The Montreal Alouettes took a while to get going, but they faced so little opposition from the Ottawa Redblacks that they didn’t have to suffer, muzzling their opponent in a victory by 29-3, Monday afternoon, at Percival-Molson Stadium.
Touchdowns from Tyson Philpot, Caleb Evans and Tyrice Beverette on defense, as well as two field goals from Jose Maltos, his first two of his career, allowed the Alouettes (9-7) to regain two priority points ahead of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats second in the Eastern section.
They also guaranteed themselves a season, at least, with a 500 record.
Only Michael Domagala, with a 21-yard field goal with less than six minutes to play, allowed the Rouge et Noir (4-12) to avoid a first shutout in the franchise’s history.
This defeat, however, puts an end to Ottawa’s slim hopes of taking advantage of the crossover rule to participate in the playoffs. A team from the East has never crossed over to the West for the first playoff round since this rule was introduced.
The 20,664 spectators who braved the elements and the cold weather had to wait until the end of the second quarter before being able to enjoy the spectacle presented to them. That’s when Cody Fajardo connected with Philpot on a 38-yard run into the visitors’ end zone to make it 8-0, after the conversion.
Philpot caught all six passes aimed at him for 90 yards, the highest total among Alouettes receivers.
“They played well defensively and we focused on not committing turnovers,” explained Fajardo (28 in 32, 272 yards, a touchdown and an interception) about this lackluster start to the game by the Montreal attack. .
“They applied constant pressure in the first half of the game, whether on first downs or even second downs,” analyzed head coach Jason Maas. We could have slowed them down by making more plays, but we lacked a little bit of synchronism at the start of the game. When we found him, we were able to move the chains and score points. Sometimes other teams have good defense too. »
Maltos had a single in the first quarter, missing his first field goal attempt for 48 yards. He missed a second from 49 yards in the fourth quarter, after an interminable break for an injury for the Rouge et Noir and for the broadcasters. He completed the scoring on a short 18-yard kick.
100 for Lemon
Early in the third quarter, Shawn Lemon connected with Dustin Crum (5 for 13, 72 yards) behind his line of scrimmage for his 100e career bag. It thus became the 13e player in CFL history to reach this plateau.
“I’m so happy to be part of this group,” said Lemon. It is good fit for me to find myself here and it’s a good fit for the Alouettes. »
This play led to a punt by the Rouge et Noir, pushing back the Alouettes’ attack to its line of 8. Fajardo then led his team to one of the best offensive sequences of the season, over 11 plays and 102 yards.
After a superb run by Jeshrun Antwi for 35 yards, Fajardo joined Austin Mack on 29. The sequence ended after a few races from Fletcher on a one-yard sneak from Evans, for his eighth major of the season.
The Alouettes then led 15-0 and were never really worried afterward.
The defense added an exclamation point by collecting a touchdown. Reggie Stubblefield connected with Nick Arbuckle (9-for-13, 90 yards) for a sack, causing a fumble. Beverette then recovered the ball and carried it 34 yards to the end zone.
“I only saw the ball lying around,” Beverette explained after the game. We have several players capable of making big plays within this defense. Stubblefield is young, but he is in all the games. »
“Our defense has been playing big football since the start of the season, but especially in the last three games,” Maas said. […] I don’t know if there’s anything we don’t like about our defense right now. These guys are playing at a very high level. And they believe in it: they believe in our games, they believe in our training, and they believe in their abilities. »
At 26-0, scribes then furiously scoured the Web to find the date of the Birds’ last shutout. Had it not been for the excellent work of the CFL communications manager, it would have been impossible to disclose that this happened on August 7, 2009, against the Toronto Argonauts. But Domagala came to ruin all this work…
The Alouettes will play their next game on Saturday in Edmonton, before taking advantage of their last week off. They will host the Tiger-Cats during the last week of the calendar, October 28.