Four reasons why the Montreal Alouettes lost to the Calgary Stampeders

Canadian Prime Minister and self-professed Montreal Alouettes fan Justin Trudeau may have wished the team luck at the airport on Thursday, but the Als didn’t fare any better in Calgary than he does in Alberta polling stations.

The Alouettes were upset at McMahon Stadium on Friday night by a score of 28-22. Bo Levi Mitchell missed the game due to a fractured fibula, which allowed rookie Jake Maier to start his first career CFL game.

It was a disappointing loss for a Montreal team that outclassed the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium in Week 2 by a score of 30-13. Here are four reasons why they didn’t come away with a win.

Dismal discipline

Montreal finished Friday’s game with 16 penalties for 149 yards. It was an undisciplined performance that included a number of fifteen-yard majors, many of which hurt the Als in key situations.

One particularly costly penalty came in the fourth quarter when Calgary running back Ka’Deem Carey was stopped on second-and-goal at Montreal’s two-yard line. Tyquwan Glass was called for roughing, which prevented Calgary from having to try a field goal or gamble on third down.

The Stamps got a fresh set of downs and Carey punched it in on the following play for what was ultimately the game-winning touchdown.

Where’s William?

The Alouettes have arguably the best running back in the CFL in William Stanback, though you wouldn’t know that from their play-calling on Friday.

Stanback had nine carries for 51 yards in the first half but he became a forgotten man in the second half, touching the ball just six times.

I don’t blame the Alouettes for not incorporating Stanback in the passing game — he had a couple of drops last week in Edmonton — but Montreal had the lead for almost the entire third quarter. Giving more carries to Stanback early in the second half could have helped the Als maintain their lead for longer.

Answering the Bell

The Calgary Stampeders started a raw rookie at right tackle in Bryce Bell, who was a second-round pick in the 2021 CFL Draft out of Wilfrid Laurier. The 23-year-old wasn’t even going to start the game initially with incumbent right tackle Julian Good-Jones questionable due to illness.

Bell worked primarily against Antonio Simmons and Nick Usher, both of whom played well in Week 2. Neither were able to consistently generate a pass-rush against the young blocker and the team didn’t dial-up much extra pressure off the right side.

Full credit to Bell for playing well in the first start of his professional career, but Montreal should have done more to test him. The Als only had one sack in the game and it came when defensive back Adarius Picket blitzed off the left side — not the right.

Drop it like it’s hot

The CFL doesn’t register drops as an official statistic, but Montreal’s receivers had a tough time catching passes on Friday night. I counted four clear drops, though I’d have to watch the film to give a more definitive answer.

Vernon Adams Jr. wasn’t as polished as we’ve seen him in the past, but his completion percentage should have been higher than the 47.6 percent rate he posted against the Stamps.

The Alouettes had two-time 1,000-yard receiver Naaman Roosevelt in training camp, who has arguably the best hands in the CFL. They released him to keep some more explosive receivers around, but that may have come back to bite them in Calgary.

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