Sports: It was wild and crazy, but the Alouettes somehow found a way to beat the winless Redblacks

Alouettes ready to show their mettle after devastating loss last week

  Alouettes ready to show their mettle after devastating loss last week OTTAWA — When the Alouettes returned to practice this week after a crushing defeat that some teams find difficult to overcome, Danny Maciocia paid close attention to the body language of his players. “I wanted to see if they were sluggish, sagging or hanging their heads. That wasn’t the case,” Maciocia, the Als’ general manager and interim head coach, said Wednesday. “We didn’t experience any of that. That’s why I’m confident we’re able to flush it out of our system and move forward.

OTTAWA — It was a game that had a bit of everything, including plenty of scoring and big plays, along with some dubious officiating. And the outcome was in doubt until the final seconds.

Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Caleb Evans (5) runs pass Montreal Alouettes defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy (24)during first half CFL action in Ottawa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. © Provided by The Gazette Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Caleb Evans (5) runs pass Montreal Alouettes defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy (24)during first half CFL action in Ottawa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

The Alouettes, notorious for squandering leads this season , had a 14-point advantage over the winless Ottawa Redblacks with less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But it appeared even that lead might not be safe after the home side scored a touchdown slightly more than two minutes later. Montreal then failed to generate a first down and, with 1:59 remaining, saw the Redblacks drive from their 11 to the Montreal 24 before the drive stalled on third down.

Alouettes move into tie with Argoanuts atop East Division with win over Ottawa

  Alouettes move into tie with Argoanuts atop East Division with win over Ottawa OTTAWA — The Montreal Alouettes know it wasn't their best game -- but in the end, the only thing that mattered was the 40-33 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night. The victory allowed the Alouettes (2-4-0) to move into a tie with the Toronto Argonauts for first in the East Division, while the Redblacks (0-6-0) are still looking for their first win. "Everyone did their job when it mattered," said Montreal WR Hergy Mayala. "Good jobThe victory allowed the Alouettes (2-4-0) to move into a tie with the Toronto Argonauts for first in the East Division, while the Redblacks (0-6-0) are still looking for their first win.

The Als somehow prevailed, 40-33 at TD Place Thursday night . In that final two minutes alone Montreal overcame a controversial pass interference penalty on Adarius Pickett — the call was unsuccessfully challenged despite the pass being overthrown — along with penalties against Mike Moore for unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer that were overturned.

And had Ottawa receiver Darvin Adams not dropped a pass in the end zone when he was wide open, this game likely would have gone to overtime.

To say referee André Proulx and his crew struggled would be a gross understatement. The game took three hours, 10 minutes to be completed and clearly displayed everything that’s wrong with the CFL and why it’s in a struggle to entice fans and interest. The amount of confusion on the Redblacks’ final drive from the officials was mind-boggling.

Inside the CFL: Khari Jones left the Alouettes with his head held high

  Inside the CFL: Khari Jones left the Alouettes with his head held high In the final year of his contract, and knowing he was not hired by general manager Danny Maciocia, former head coach Khari Jones was a dead man walking in many ways — especially when the Alouettes lost three of their first four games. The seemingly inevitable occurred July 6 — not surprisingly, during a bye week in the schedule — when Maciocia fired Jones along with defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles. While the likable Jones wasn’t unemployed for long, hired last Monday by Hamilton as a football operations consultant , he’s reluctant to rock the boat when discussing his Montreal tenure, knowing he works in a small, nine-team league.

And when everything was said and done, Danny Maciocia stated the amount of adversity his team had to overcome on the road could prove to be a defining moment.

“We won,” said the general manager and interim head coach. “It was a great stop by our defence. We handled the adversity and put 40 points up tonight and found a way to stop them down there. Chances are this team, maybe a week or two weeks ago, would have conceded that score. We didn’t and that’s huge.

“It’s actually okay that we went through all of this. I really believe it’s a good thing. I’m not going to say we experienced everything, but we experienced quite a bit today. Maybe that’s what we needed, for it to be hard; for people to have each other’s backs and for people to support one another. There was no finger-pointing, no heads hanging on the sideline. Keep believing, pushing and plugging. Keep finding a way. I don’t want to live this every single week but, for this week, I’m okay with it. Hopefully it gets a little bit easier.”

