1) Action Jackson: Ernest Jackson’s physicality and athleticism were on display as he bookended the game with big-time plays. On the first offensive snap of the contest, Jackson ran over a Calgary defensive back Tommie Cambell (six-foot-three, 203 pounds), knocked him to the ground and made an over the shoulder grab on a touch pass from Darian Durant and took it 80 yards. That reception alone was more than Jackson’s season total in receiving yardage entering Week 4. And late in the fourth quarter, with Jackson matched in one-on-one coverage with Ciante Evans, who already had an interception, Durant put up a 50/50 ball and the six-foot-two, 220-pounder lept and stole the ball away from the defender, essentially taking the ball off his helmet for a miraculous 21-yard gain.
That was a crucial moment on what proved to be the game-winning touchdown drive. Jackson totalled four catches for 118 yards, his first 100-yard receiving game with the Alouettes. Montreal head coach Jacques Chapdelaine wanted to get the reigning East Division Most Oustanding Player the football more and it really helped the Als get a huge win.
2) Angry Birds on D: Noel Thorpe’s group made Bo Levi Mitchell earn nearly every yard (379) Calgary amassed through the air. Montreal mixed up looks on defence and were tight in coverage consistently over 60 minutes. Rookie cover man Branden Dozier had a strong effort, the fumble return touchdown sticks out most obviously, but he was knocking passes down and making sure tackles (7). Kavis Reed liked him early on in training camp and Dozier is living up to the advanced billing. And the angry bird himself, Kyries Hebert was stellar with six tackles and a couple times getting his hands on Mitchell pass attempts.
3) Nimble Durant: The 34-year-old moved around well and used his legs to pick up yardage when made the decision to do so. Darian Durant had four carries for 20 yards, including two first downs, even lowering his shoulder to ensure the chains moved on one carry, it showed he still had some dual-threat abilities. It seemed like Durant was more comfortable in Chapdelaine’s offence, moving around the pocket and surveying the field, and the statistics supported that. Durant had his best completion percentage game (hitting 17-of-22 passes for 77.3%) and passing yardage effort (296) as an Alouette.
4) Canadian safety: Many thought before the season, especially after Ryan Phillips was signed by Montreal, that the Alouettes would go American at safety and possibly play a Canadian at linebacker, but Chris Ackie stepped up in training camp and earned the trust of Thorpe. That paid off in a large way on Friday night when Ackie poked the ball loose from Jerome Messam sparking an Alouettes defensive touchdown. It angered Messam so much that he took out his frustrations on Chip Cox and got ejected from the game. The Wilfrid Laurier product displayed awareness by getting the football out and it could be a sign of more plays to come from the freakishly athletic Canuck safety.
5) Ground and pound: Montreal’s league-leading rushing attack produced a season-best 143 yards on 26 attempts (5.5 yards per carry average) and two touchdowns. Tyrell Sutton led the way with 17 carries for 85 yards (5 yards per carry average) and one touchdown. His low-to-the-ground running style makes him tough to bring down and he’s elusive in the hole too. Sutton paces all running backs with 295 yards.