The good and bad from Alouettes’ error-filled loss to Redblacks

After taking down the Calgary Stampeders last week, the Montreal Alouettes were unable to come up with a victory against the Ottawa Redblacks.

Consistency continues to be a huge problem for the Als, as they can’t seem to string four decent quarters together on any given evening. Don’t get me wrong, no CFL team will be perfect during a game, but when the Als are bad, they’re really bad.

So lets start with there.

The bad vs. Ottawa

For the second week in a row, the offence got off to a painfully slow start (it was much worse against Ottawa). Quarterback Darian Durant threw two horrible interceptions in the first, one of which came with the offence inside Ottawa’s 10-yard line. Durant and running back Brandon Rutley also lost fumbles in the opening half.

Durant did a good job of taking care of the ball early in the season, but some of the decisions he’s made have left a lot to be desired. He’s thrown bad picks against Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa, and he’ll need to take better care of the football if Montreal wants to be serious contenders for the East Division crown.

Getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers has also been a problem for the Als at times. B.J. Cunningham was held without a catch in the opening quarter (his first grab came with roughly 11:30 left in the second quarter). Ernest Jackson didn’t register his first reception until after the three-minute warning in the first half. The coaching staff has to find a way to get those two players involved sooner if they want to have success.

The Als went into the half down 17-6, and it could have been a whole lot worse. Redblacks receiver Diontae Spencer dropped a touchdown in the first half, which forced Ottawa to settle for a field goal. Greg Ellingson made a huge catch over Als DB Brandon Stewart inside the Montreal 10-yard line, but the play was called back because of an unnecessary roughness penalty on offensive tackle SirVincent Rogers. Ottawa came away with no points on that drive.

As for the defence, it’s tough to pin this loss on them. They were on the field a lot in the first half because of the offence’s turnovers, and they did a relatively good job despite being put in a hole repeatedly.

They’d obviously like to have that 80-yard passing play to Greg Ellingson back, but those things happen in the CFL. Ottawa has a lot of weapons and they’re bound to make spectacular plays during a game.

I’d still like to see them get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but that simply wasn’t possible on Wednesday because Ottawa’s Trevor Harris was getting rid of the ball incredibly quickly.

The good vs. Ottawa

Despite the incredible amount of turnovers/mistakes, the Alouettes managed to stay in the game. They actually had a chance to take the lead with under two minutes remaining. Once they failed to convert on third-and-short inside the Ottawa 10-yard line, the game was over (the spot the officials gave them was terrible).

As bad as Durant was in the first half, he orchestrated a pair of incredible drives in the third quarter. It looked like he was playing pitch and catch with Cunningham, Jackson, Nik Lewis and Tiquan Underwood. The veteran quarterback settled down nicely, and he was able to get his team back in the game. Unfortunately for them, they still came up just short.

Despite not having any receptions in the first quarter, both Cunningham and Jackson came up with big plays the rest of the way. Both receivers finished the game with 101 yards (Jackson had eight receptions, Cunningham had five).

Also, I have to mention Lewis coming up with another huge milestone, as he recorded his 1000th catch. If he stays healthy, he’ll likely reach Geroy Simon’s mark of 1029 receptions this season.

I’ve got to mention them again, but the defence really hung in there in the first half when the offence was giving the ball away all over the field. If it wasn’t for them, the game could have been over a lot sooner than it was.

There’s a lot of guys playing well on that side of the ball. One guy I want to mention is rookie Dominique Tovell. No one knew who this player was coming into training camp. Not only has he developed into a useful player, he’s become one of the forces of that defence. He always seems to be around the ball and his ability to wrap guys up is obvious.

Joey Alfieri

Joey Alfieri

A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.
Joey Alfieri
Joey Alfieri
About Joey Alfieri (38 Articles)
A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.

7 Comments on The good and bad from Alouettes’ error-filled loss to Redblacks

  1. Joey…I liked this post. If I may, I would like to add that the 80 yard pass and run TD by Greg Ellingson was against an Alouette blitz. From my experience, the only way you can beat a pressure defense like the Als is to make them pay a price for blitzing. As soon as you do that, you make blitzing a less than an ideal option for the D Coordinator. Als D Coordinator Noel Thorpe did a good job of providing pressure with 3 and 4 man rushes but did not blitz as much after the TD. Ironically, it helped Montreal because it forced Ottawa to drop the ball off on short and horizontal routes vs deep vertical routes.
    When you add Darian Durant throwing for over 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns the Als may have deserved a better fate. If it weren’t for a questionable spot on the 3rd and short it may have finished differently. With that said, if the refs don’t blow the Durant fumble which should have been a TD for Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and if Spencer catches the ball for a touchdown, the REDBLACKS win big. Isn’t the CFL a great game!

  2. It also looked like Ellingson definitely should have been called for offensive PI on his last catch. Too bad there were no challenges left.

    • Leo Lewis // July 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm //

      I agree completely, however offensive pass interference penalties (other than pick plays) are rarely ever called. A receiver can grab or push a defensive back without a penalty, but if the defender even breathes on a receiver out comes the flag (sarcasm alert !!!!)

      Let’s even things out and have the same standard both ways.

  3. that’s the way Durant plays, either hot or cold,thats just his nature, unfortunately.

  4. Below average first half+above average second half =average QB=Durant. Great leader but not a greatQB.

  5. I am having great difficulty understanding Durant’s conflicting decision making. When under attack, take the sack or throw the ball away safely. You cant’ do BOTH! He becomes panicked and releases the ball with the wind, a hope and prayer. This is not Pop Warner Football. This is exactly what you teach 14-year old quarterbacks NOT to do. Decide to escape the pressure on foot, launch the ball into the sidelines or take the sack.

    • justforkicks // July 20, 2017 at 6:51 pm //

      I think this has to do with coaching. If I remember correctly when DD was in Sask he was throwing the ball away quite a lot after his initial years of being sacked or intercepted. It seemed to get rid of those lost yard sacks but did not look good for moving the ball.

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