Als' QB removed from game against Ticats, but says he didn't suffer head injury

  Als' QB removed from game against Ticats, but says he didn't suffer head injury HAMILTON — On a night when numerous members of the Alouettes’ organization were perplexed why nothing seemed to go in their favour, Trevor Harris wondered what might have been had he not been removed for the game’s final play. With Montreal trailing by a converted touchdown to Hamilton Thursday night, the veteran quarterback mounted a furious comeback that fell just short. Harris completed a 24-yard pass to Eugene Lewis — faced with second down and 23 — then passed 13 yards to Jeshrun Antwi. Following an incompletion, Harris rushed for 17 yards.

The Als have a 2-4 record in the weak East Division and could easily be at least 3-3, having lost three games by a combined five points. But they also experienced some problems against, arguably, the league’s weakest team. It could be suggested Montreal was fortunate to escape with the win.

That’s not to suggest there weren’t some positives.

Trevor Harris had his most productive game this season, completing 25 of 31 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he avoided throwing any interceptions while utilizing nine different receivers. Hergy Mayala caught five passes for 102 yards, scoring once, while Reggie White Jr. finally broke through, making five receptions for 99 yards.

After failing to score in the first quarter, all of Montreal’s damage was inflicted over the final 45 minutes. And, although the Als have struggled in the second half, they outscored Ottawa 22-19 following the intermission. Harris was most effective with quick-hit passing plays, releasing the ball faster than at any point this season.

Montreal could have lost its composure after backup quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was surprisingly inserted for one play early in the fourth quarter — and promptly fumbled at the Redblacks’ 19. But they recovered and scored two touchdowns in the period.

Redblacks record first win by upsetting Argonauts 23-13

  Redblacks record first win by upsetting Argonauts 23-13 TORONTO — The Ottawa Redblacks felt like it was just a matter of time before they removed the zero from the left side of the CFL standings column. "Well it certainly breaks that 'well, you haven't won a game yet, right?'" Redblacks coach Paul LaPolice said after his club's 23-13 win against the Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field on Sunday. "We're happy to get a win and happy to survive for 24 hours and enjoy it." Ottawa receiver Jaelon Acklin had a touchdown reception and led his team with 144 receiving yards.

“I think we’re capable of that,” Harris said. “It’s just a matter of us executing week in and out. Our offence just needs to start faster. We needed a win.

“We were able to push the ball downfield a bit and loosen their zone coverages, get stuff underneath and get it to our playmakers. Whenever we can spread the ball out to our playmakers we’re always going to be in a good position.”

Adams wasn’t the only player who had difficulties securing the ball. Return specialist Chandler Worthy fumbled three times. Two were lost while the third resulted in an Ottawa safety. Nonetheless, Maciocia said he never contemplated benching the electrifying player.

“You have to believe in your people,” Maciocia said. “I don’t think that would have been a good message for us after everything he’s done. That’s part of going through that adversity.”

While the Als defensively created only one turnover, it proved to be huge. Najee Murray forced a fumble on a pass to Nate Behar that was recovered by middle-linebacker Micah Awe. His 68-yard return to the Ottawa three-yard line eventually resulted in a touchdown.

The Redblacks had 30 first downs and 469 yards’ net offence, but the Als’ defence stopped the final drive. In the end, that’s all that mattered.

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The Alouettes had a great game against the Blue Bombers — for 15 minutes .
The eternal optimist will suggest the Alouettes were able to play against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — the best team in the CFL — at home for 41 minutes on Thursday night. But the realist will look at the final score — 35-20 for the undefeated (9-0), two-time defending Grey Cup champions — and admit the Als simply aren’t good enough. The Bombers know how to win, while the Als continue searching for answers. Montreal has struggled in the third quarter this season, but outscored Winnipeg 11-7 during that 15-minute sequence. That meant the teams were tied 14-14 heading into the pivotal final frame, when the Als imploded, finding yet another way to lose while being outscored, 21-6.

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