One second. One act. One move.
The 2012 Montreal Alouettes season screeched to a halt this past Sunday, losing to the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL Eastern Final. And as disheartening as that is for this Alouettes fan & blogger, I freely admit that because of one moment on that football field my mind wasn’t on the loss itself, but rather a man and whether his dream died on that same field or not.
Marc-Olivier Brouillette is probably not yet a household name to Alouettes fans, but this season he has stepped up and quickly become one of the stars on defence. He’s faced adversity before health-wise and has become better for it as a result. But seeing him wheeled off the field in a neck brace was a sight that truly shook me for the remainder of that game.
From that point on, you could have cancelled the rest of the game and I would have been fine with that. I hate seeing any player get injured like that, that comes with the territory of football. But knowing it was a guy who I’ve become friends with makes it tougher for sure. The uncertainty of a instance like this and the utter helplessness that follows really does make you put things in perspective. Football really is just a game when it’s all said and done. It takes without giving and is impervious to remorse.
A wave of relief washed over me as word came out that the medical actions taken on the field were precautionary measures and Brouillette not only returned from the hospital to the dressing room at Olympic Stadium, but he also tweeted out a message to his Twitter followers that he was okay.
I know Marc-O will be back stronger than ever next season; it will take a lot more to stop this young dynamo.
Back to the game itself, Montreal started strong and then came out flat for the second half. It felt as though they were playing not to lose as opposed to trying to win. Was it the pressure to regain that Grey Cup form that ended up doing them in or was the bye week detrimental to the Alouettes?
I’m still baffled as to why anyone would suggest Brian Bratton was responsible for the loss, as the 3rd down pass to him bounced off his chest that ultimately sealed the Alouettes fate. I would rather want to know why Coach Trestman abandoned the solid running of Chris Jennings in order to get closer to the end zone. Jennings played a strong game at RB in the absence of Brandon Whitaker & Victor Anderson.
Much like the Clagary/Saskatchewan game the week previous, my fear was that the Alouettes would have tied the game with too much time left on the clock had AC’s quick strikes connected in the end zone. Running the ball more would have helped alleviate that.
Anthony Calvillo failed to connect in that series, seemingly looking to make that big highlight play when ideally running the ball and taking time off the clock would have made more sense. But this is why I blog and they execute.
So has the mystique been shattered now that the Alouettes have lost 2 straight playoff games at the Big O? While the prospect of 50,000 Alouettes fans sounded daunting, the Argos endured some early jitters and found a way to win. Simple as that. They now get to play at home for the Grey Cup and the Alouettes and their faithful fans can only wonder what if.
With the end of the season now comes the usual questions that befall the Alouettes: Will AC call it a career? Does Adrian McPherson become the next Alouettes QB or not? Will Marc Trestman eschew his contract extension and head to the NFL? Who will stay & go as free agency looms? What will the cold winter months mean for this team?
I’ll delve more into that during the off-season, but I do see a good young nucleus forming with this team. I think this loss will serve as motivation for these guys to come back a bit wiser and a lot better. History points out that the last time the Alouettes lost an Eastern Final at home to Toronto, they went on to appear in 5 of the next seven Grey Cup games. This team is always built to compete and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
In a lot of ways, this was a rebuilding year with the wholesale changes made on defense. Tweaks were made along the way in other areas and this recent loss notwithstanding, Anthony Calvillo still remains an elite QB in the CFL.
As usual, Anthony will take a bit of time to reflect on this season before deciding on his future in this league. If I were to make a prediction, I’d say that as long as he feels healthy, he’ll pursue that one final Grey Cup ring with everything he has before finally calling it a career.
The only thing we can guarantee for the 2013 season is that if I have a breath in this body, I will be at training camp the first weekend of June ready for another Montreal Alouettes football season.
The Alouettes season may be over, but there is still one more football game to be played. And yours truly is going to document it all here for your reading pleasure.
Starting Thursday, I will be in Toronto to take in as much of the Grey Cup weekend as humanly possible. The plan is to do a daily recap of the day’s events, leading up to the big game itself. I plan on meeting with fans from all over the country and with their help, show the world what the CFL means to them.
It won’t be easy watching two other teams play for the Grey Cup, but I fully expect Alouettes fans to come on out and represent the team with pride in Toronto.
So tune back to this blog later this week for a daily update as well as follow along on Twitter for real-time updates as I help Canada celebrate the 100th edition of the biggest football party of the year.
GO ALS GO!!!
About the Author
Written by Clifford Pine
Montreal born & bred, lover of sports. Passionate about the Montreal Alouettes. Also a great cook & not too bad a dancer.