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Dirty Bird Blog: Nobody’s Perfect

Posted By Clifford Pine On Jul 26 2011 @ 1:41 pm In Montreal Alouettes | 1 Comment

I think I’ll go buy a lottery ticket….I didn’t mean to jinx the Alouettes by suggesting that last Sunday’s tilt versus the RoughRiders wouldn’t be the cakewalk many others assumed it would be. It’s easy to be overconfident considering each team’s record going into this match.

But Saskatchewan, having been embarrassed by the Alouettes in their backyard, needed to make a statement and did just that this past Sunday. In the process, they knocked Anthony Calvillo out of the game and were in the driver’s seat for pretty much the entire 4 quarters.  The win was the Riders’ first and the loss was the Alouettes’ first of the year. If these two rivals are to meet again this year for a rubber match, they would each have to win a pretty big game the weekend of November 20th.

So what happened? From my vantage point, it just seemed like the Alouettes just couldn’t get into a rhythm on either side of the ball. Even before Calvillo was taken out of the game with an eye injury, he wasn’t connecting with his usual accuracy. The Riders’ D played inspired football, possibly fearful of more sweeping changes by management in the wake of Tad Kornegay’s sudden dismissal.

After Adrian McPherson came in for relief at QB, the pressure continued and the O-Line crumbled, not allowing their young quarterback time to properly read the defence and have to scramble as a result. During the pre-season, Mac5 was quite the pocket passer and looked at total ease running the offence. But this past Sunday, the pocket constantly collapsed around him and he was forced to move the ball with his feet. With all the receivers we have waiting for his passes, this cannot continue with the success we Alouettes fans are used to.

Miraculously, Mac5 was able to get the Alouettes back to within striking distance. But an ill-advised unnecessary roughness penalty against Saskatchewan’s kicker breathed new life in them. Now pardon me just a second, but since when did roughing the kicker (normally a 10 yard penalty and SSK was at 3rd down & 11 deep in their own end) become a 15 yard penalty? Not to mention numerous other missed pass interference calls. It’s not sour grapes on my part, but a lot of these calls were quite suspect.

And yes, we shot ourselves in the foot when Dwight Anderson got overzealous against Weston Dressler and cost us a major penalty as well just when the tide was starting to turn.  This isn’t about being biased, fair needs to be fair. At the end of the day, the Alouettes were fortunate to lose by only 3 points despite all that had happened.

There’s no time to lick their wounds though as they have a game in Hamilton this Friday to prepare for. And it sounds like from his Twitter account, current Tiger-Cat/former Alouette Avon Cobourne is chomping at the bit to meet his former teammates on the field. I’ll expand on that in my next blog before Friday.

As this goes viral, Alouettes fans can breathe a sigh of relief as Anthony Calvillo was cleared medically to play this Friday versus Hamilton.  I did see AC leave the stadium with his family en route to the hospital and he was in good spirits.

While that is great news, I’d have no problem letting Adrian McPherson getting the start to become more familiar with the current offence in the event that if Calvillo goes down again, the team will feel as confident with Mac5 that they do with AC. I feel that was a big reason why it took as long as it did to get going for the Alouettes. If McPherson is going to succeed this team one day from Calvillo, he’s going to need to know that the guys playing in front of him also have his back.


The atmosphere for the game this past Sunday was fun as always. Riders fans are in every city where there’s a CFL team and Montreal is no exception. Something that doesn’t always happen in Montreal though is a tailgate party. For those who have never been to Percival Molson Stadium, it’s situated literally on the side of a mountain. Parking is at a premium in that area of the city no major outdoor lots to set up a tailgate like in other CFL & NFL cities.

There’s a lot of park space next to the stadium, but you wouldn’t be able to drive up with a car or van to set up in the normal manner. However, a bunch of pragmatic Alouettes fans have found a way to make it work. Thanks to the fellas at http://www.lesgarsquivivent.com [1], they managed to set up an area complete with booze, barbecue and good times. We even had Saskatchewan fans stop by for some fun:


Alouettes fans are so hospitable, we even gave this Riders fan his own watermelon helmet right on the spot!

It was tiny compared to your typical NFL tailgate affair, but the longest journey begins with a single step. Hopefully the word will get out and more people will do what they can to further enhance the football experience for Montreal fans. So my hat’s off to these fellas and I look forward to seeing it grow as time goes by. Check out their web site [1] and learn more (N.B.: The website is all in French, but they do speak English)


That’s it for now,  I’ll be back before Friday to preview the game.


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