The offence finally showed signs of life for the Montreal Alouettes.
Tyrell Sutton and back-up quarterback Vernon Adams ran in touchdowns and B.J. Cunningham scored one through the air as the Alouettes upset the Calgary Stampeders 30-23 on Friday night.
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Linebacker Branden Dozier also scored on a fumble recovery while Boris Bede kicked a field goal for the Alouettes (2-2), who have beaten the Stampeders in their last four visits to Percival Molson Stadium.
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“We’ve got to build, we’ve got to do it two or three times in a row,” said slotback Montreal Nik Lewis. “We have the talent to do it and we showed it.
“Now we’ve raised our level and now we have to do it consistently. I believe the league is so close now in talent that we have a chance to be the best team in this league.”
“That’s amazing,” the 14-year veteran said. “Honestly, I think I’ve had the best hands out of anyone, but you see some of the catches (Cahoon) made and it’s an honour to pass someone like that.”
DeVaris Daniels had a TD and Rene Paredes booted five field goals for Calgary (2-1-1), which controlled much of the play but struggled to get the ball into the end zone. Bo Levi Mitchell completed 34-of-50 passes for 379 yards, but mistakes deep in Montreal territory repeatedly left the Stamps with field goals instead of touchdowns.
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Mitchell called it a tough loss but nothing to be overly concerned with this early in the season.
“Why should we be devastated? We’re 2-1-1,” he said. “It’s a long season.
“In the past couple of seasons, we’ve lost the first or second game. I’m not happy. I’m not going to let the guys think it’s OK that we lost a game. I hate losing more than anyone in the world. But I’m not going to let these guys sulk or drop their heads. We’re going to fix what we’ve got to fix and become a better football team.”
It was the first time this season Montreal scored more than 19 points in a game under their key off-season acquisition, quarterback Darian Durant, who completed 17 passes for 296 yards. The difference this time was that he was able to sustain and finish drives that had been falling short.
“I told him he’s not the saviour here, we don’t want him to be the saviour,” said Lewis. “That’s too much pressure.
“He doesn’t have to carry that burden. We’ll carry it together.”
The Alouettes led 16-9 at the intermission despite Durant throwing interceptions to Ciante Evans and Tommie Cambell and the team taking 12 mostly undisciplined penalties.
An 80-yard completion to Ernest Jackson set up a 12-yard Bede field goal 1:34 into the game but Calgary marched back to tie it on Paredes’ 14-yard effort. The Stampeders settled for a field goal from 12 yards 4:26 into the second quarter after Marquay McDaniel dropped a sure touchdown pass near the goal line.
Montreal responded with a six-play, 100-yard drive capped by a 39-yard TD pass to a wide-open Cunningham at 10:45.
Chris Ackie stripped tailback Jerome Messam and Branden Dozier ran it in 23 yards for a TD at 12:13. Messam was ejected and given a facemasking penalty for his part in the skirmish that followed the score.
“Not a smart play by him by any means,” said Mitchell. “He was devastated that it happened.
“They’re a physical team and they get in your head that way. I’m sure he won’t do it again.”
Kick returner Roy Finch, back after serving a two-game suspension for a positive doping test, took over from Messam at running back and helped Calgary’s final drive of the half produce Paredes’ 35-yard boot with no time remaining.
Mitchell led an eight-play drive to open the second half capped by a 30-yard TD toss to Daniels.
Rob Maver put Calgary ahead 17-16 with a punt single through the end zone at 8:28 and Paredes added another field goal from 34 yards to end the third quarter.
But Montreal bounced back with an eight-play drive that saw Sutton run in 14 yards up the middle for the TD at 3:57 of the fourth.
Paredes put one through from the 39 at 6:29 but Montreal answered with a nine-play drive capped by Adams one-yard score at 11:35.