Sorry to spoil the party, Winnipeggers….
The Montreal Alouettes won their season opener on the road at the sparkling new Investors Group Field, beating the Blue Bombers 38-34. Montreal dominated in all areas of the game initially, but then they let Winnipeg back in and almost seemed to get swallowed up by the raucous crowd as a result.
But there never seemed to be any panic from Dan Hawkins and his coaching staff, as the Alouettes played a strong fourth quarter and did just enough to come back and take this first of three matches in 2013 versus the Bombers. Round two goes tomorrow at 7pm to open Percival Molson Stadium.
Among the highlights of last week’s game:
- Tyron Carrier’s punt return for a TD. It’s clear as day that the Alouettes needed some serious attention paid to this area of the football team. And last week, they got it in spades. Watching the speedy youngster evade defenders and then turn on the jets to score was simply marvelous. Both he and Noel Devine shared return duties and neither looked out of place.
- Sean Whyte’s cool demeanour. He did have a punt returned for a touchdown but aside from that, The Whyte Knight settled in and was money on every one of his 5 field goal attempts. That along with rouges and an extremely well-placed punt to bury the Blue Bombers deep in their own end, Whyte was a key factor in overcoming the 3rd quarter deficit to win this first game.
- Sweet Jesus Green! Actually it stands for Soloman Junior, but #19 was the preferred target of Anthony Calvillo as S.J. Green got a lot of his quarterback’s attention. And Green will go down in history as the recipient of AC’s 450th touchdown pass. There’s a good chance that all 4 members of AC’s receiving corps can top the 1000 yard mark this season and S.J. certainly got the ball rolling.
-Defense with a capital D. While allowing 34 points doesn’t scream strong defensive effort, the Alouettes forced many turnovers and did a lot to stifle Bombers QB Buck Pierce and nearly send him back to the disabled list, where he has spent the better part of three seasons. As this season progresses, expect to see a lot more punishment on opposing QBs from these “Birds of Prey”.
-First wins are the sweetest. Dan Hawkins will never be Marc Trestman. He won’t be Don Matthews or Marv Levy either. But he is going to leave his own mark on this Alouettes team and I am more than willing to give this coach the benefit of the doubt. He didn’t look out of place or frightened when things turned in Winnipeg’s favour. He clearly has a vision and is working it from start to finish.
There’s still a lot that needs to be improved (giving Calvillo some pocket protection, among others.) but if this team can build upon these aforementioned points, there will be a lot of happy fans wearing blue, red and silver on Montreal’s mountain top this CFL season.
People go on and on about Rider Nation and their fans’ dedication, and rightly so. Their team store makes a killing as fans will seemingly buy any merchandise that’s green and white with a giant S on it. Montreal’s Zone Rouge has a ways to go in catching up with the Rider Store, but they do get some good ideas as well.
If you bring in an old Alouettes jersey to the game tomorrow, you’ll save up to 25% towards a newer jersey! And all the old jerseys will be donated to Share The Warmth, a wonderful charity paying it forward. And believe me Alouettes fans, I see a lot of raggedy old jerseys in the stands. It’s time for an upgrade.
And be sure to see my dude Cameron at the Zone Rouge to get your new jersey customized on the spot with your very own name and number. For more details, click here.
This will be my tenth straight home opening game attended and as always, I cannot be more excited. In a lot of ways, the Alouettes home opener is my official start to summer. Weather has usually been good for the game and the stadium’s energy is like no other.
It won’t be quite as loud as what Winnipeg was last week in their new digs, but I can’t think of a better place to watch some great football than my team’s stadium. Truly, there’s no place like home.
Hope to see many of you there tomorrow. If not, check me on the Tweeter machine for game day pics and more.
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.