That sure was a great first quarter, wasn’t it?
After dominating on all aspects of the field initially, the Montreal Alouettes sat on their lead and watch it run away from them. That first quarter gave Alouettes fans hope that maybe, just maybe, the ship was righted and this was the team we have come to expect.
And then it all fell apart. The Calgary Stampeders were the epitome of never giving up, even when their backup QB Kevin Glenn was injured. With a stellar defense and Jon Cornish finding his running game again, the Stamps completed one of the biggest comebacks in CFL history by beating Montreal 38-27.
Squandered leads in the CFL happen all the time. But this wasn’t a case of building a lead and then being edged out at the last second. After a powerful first quarter, Montreal did absolutely nothing to maintain dominance in this match.
There was certainly a number of regrettable moves during the game, but one glaring moment that could quite possibly sum up the Dan Hawkins era in a nutshell came in the third quarter on a 3rd and 1 attempt.
The Alouettes needed a long yard for the first down and chose to go for it rather than punting into the wind and to former Alouette Larry Taylor, who is still much feared for his return speed. In years past, the backup QB would come in and dive forward with the ball for that first down. But there seems to be no faith in that task for either of Montreal’s backups this year.
Instead, Anthony Calvillo lines up in the shotgun formation in order to hand the ball off to Jerome Messam, who’s got great speed AND can power through offensive lines like a hot knife through butter. But doing all this means Messam is a good 3-4 yards back. In essence, going backwards to go forward. Extra work and it was all for naught.
If I was allowed to ask Coach Hawkins one question after the game, it would have been why not do what worked last week; letting Messam line up behind centre? Last week Brandon Whitaker successfully got two first downs doing this and he gives up 6 inches in height and over 40 pounds to Messam. So based on that alone, why not go with what worked last week?!?!
Perhaps most disheartening is the seemingly lack of urgency in both Hawkins and Miller in post-game pressers. Yes, some things are clicking. Yes, some points are being scored. And calling a spade a spade, the Trestman coaching era certainly sat on leads and left points on the field as well. Far from perfect.
But there doesn’t seem to be that sense of concern from these two when this team has the talent that it does and can only muster scores in spurts, if at all.
Is it the American arrogance, that the CFL is bush league in their eyes and their brilliant schemes should be easy to accomplish? Or is it simply a case of pure ineptitude and just being able to provide enough bravado for self-preservation?
Montreal’s got a short week, playing the Eskimos at home before the bye week. If these coaches can’t pull out a victory, Jim Popp is going to have to take a long hard look at this situation and fix it post-haste.
So football fans are all a-flutter regarding Calgary kicker Rene Paredes’ shot of tying Paul McCallum’s field goal streak and the dubious nature in which that streak has been allowed to continue. Despite his 30th attempt being blocked by John Bowman, a curious rule in the CFL rulebook states that the ball must cross the line of scrimmage in order to be considered an actual kick.
As a result, Paredes was only charged with a fumble and his chance to make history continues this week in Winnipeg. While rules are rules, I still have a hard time with this interpretation of the rule and I am not the only one.
This quote I read from BC Lions head coach Mike Benevides sums it up for me:
“It’s different if the exchange is fumbled and it’s never kicked. The fact is, [Paredes] kicked it and he has nothing to do with the blocking. The play was not executed. It did come off his foot. It’s different if it doesn’t come off his foot.”
I can’t argue that point and I imagine most wouldn’t be able to either. Just chalk it up to simply saying, “Only in the CFL” .
Remember when I said I don’t do predictions? Well, for one week only I am changing that ideal! This week on CFL.ca, I am taking on resident CFL expert Matt Cauz in this week’s edition of Fan-tasy.
Each week throughout this CFL season, one fan is chosen to make picks as to which players will excel versus the players chosen by Cauz. The winner gets bragging rights for the following week. As it stands right now, the CFL fans are sitting at 2-2.
Here’s hoping I can be the tiebreaker. You can see what our choices were by clicking here. I chose to be objective with my picks and not go the homer route in picking all Alouettes. May the best fantasy team win!
Got an interesting fact sent my way yesterday on Twitter….the last time the Saskatchewan Roughriders went 4-0 to start the season, the Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup.
I couldn’t help but notice some other facts about that 2008 season: Who did the Stamps beat for that Grey Cup? The Alouettes. And the Als started that season 2-3, with a brand new head coach that had no CFL experience.
And we have a new head coach this year, don’t we? With no CFL experience? And our record is certainly not a winning one now, right??
It’s not easy to be positive right now, but let’s step off the ledge just for a bit….
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.