Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see in the CFL, the Alouettes go and lose a heartbreaker in Winnipeg by a score of 41-40.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of positives that came out of that game for Montreal (it was the most complete performance from the offence all season), but because they dropped the decision in such dramatic fashion, that’ll be the focus of this story.
In my mind, there are four reasons why the Als didn’t come away with the victory on Thursday night.
1. Score from the one yard line:
Early in the fourth quarter, Montreal got down to the Winnipeg one-yard line thanks to a fluky scoop-and-run that involved a Eugene Lewis fumble and a B.J. Cunningham scamper. The Als had a first-and-goal opportunity from the Winnipeg one-yard line and they had to settle for a short field goal.
These things happen from time to time, but the fact that Darian Durant is in shotgun when he hands the ball off to Brandon Rutley is crazy in my mind. I know the Als fell short on a quarterback sneak in Ottawa last week, but there’s absolutely no reason to be in shotgun on first and second down.
Giving away those four points on the road ended up being huge.
Not to make excuses for the Als, but some of the penalties called against them were a joke. There were two roughing the passer penalties (one on Dominique Tovell, one on Chris Ackie) that proved to be crucial in the outcome of the game.
The saddest part of this whole ordeal, is that the Tovell penalty was reviewed and not overturned. The Ackie penalty came at a crucial point of the game. Calling bogus penalties at that point of the game simply can’t happen. It’s a tough pill to swallow.
As for the final play of the game, it’s hard to tell if Andrew Harris was down before crossing the goal line. In my mind, it looks like he’s down, but there’s no conclusive evidence to say that he was down for sure. Still, another crucial 50/50 call that doesn’t go Montreal’s way. It seems to happen a lot when Al Bradbury officiates their games.
3. Where’s the defence?
How about that prevent defence in the final 1:40 of the game, eh? What exactly did they prevent?
We’ve praised the Alouettes’ defence countless times for keeping the team in games when the offence hasn’t produced, but their performance in the final two minutes of Thursday’s game was tough to digest.
The offence handed them a 12-point lead with 1:40 remaining, and they allowed the Bombers to come back and win the game right before the buzzer.
Sure, the Ackie penalty affected the outcome of the final drive, but they gave too many yards away cheaply. On top of that, their inability to tackle on the final drive proved to be very costly.
I don’t like ragging on the defence because they’ve bailed the team out for years now. Unfortunately, in this case, it has to be done. The offence put up 40 points and it wasn’t enough for them to come away with the win.
4. The Blue Bombers executed:
It would be silly of me not to give the Blue Bombers a little credit here. In order for them to win that game at the end, they needed everything to fall perfectly in their favour over the last 1:40, and that’s exactly what happened.
Not only were they able to move the ball up and down the field when it mattered most, they also executed a gorgeous onside-kick to set up their game-winning drive.
Despite being in a 12-point hold, head coach Mike O’Shea, offensive coordinator Paul Lapolice and quarterback Matt Nichols never panicked. They knew exactly what they had to do and they did it.
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