The Ottawa Rouge et Noir opted for a very different strategy from that of the Alouettes for this first preseason game by presenting a team with several starters. And yet, it was the Montrealers who won 22-21.
It was Mexico’s Jose Maltos’ second placement from 42 yards on the last play of the game that allowed the visitors to win.
Maltos, a former Rouge et Noir, made five placements in this game. He was also accurate for 20, 22 and 32 yards. Quartney Davis scored the Alouettes’ only touchdown, on a pass from Davis Alexander, in the fourth quarter.
Maltos’ teammates carried him in triumph after the game, while head coach Jason Maas, all smiles, handed out handshakes on the sidelines.
“I dreamed of getting such a chance. I’ve been working hard for a chance like this for a long time,” Santos said of his game-winning kick. Everyone pitched in and this is the result. »
But it wasn’t so much the final score that mattered to Maas and his coaching staff. Several players had the opportunity to take advantage of quality playing time in order to stand out, including three quarterbacks Caleb Evans, Davis Alexander and Mike Glass III.
Alexander had a good performance, notably thanks to a push leading to the Alouettes’ only touchdown of the game, on a long play at Davis.
“Honestly, I have to thank the coaching staff for calling such good plays and giving me the opportunity to make a big play,” Davis said. I stood out and made plays in key moments in the fourth quarter. I want to continue doing this in the future. »
Alexander completed 10 of 14 passes for 115 yards and an excellent efficiency rating of 119.6.
Glass is the one who led the Alouettes to victory on the last push of the game. Recovering the ball in his zone with 1:24 to play, Glass allowed the Alouettes to cross the field, thanks in particular to a big catch from John Brunner along the sidelines for a play of 31 yards.
Brunner caught all four passes for 59 yards — the highest total among 11 receivers who caught passes Friday. Glass meanwhile finished the game with five of seven completions for 47 yards.
Caleb Evans, a former Rouge et Noir, started the meeting and he seemed hesitant. He was behind center for the first two series on offense, but both ended in a quick clearance, with Evans unable to settle into his pocket.
Alexander then replaced him and the Alouettes explored the ground game, with just as little success. After a nice nine-yard run from Alexander, twice, the quarterback sneak didn’t work out on the left side. However, the Alouettes fielded three starters in Nick Callender, Pier-Olivier Lestage and center Justin Lawrence.
Evans was ordinary when he returned to the field in this encounter. He also completed 10 passes on 15 occasions for 78 yards, but his efficiency coefficient of 79.3 was the lowest of the five quarterbacks used in this duel and the fight for the Alouettes’ No. news next Friday, against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Percival-Molson Stadium.
As the quarterbacks enjoyed a quiet evening, it was difficult for the many receivers trying to carve out a position to stand out. Davis had been pretty invisible before his touchdown pass; Austin Mack, who knows a good camp, stood out with some nice catches; ditto for Kevin Kaya; while Tyler Snead was also involved. Snead especially stood out in punt returns, where he did well.
The offense generated just 269 total yards, of which only 32 were on the ground, compared to 398 for Ottawa, which also led on first down, 20 against 14.
In defence, Tyrell Richards, the Alouettes’ very first choice in 2022, but sidelined for several games by injuries, had a strong game, notably causing a fumble in addition to knocking down a pass and scoring a sack. Aside from the “visible” stats, Richards has been effectively involved whenever the game has moved his way.
Lwal Uguak, seventh overall pick in the last draft, had the Alouettes’ other sack, for a loss of seven yards. Kabion Ento had five tackles and five Alouettes had four.
But Noel Thorpe’s defense once again struggled to stop the opponent’s long second downs, a phase of play that often weighed down the Alouettes last season. The Rouge et Noir converted six of their 14 second down opportunities and seven or more yards. The Alouettes will have to increase their efficiency rate on such occasions.