The good, the bad, and the dumb of the Alouettes’ East Final loss

Photo: Matthew Johnson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

What’s that? You thought I was done with this for the year? Think again.

With the Riders season over, I was asked by the powers that be to write up some post-game thoughts on the Alouettes’ performance in the East Final. So, apologies to Alouettes fans, as it seems losing is just following me around this year.

The Als gave themselves a shot despite a hot start from the Argos, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Montreal’s Grey Cup appearance drought will grow for at least another year.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb of the Alouettes’ East Final loss to Toronto.

The Good

As I’ve become accustomed to while covering the Riders this season, I was struggling to come up with something good for the Als for a good chunk of this game.

Toronto came out roaring with three touchdowns early and looked like they were set to pull away, but Montreal did eventually get it together on offence and made the Argos earn the win.

A big reason the Als found some rhythm was the play of Canadian rookie receiver Tyson Philpot.

Philpot made a few highlight reel catches as the East’s Most Outstanding Rookie nominee had his coming out party on the national stage. The former Calgary Dino finished the game with eight catches on eight targets for 126 yards and a touchdown.

It wasn’t just the catches either, Philpot threw a key block on a touchdown run from running back William Stanback as well.

With Jake Wieneke not having as strong of a year as he did last, the Alouettes are looking for a number two receiver behind Eugene Lewis. Philpot may end up being that guy.

The Bad

For much of the afternoon, it was looking like the bad was going to be obvious. The defence just did not have an answer for the Argos’ offence. Toronto punted just twice and they didn’t turn the ball over. That’s not usually a recipe for success if you’re the other team.

Then head coach Danny Maciocia decided to get involved and play an important role in ensuring his team won’t be playing in the Grey Cup next week in Regina.

For a coach who is insisting that he will not return to the bench next season, he sure coached like someone who was scared about losing his job. You’d think — allegedly — knowing that you won’t be back in the role next season would be liberating and allow a coach to take some risks and play to win.

Nope, not Maciocia.

Twice, Maciocia decided to kick field goals when going for it on third down was a better option. Simply put, field goals aren’t going to get you back into a game when you are trailing, touchdowns will.

The most head-scratching decision of the game was late in the fourth quarter when the Alouettes dialled up a run play on second-and-10. That’s kind of weird on its own but to me, it’s a signal that you’re going to go for it on third down either way.

Instead, after Stanback picked up five yards to make it a third-and-manageable, Maciocia kicked yet another field goal to make it a seven-point game — an absolutely gobsmacking decision that I can’t wrap my head around. Field goals are easier to get than touchdowns, play for the touchdown when you are closer to the end zone.

Maciocia was rewarded for his decision appropriately as the Argos never gave Montreal the ball back.

Yes, the defence needed to be better and they had some other flaws, but ultimately the Alouettes weren’t put in the best position to win by their head coach.

The Dumb

There was a moment in this game that got me thinking a little bit and that’s never a good thing.

Late in the first quarter, quarterback Trevor Harris was flagged for an illegal forward pass to Kaion Julien-Grant. The receiver ended up fumbling the ball and the Argos recovered it.

Naturally, the Argos declined the penalty as the play standing is much better for them. That’s when I was like, “huh?”

Should an illegal forward pass play stand? I don’t know. It’s in the name: the throw was illegal and shouldn’t count. It’s rare that such a pass would end up being a positive for the defence, so you can see why this doesn’t come up often.

Is it worth a rule change? Probably not, just an interesting quirk that came to mind.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.