Most insurance policies will not cover accidents caused by fire, theft or act of God. So what do we file this claim under? Trainwreck?
Yesterday, the Montreal Alouettes had one job on their weekend list; beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to slip past the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers in order to stake a claim for the crossover playoff spot in the CFL’s Western division. Those teams out West tried their hardest but couldn’t overcome their adversaries to post their sixth win of the season this past weekend. The Alouettes were at home and had history on their side, as the Tabbies haven’t won at Percival Molson Stadium since 2002.
But this seems to be the year where streaks come to an end in the Canadian Football League and yesterday was no different. Hamilton bested Montreal by a score of 23-11 and like in every game of this now 4 game losing streak, the final score truly flatters the Alouettes and their efforts. This offense can hustle and score points; sadly, they seem to wait until the dying seconds of the football game in order to do so.
The latest in a long line of quarterbacks to suit up this season for Montreal was Kevin Glenn, who now provides a voice of leadership and experience in the huddle. But perhaps a mere two practices weren’t quite enough for the veteran pivot, going 26 for 44 and posting 226 yards yesterday. Glenn was struggling to establish a rhythm with his receivers as he was picked off three times yesterday afternoon. He did find Fred Stamps in the end zone for his first passing TD as an Alouette, but at that point the damage had been done.
Special teams also took a beating, as Boris Bede had a punt blocked and recovered deep in Montreal territory for an eventual Tiger-Cats touchdown. And while Hamilton returner Brandon Banks has been mostly kept in check by Montreal this season, he was able to put up a respectable 108 all-purpose yards yesterday afternoon when the ball was kicked in his direction.
Yesterday’s game was a major confidence booster for Jeff Mathews, who has the tough task of trying to replace Zach Collaros for the remainder of the season at QB for Hamilton. He got a lot of help from his receivers including Luke Tasker, who had quite the electrifying afternoon in Montreal. Among his eight receptions on the day was a jaw-dropping catch that he had absolutely no business making, as he contorted his body in an impossible angle to haul it in.
Even more incredible was that Alouettes DB Billy Parker was tracking the ball down as well but missed being able to down Tasker, who was able to get up and add to the yards after catch. The Alouettes defense did a great job in the first half by keeping Hamilton to a pair of field goals. Until Mathews was able to take advantage of that aforementioned blocked punt and find Terrell Sinkfield for Hamilton’s lone major of the afternoon.
The rest of Hamilton’s points came off the foot of Justin Medlock so all Mathews had to do was manage the game, which he did quite well. In fact, he was nearly perfect as he only had 4 incomplete passes and ZERO interceptions. Losing a Zach Collaros might have felt like the nail in Hamilton’s coffin for this season, but Mathews has spent YEARS working with his coaches Kent Austin and Tommy Condell both at Cornell University and in the Hammer. Mathews is clearly well-versed in their game plan and only had to follow it to the letter for the Tabbies’ tenth win.
With the win, Hamilton was able to claim a spot in the playoffs and currently hold a two point lead over both Toronto and Ottawa, who also clinched playoff berths this weekend. If it wasn’t for the crossover possibility, Montreal would already be on the outside looking in and planning for 2016.
I still have confidence that Kevin Glenn will provide a steady hand to guide the Alouettes. But losses like the one yesterday really sting, especially when you consider all the tight games from earlier this season that Montreal lost. Had one or two of those particular games gone Montreal’s way, you could forgive a loss like yesterday’s to a very inspired Tiger-Cats team.
But time is not Montreal’s friend; only three games remain and quite frankly, all three can just as easily be victories for the opposition and this Alouettes team would post its worst regular season record since returning to the CFL in 1996. As it stands now, it will be a battle just to equal their current worst record of 8-10.
It’s another short week for Montreal; they’ll head down to Hamilton to play the Toronto Argonauts. I assure you good readers that last sentence was not a clerical error.
The success of the Skydome’s other tenants has been a boon for the citizens of Toronto but it’s been havoc for fans of the Double Blue; the Argos now have been forced from their usual home stadium three times in the past month alone to accommodate the Blue Jays’ bid for a third World Series trophy. The month of Ocotober has already seen the Argos playing one “home” game at Ottawa’s TD Place and after this Friday, they will have hosted two regular season games at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.
The Montreal Alouettes have certainly had their struggles this season, but at least they know day in and day out where they will play their home games! This season alone, the Argos have played “home” games in FIVE different stadiums located in TWO completely different provinces and they are still very much a force to be reckoned with. To their credit, I haven’t heard one complaint from anyone on the Argos’ coaching staff or players about the lousy hand they’ve been dealt.
So it will be a different look when the Birds of Prey roll into town this Friday; only one side of the stadium is expected to be available for fans to sit in and if last Saturday’s Stampeders/Argos game there was any indication, not very many people will witness this sporting event live in person. A mere 3,401 fans bothered to attend that game and quite frankly, I’d be floored if that many show up this Friday.
It didn’t help that the makeshift game last Saturday was up against the Blue Jays game being broadcast at the exact same time. It should also be noted that the Blue Jays were playing that game this past Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri. So just like when the Argos played the RedBlacks in Ottawa on October 6th, the Skydome sat empty last Saturday. It will also sit empty this Friday, even if Toronto manages to win and continue this series of theirs.
Another in a series of knives to the back of this football team by their own landlord! The BMO Field era cannot start fast enough for the Toronto Argonauts. Next summer must seem like a lifetime away for the beleaguered fans that support Toronto’s CFL franchise.
That’s all for now. Only one day of practice this week due to the travel to Hamilton, but you’re welcome to come check it out. If Montreal can put this most recent loss behind them, the hope is still there. The players on this team hasn’t given up on the 2015 season and neither should their fans.
Thanks for reading, as always.
GO ALS GO!!!