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Dirty Bird Blog: Bye Bye (Bye Week)

Posted By Clifford Pine On Aug 16 2011 @ 12:51 am In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

It’s always good to go into your bye week with a win and the Montreal Alouettes did just that by pasting the Edmonton Eskimos 27-4 last Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Als handled all aspects of the game with sheer dominance.

Anthony Calvillo made history not once, but twice by surpassing the 70,000 yard mark in passing and by notching his 400th touchdown pass. Defensively, the Alouettes put Ricky Ray through the ringer (try saying that 5 times fast!)  as the only Eskimo who produced any points was former Alouettes kicker Damon Duval. As for Montreal’s special teams, they were excellent in not giving the Eskimos much to work with. And quietly, Sean Whyte has caught fire with his field goal kicking by making 19 out of his last 19 attempts this season.

Making the most of his Alouettes debut was Moton Hopkins, who registered back-to-back sacks to Ricky Ray early in the game. The Als’ D has been hit hard with injuries this season and guys like Hopkins have to make the most of their chances. Suffice to say, keeping this big fella off the field will be a priority for opposing teams. Moton was left for dead by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but Jim Popp is always keeping his eyes open for talent. Other teams, be careful who you cut loose because our general manager will grab the best and the brightest!

Already rumblings are happening regarding the league leader in rushing, Brandon Whitaker. If he continues his current pace he’ll crack the 1000 yard mark, which would be an Alouettes first since Whitaker’s predecessor Avon Cobourne ran roughshod for Montreal in 2009. No disrespect towards Avon but with this impressive display so far by young Brandon, it looks like Jim Popp wasn’t so foolish in letting Cobourne sign with Hamilton after all.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…when Ramon Guzman comes gunning for you, prepare to be hit and hit hard. Just ask Jerome Messam, who took a punishing hit [1] (Play #4 at the 2:20 mark) in the 4th quarter that got everyone out of their seats. With Guzman, Hopkins, Kitwana Jones and the newly acquired Luc Mullinder, expect to see a lot more punishment from the Alouettes defense.

If I had to focus on a negative, it’d have to be the play of Kerry Watkins. However, let’s not forget that he had nasal surgery before training camp. After many years of consistent play where he’s been the biggest deep threat of the receiving corps, I think we can give #81 the benefit of the doubt for now. Even when he’s missed games due to injury, Kerry has still managed to get close to or over 1000 yards every season. He’ll be back to his usual stunning form before long and become AC’s preferred target once again.

This win was made even sweeter with the fact that it came against a team that had a winning record, which should quell some of the doubters. The Eskimos didn’t have Fred Stamps due to having surgery and they played a very tough team in Winnipeg the week previous, so expect Edmonton to learn from this and get ready for the rematch in late September.


I’ll be back later this week with another post; what I’ve seen so far this season and what I’m looking forward to as summer draws to a close and the quest for a 3rd straight Grey Cup marches on for our Alouettes. Bye weeks are tough, so hopefully I can get us through this and onto the Alouettes’ next game versus Calgary.


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[1] who took a punishing hit: http://www.cfl.ca/video/index/id/19785

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