‘Ottawa’ Alouettes’ Offence Stalls Again in Loss to Blue Bombers
They say there’s no place like home. Try telling that to the Alouettes.
Montreal returned to Molson Stadium Friday night but, following their most-impressive performance of the season last week at Ottawa, returned to their customary fashion — struggling on offence and losing.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers produced a 32-18 victory before 19,026 spectators as the teams reached the halfway point of the regular season.
Montreal failed to win a second consecutive game for the first time in a year and saw its record drop to 3-6. The Als are also now 1-4 at the McGill University venue.
The surprising Bombers, meanwhile, won their fourth consecutive game, improving to 5-4. It also was Winnipeg’s fourth successive road victory.
The Als’ offence failed to produce a point in the second half.
This game started miserably for the Als. On the opening kickoff, Quincy McDuffie returned the ball 51 yards, immediately putting the Bombers in scoring position.
The visitors eventually moved to the Montreal 31 before the drive stalled. Justin Medlock opened the scoring with a 38-yard field goal at 2:53.
Kevin Glenn’s first pass of the game was incomplete to B.J. Cunningham. His second was intercepted by Justin Cole at the Montreal 40. That eventually led to a 47-yard field goal by Medlock at 5:38.
Glenn was intercepted four times in the game.
On the Als’ next possession, Glenn was hit by Cole and fumbled, but the veteran quarterback managed to recover. Anthony Fera than came on to punt. Rookie Dominique Termansen forgot to pick up his block and the punt was blocked by Derek Jones.
The Bombers took over at the Montreal 13. But Winnipeg failed to generate a first down, forcing Medlock into kicking a 13-yard field goal — his third of the quarter — at 8:15, increasing the lead to 9-0.
But then the Als’ offence finally got untracked, thanks to a 33-yard kickoff return by Stefan Logan. Two plays later, Glenn passed 12 yards to Nik Lewis. Two plays after that, Lewis made a spectacular one-handed reception on a pass that was behind him. Logan then rushed for a 21-yard gain.
Glenn then passed twice consecutively to Duron Carter, gaining 15 yards in total. On the next play, Logan converted a shovel pass for a nine-yard touchdown at 12:44.
On the Bombers’ next series, Canadian running-back Andrew Harris, signed over the winter as a free agent, fumbled after being hit by rush-end Gabriel Knapton. The ball was recovered at the Winnipeg 53 by linebacker Chip Cox.
The Als then methodically marched downfield. A pass to Lewis was good for 11 yards. Then Tyrell Sutton, returning to the roster following a knee injury that sidelined him for six games, gained 11 yards. That was followed by a 17-yard pass to Samuel Giguère to the Winnipeg 14.
Cunningham then gained nine yards, moving the ball closer to the end zone. Following a pair of unnecessary roughness penalties against Winnipeg, third-string quarterback Vernon Adams ran off-tackle for a one-yard touchdown at 3:18 of the second quarter.
Glenn returned to the game, passing to Cunningham for a two-point convert. Suddenly, the Als had a 15-9 lead. And the momentum — or so it seemed.
But McDuffie returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards. The Bombers challenged a second-down play and cornerback Jonathon Mincy was called for pass interference, giving the visitors a reprieve.
A pass to Gerard Sheppard was good for 11 yards. Two plays later, a pass to Harris generated a 22-yard gain to the Montreal eight. But following a procedure penalty against the Bombers, Medlock kicked a 20-yard field goal at 7:37, reducing the deficit to 15-12.
It was the 18th consecutive field goal by Medlock, a career high.
On the Als’ next series, Glenn attempted a pass for Lewis on second down. But the ball was intercepted by Maurice Leggett, the linebacker returning it 60 yards for a touchdown and a 19-15 lead at 9:55.
Incredibly, it was Leggett’s fifth interception this season, his third for a touchdown.
Fera completed the half with a 26-yard field goal at 12:44, the Bombers taking a 19-18 lead to their dressing room.
Although there was no scoring in the third quarter, there were nonetheless some bizarre plays.
General manager and head coach Jim Popp had Fera attempt a 53-yard field goal, for some reason, when none was required at that juncture of the game. The ball was wide right and short. Montreal would have been far better off punting instead and keeping the field position in their favour.
Harris then fumbled for the second time in the game, the ball recovered by Cox at the Als’ 45-yard line. Montreal gambled on third and one. Nothing wrong with that, but Glenn surprisingly lined up in the shotgun, then handed the ball off to Sutton, who was stopped short.
The play made no sense.
Medlock kicked a 40-yard field goal at 5:48 of the fourth quarter, his fifth of the game, increasing Winnipeg’s lead to 22-18.
Two lack of discipline penalties against Als’ rush-end John Bowman — unnecessary roughness and objectionable conduct — put the Bombers in scoring position one last time later in the quarter.
Sure enough, Harris ran 19 yards off-tackle for a touchdown — and the final salvo — at 12:54.
Medlock added a sixth field goal in the game’s final minute.
The Als’ two-game homestand concludes next Thursday, with a visit from the Ottawa Redblacks. Ottawa, which reached the Grey Cup last season — losing to Edmonton — is on a two-game losing streak.