After yet another week of Johnny Manziel hype and some maybe-he’ll-play-maybe-he-won’t teasing from head coach Mike Sherman, the Montreal Alouettes got destroyed by the Edmonton Eskimos while Manziel spent the game nailed firmly to the bench.
The crowd at the stadium, the media, the U.S. media, the Twitterati – nobody was happy with this rather inexplicable decision.
Was looking forward to Johnny Manziel… but thank goodness I didn't spend $5 to watch another Als blowout with no Manziel… hahahahaha #CFL
— x-Andrew Luna (@alunaj7) July 27, 2018
Feel sorry for all those fans who wasted their money tonight at Molson Stadium hoping to see Johnny Manziel play for #Alouettes. Als should have been honest and said he wouldn’t play.
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) July 27, 2018
Thank you Mike Sherman and the @MTLAlouettes Why not put @JManziel2 in there? Is it Canadian to lose with Grace? AYE? ALL ABOOT THAT? #ComebackSZN is on hold till the canucks figure out what talent is… AYE? #cfl #allouettes #sorrey @BarstoolBigCat @PFTCommenter @PardonMyTake
— JwinDeeZee (@JwinDeeZee) July 27, 2018
— Ian Villa (@ProfessorVilla) July 27, 2018
— Jon Trottier (@jrtrottier) July 27, 2018
I completely understand why the #Alouettes didn't play Manziel tonight. But as a Johnny Football fan, I'm SO bummed.????
— Don Schram (@dschram34) July 27, 2018
— Sean Sullivan (@Sullyvanov) July 27, 2018
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) July 27, 2018
— John Horn (@SportsHorn) July 27, 2018
Huge mistake by the Alouettes to not even play Manziel despite a blowout loss. Big chance to hook some people with a lot of non-CFL viewers tuning in. #CFL
— Cory Graham (@CoryGrahamMedia) July 27, 2018
CFL has a chance to attract much needed millennials to the league, Alouettes coaching staff doesn’t care and screws over the paying fans at the stadium and the viewer at home. Don’t let Manziel throws A SINGLE BALL IN THE ENTIRE GAME. Montreal can’t do anything right!
— Mike Sweeney (@TheMikeSweeney) July 27, 2018
You get the idea.
Despite chants of “we want Johnny” from the crowd of 16,654, Alouettes coach Mike Sharman said that since Manziel had only one real practice since he was acquired in a five-player deal from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, there was no reason to put the 2012 Heisman Trophy at risk in a game in which the Eskimos defence was swarming the Montreal backfield.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t feel any pressure to put Johnny in,” said Sherman. “I knew what I was going to do and I wasn’t going to jeopardize his career, with one day of practice, and put him out there when we weren’t protecting very well.
“Once you start listening to the fans, it’s not long before you become one.”
Sherman said it was decided before the game with Manziel that he would only play if conditions were right. It turned out he would have had to play if Adams got injured because the third quarterback, Matt Shiltz, injured a shoulder while holding the ball for a field goal. But Adams stayed upright.
“In my mind, there was a 20 per cent chance he would play,” said Sherman, who now must decide whether to give Manziel the start next week against Hamilton.
Meanwhile, Mike Reilly threw four touchdown passes and ran one in himself as the Edmonton Eskimos cruised to a 44-23 win.
Duke Williams, with two, C.J. Gable and Derel Walker caught TD passes for Edmonton (4-2). Reilly passed for more than 400 yards and Williams had more than 100 receiving yards for a fifth straight game. Sean Whyte added three field goals.
Starting quarterback Vernon Adams and Ryder Stone each ran in a touchdown, while Boris Bede had two placements for Montreal (1-5).
The crowd of 16,654 chanted for Manziel, acquired on Sunday from Hamilton, but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner watched from the sidelines, as he did for five games with the Tiger-Cats. He is expected to debut when Montreal faces Hamilton next week.
Adams led a touchdown drive on Montreal’s first possession, finishing an eight-play drive by himself with a one-yard plunge at 6:35.
The Eskimos answered with Whyte’s 44-yard field goal at 9:03, which Bede answered with a 37-yarder to open the second quarter after Edmonton punter Hugh O’Neill mishandled a snap and needed a rush kick.
Reilly then hit Williams in the end zone for a 20-yard TD at 2:39. A Aaron Grymes interception set up a 17-yard toss over the middle to Gable, who picked himself off the turf to dive over the end goalline at 7:21.
Whyte and Bede traded field goals again before Reilly threaded a pass through to Williams at the sidelines. The CFL receiving leader shook off two defenders and ran in untouched for a 61-yard score with 48 seconds left in the half for a 27-13 lead at the intermission.
The Alouettes got two points off a safety, but saw Bede miss his third field goal attempt of the night in the third quarter, then had Tyquwon Glass fall down while covering Reilly’s 36-yard TD pass to a wide-open Walker at 10:34.
Reilly ran in from the one 3:11 into the fourth quarter.
Adams then led an eight-play drive capped by Stone’s five-yard TD at 7:13. Adams hit Ernest Jackson for the two-point conversion. Whyte added a field goal with 58 seconds left to play.
Montreal cornerback Mitchell White was taken off the field on the stretcher after an injury with 3:46 left in the game. Sherman said he had stinging sensations in his arms and legs but doctors hope it will pass.
Well, at least things should be better next week, right?
#AlsMtl Sherman on whether Manziel will challenge Adams Jr for #1 job right away: “I’m not going to make a decision on a starter on a (emotional) night like this.”
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) July 27, 2018
– with files from CP