adams brings Big Play VA out, there’s very little on this earth that can stop him.
Make no mistake, this was a tremendous win for the Montreal Alouettes, getting back into the win column and going into their final bye week at 2-2. But now people are going to want to know if these Alouettes are real or just had the benefit of beating two teams that were simply not very good to begin with.
Seeing this Alouettes team on Friday showed that they definitely had the potential, similar to what we saw out in Edmonton in Week Two. But it has to stay consistent. In both their losses, they showed that they can fall apart and put themselves in a hole that they can’t get out of. But should they take this example with them going forward of what they CAN do, I expect Montreal to keep silencing their critics.
Their next game is against the BC Lions at home, whereas this Lions team has also had its ups and downs in 2021. They will be prepared and also eager to ruin the party for the Alouettes, who are still looking for their first home win of this season. After that game, the Alouettes will be back on the road against a better than expected Toronto Argonauts team and the same Hamilton Tiger-Cats that handed the Als their L at home.
This season looks to be one where this Alouettes team will be forced to prove themselves time and time again. The big question is whether they’ll accept this recurring scenario of having to prove themselves to their critics and haters. Fair or not, this appears to be the way the Montreal Alouettes will have to address themselves on the field in 2021.
Winning does fix everything, so if Montreal can build on wins like this past Friday’s going forward, I think everyone in the 514 will be extremely pleased with what their Alouettes have to offer.
That’s all for now. The Alouettes now have a bye week to build upon this much-needed win and ready themselves for the grind of very few days off. It should be noted that the Alouettes will play these RedBlacks three more times this season.
While these games won’t be automatic wins for Montreal, you’d have to hope that this team sees what they can do and will be looking to repeat feats like they did this past Friday evening. They certainly have the talent to do so, now they have to see it through.
Be sure to tune into the Alouettes Flightdeck podcast as Tim Capper and myself break down this strong win plus look ahead to what’s coming for the month of September for the Alouettes. You can download every episode of the podcast by clicking here or by searching Alouettes Flightdeck on Youtube or any of the major podcast platforms.
Enjoy this win and the bye week, Alouettes Nation. And as always, thanks for reading.