Alouettes game thoughts: How did the Als fall apart in Hamilton?

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Going into Hamilton was never going to be easy for the Alouettes.

After all, the Ticats were 2-0 and they had just put up 64 points against the Toronto Argonauts. So it was mildly surprising to see the Als keep Hamilton off the board in the opening quarter. But how did the game get away from them so quickly?

There’s several reasons why the Als were blown out, 41-10, by the Tiger-Cats on Friday night. Clearly, the Cats have more game-breakers and better coaching. They’re just superior from top to bottom.

Ticats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli wasn’t even that great in his decision making and they still managed to roll over the Als. The game was close early, but once Brandon Banks and Sean Thomas-Erlington got going, the Als defence had no answers.

They weren’t any better on offence, as they managed to score just one touchdown in the game. When you look at the overall execution, it’s hardly surprising to see that there was a 31-point margin between these two teams after 60 minutes.

Since the Alouettes scored 10 points, I’ll give you my 10 observations from the game. Here we go:

1- The Als didn’t lose this game because of kicker Boris Bede, but his lack of execution got the ball rolling. Early in the second quarter, with the score tied 0-0, the Als were forced to punt from their 40-yard line. The kick went off the side of Bede’s foot and the Ticats were able to start from near their own 40-yard line. That was an opportunity for this Als team to win the field-position battle and they didn’t. Hamilton went on to score the opening points of the game on the ensuing drive. The Als aren’t good enough to overcome their kicker putting them in a hole. It might be time to find a new kicker.

2- The only reason the Als were forced to punt the ball on that drive is because rookie receiver Jake Wieneke dropped a pass up the field. Yes, it was a contested catch, but he’s big, he’s strong and he needs to come up with that football. A similar situation occurred in the last preseason game against Ottawa. He had to go up there and get it. Hopefully the touchdown he scored later on in the game gives him a boost of confidence heading into the rematch against the Cats.

3- Speaking of the deep ball, Vernon Adams’ touch on the few passes he threw up the field were just a little bit off. DeVier Posey freed himself up on a beautiful double-move in the first half, but Adams just overthrew him. Had that ball been on the money, Posey was gone. A similar incident occurred later on in the game when Adams just missed B.J. Cunningham, who got himself open up the field.

4- You have to give Cunningham a ton respect. Through two games, the Als have had to use three different quarterbacks (Antonio Pipkin, Adams and Matthew Shiltz), but he’s found a way to remain productive. Despite playing in just two games, the 30-year-old has 15 receptions on 19 targets. His 189 receiving yards put him eighth in the league (every player ahead of him has played three games). Cunningham’s had a great start to 2019. It’s time the rest of his team follows.

5- I also like the way running back Will Stanback played against the Tiger-Cats. He finished the night with 13 carries for 78 yards and he was also the second leading receiver on the team with five receptions for 37 yards. He deserves to be in the 20-touch per game range.

6- The right side of the offensive line needs to get better. We saw Tyler Johnstone start the game there and Spencer Wilson filled in on a few occasions, too. Johnstone, who was taken in the first round of the supplemental draft last year, has had knee issues. He underwent another procedure after getting to Montreal last year, so he’s still getting back into the swing of things. He prefers to play the left side, but I expect to see him get better even if he sticks at right tackle.

7- Let’s give Henoc Muamba some credit for helping stop Hamilton from the one-yard line on three straight attempts. Of course, the entire defensive line deserves credit, but I’m singling out Mumaba because he came up with the tackle on quarterback Dane Evans on all three of his attempts from the one.

8- We’re two games into the season and the Als still don’t have a quarterback sack. Sacks aren’t everything, especially if you can get some consistent pressure on the quarterback, but Bob Slowick’s defence isn’t even doing that. They’re not sniffing the quarterback right now. That has to be addressed ASAP.

9- Montreal also won the turnover battle for the second week in a row. That doesn’t mean much if you can’t put up enough points off turnovers though. The secondary came up with three interceptions against Masoli (one from Tommie Campbell, two from Greg Reid), but it’s hard to get a read on this group. This defence tends to give up big plays, but a lot of that is probably because the defensive backs are being asked to cover for so long. There’s no pressure up front, and that’s a huge problem.

10- As I just mentioned, Reid came up with two picks including one with the Ticats deep in Alouettes territory. I liked what I saw from Reid during his short time with the team last season and I think he’s a more polished player than Marcus Cromartie, who was held out of Friday’s game due to injury. Reid is a baller. He should stay in the lineup.