In 2013, the Montreal Alouettes’ toughest opponent just may be….the Montreal Alouettes.
Despite a beautiful day at Molson Stadium, the Montreal Alouettes squandered a major opportunity this past Sunday to take over first place in the Eastern division, losing to the Toronto Argonauts by a score of 37-30.
The Alouettes were in control for the first three quarters, but took their foot off the pedal and made some costly mistakes that practically gift-wrapped the victory for the Double Blue.
Even more hurtful was the lack of Ricky Ray and Chad Owens in the Argos lineup, so this really was a chance for the Als to capitalize on an team that was going through injury issues of its own. But rather, the Argos surely had to be insulted by losing the way they did five days earlier in their own barn and they were the ones who played like the second-place team that had to win.
Now the Alouettes sit in third, a mere two games in front of Winnipeg who are about to play the woeful Edmonton Eskimos in a home and home series. If Montreal can’t find a way to win versus BC this coming Sunday or Hamilton at Touchdown Atlantic, there’s a good chance of them being dead last in the East before the month is done.
Once again Tanner Marsh is shouldering all the blame for the loss, citing what he claims is poor decision making. There’s no questioning his ability or desire to play well, but I have to wonder if he’s trying too hard to make something happen out of nothing. I also have to question some of the plays being called by Doug Berry.
Most glaring was the trick play in the 4th quarter that had S.J. Green throwing what turned out to be an interception. No, you didn’t misread that. Green, the talented wide receiver extraordinaire, attempted to throw a pass. That pass was easily intercepted; so easily that you would almost think it was destined for Jamie Robinson, the Argos defender who snagged it.
Unfortunate indeed, but there was several miscues and they certainly weren’t all Marsh’s fault. But these past two weeks saw the young QB lead the team with such efficiency that maybe we forgot for a second that he’s still a young rookie learning how to be a leader. Wins are not automatic with Marsh; he’ll make mistakes and he’ll lose games. But the one thing that I still don’t see happening with Tanner is panic.
He is still staying calm and is still learning from his mistakes. He is also still making some incredible passes and seems to have found some chemistry with WR Duron Carter, another youngster looking to make his mark in the CFL. It also helps to have a punishing RB like Jerome Messam in the backfield. His 32 yard reception in the final drive gave the Alouettes plenty of hope for that last minute comeback.
Despite Montreal’s injury woes, this team still has a wealth of talent. And my faith has not wavered that it will come together at the right time. There’s still a lot of football to be played in 2013 and right now, anyone in the Canadian Football League can be beaten.
But now the Alouettes have an interesting wrinkle to deal with, flying to Vancouver this weekend to play the BC Lions on Sunday, then playing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Moncton the following Saturday. Two completely different time zones in the span of a week. How will the Alouettes cope with that, as well as the stigma that hangs over playing at B.C. Place, where they have not won a game since 2000?
Every year the Alouettes play one game at BC Place and every year, they seem to lose that game. Sometimes by a lot, sometmes by a little. They have even lost a Grey Cup in that building to the Edmonton Eskimos. So what is it about the dome on the Left Coast that consistently has the Alouettes’ number?
Anthony Calvillo usually plays this game, so maybe a new quarterback who has beaten the Lions before will break this dubious streak of Montreal’s. Even if this young QB was probably trading Pokemon cards in elementary school the last time the Alouettes won a game at BC Place.
There’s also the national showcase that comes with playing at Touchdown Atlantic, which has been described as a miniature version of the Grey Cup in terms of fan celebration and events leading up to the game itself. While the players are professionals and won’t use the travel as an excuse, any jet-lagged business traveler will tell you that it will no doubt take its toll.
This game in Moncton will be a road game technically for the Alouettes but I have to wonder, with New Brunswick’s close ties to French Canada and the proximity to Montreal, that this won’t be a de-facto home game for the Alouettes. I will be at this game, so I am personally looking forward to the whole East Coast CFL experience and yes, I will be sharing it with you all here in this blog. Stay tuned!
This weekend for you fans, there will be an Alouettes festival happening in Repentigny, QC. Not only is it a chance for you to meet some of the players and participate in a fun atmosphere, it’s a great chance to support youth football in Quebec, which is growing stronger every day.
For more info on the event and directions, click here.
As always, I remain positive about this Alouettes team. Not every year is going to boast a 15-3 record like in 2009. Not every year will feature a Grey Cup win. This may very well be one of the few years where the Alouettes sport a losing record. Since the return in 1996, the Alouettes have only had ONE losing season so we fans really can’t complain too much!
But I look at what’s in our future and I see some young leaders that are finding their way. I see talented men who could very well be winning Grey Cups for the Alouettes in a few years’ time. This season was supposed to be one of transition and that is exactly what’s happening.
This season is far from over. And if this football team, with all its turmoil and injury woes, hasn’t quit on the season then neither should anyone who calls themselves a fan of the Montreal Alouettes.
Enjoy the game Sunday afternoon, wherever you watch it.
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.