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The ALSternative

Posted By Clifford Pine On Oct 1 2013 @ 7:01 pm In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumours of the Alouettes’ death have been greatly exaggerated.

It wasn’t pretty, but few of the Montreal Alouettes wins in 2013 have been. This past Sunday, they outlasted the Saskatchewan Roughriders by a score of 17-12 in front of their biggest home crowd of the season. Both offenses struggled in the first half; defense ended up being the name of the game.

After an impressive drive early on by the Riders to get to the Alouettes’ goal line, the Montreal defense stood tall not once, not twice but THREE times to keep Saskatchewan off the board. But the one defensive effort that really stood out on this day was that of Jerald Brown to end the third quarter.

With the RoughRiders pressing, Darian Durant threw a strike towards a very mobile Chris Getzlaf. But Brown read Durant’s eyes like a book and leapt into the air, snagging Durant’s pass with ONE hand! So impressive was Brown’s INT that the CFL’s web site even wondered aloud if the reception of the year just may have come from a defensive back!

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Quarterback is not the only position that has been bitten by the injury bug this season. The vaunted receiving corps of the Alouettes took a major blow earlier this year with Jamel Richardson’s season-ending injury. While you can’t easily replace a talent like J-Rich, the Alouettes found a suitable replacement with a very storied pedigree.

If you check out Duron Carter’s Twitter profile [1], his bio clearly states, “Like father like son I’m destined to be great, it’s in my blood.” And much like his father, NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, Duron is certainly doing all he can to be living up to such lofty standards.

It probably wasn’t easy to follow in his dad’s footsteps and had he not taken the detour into Montreal, perhaps Duron would have not had the chance to develop his game like he has this year for the Alouettes. He attended the Minnesota Vikings’ mini-camp this spring, but not even his famous bloodlines could convince the team to keep him around.

Sure enough, Jim Popp invited Duron to Alouettes training camp and he made the practice roster. When Richardson and Brandon London missed games this season, Duron came in and made an immediate impact, connecting with Tanner Marsh in a big way against the BC Lions at home.

Carter has now scored a touchdown in three of his last four games and this past Sunday was his coming-out party, electrifying this rag-tag offense at just the right time. They used to say about Cris Carter, “All he does is catch touchdown passes.” While it’s early still, they just may say the exact same thing about Duron Carter as well. A regular chip off the old block.

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Despite facing off in back to back Grey Cups, it’s still hard to call the Alouettes/RoughRiders match-up a rivalry. But it does seem that whenever these two squads hook up it’s always a closely played, hard-fought game that goes right down to the wire. I have not seen a game in Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, but I can testify that this game at Percival Molson Stadium was another ear-splitting affair.

Using my handy-dandy cell phone application to measure sound levels, I actually clocked the crowd noise during the final drive at being 100 decibels at its highest point. To put that into perspective, a jackhammer registers at about 110 decibels. So being amongst that crowd during the final drive of the game was akin to standing near a jackhammer doing its job.

While not nearly as boisterous as the crowd noise levels for the Seattle Seahawks, it’s still pretty impressive that Montreal’s (and Saskatchewan’s) fans can crank up the volume on defense when need be in what is considered the CFL’s smallest stadium.

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With Montreal’s win, they still sit third in the East and the possibility for Edmonton to cross over from the West for the playoffs is not yet a pipe dream. But if the Alouettes can walk into Commonwealth Stadium this Saturday and take advantage of the Eskimos’ quarterback woes, then they will create even more room for themselves in securing a playoff spot.

The Alouettes also announced that should they be able to host a playoff game, that it would not be played at Olympic Stadium as it had been for several years, but rather the usual home stadium of Percival Molson Stadium. While it’s not a complete impossibility for the Als to host a playoff game in 2013, it will certainly be a tall order to fill.

At 5-8, they would have to win at least one, if not both upcoming games versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. And while the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers have been dreadful this season, those teams can still pull off a win versus Montreal as well. So the Alouettes will have to really take full advantage of these next two games against the CFL’s cellar dwellers.

It would have been easy to write off this team after all it has been through this season, with a bizarre head coach hiring and more injuries than you can shake a stick at. But someway, somehow….this Montreal Alouettes team refuses to roll over and die.

There’s a handful of games before the playoffs start. And to be successful, the Alouettes just need to remember what another legendary football figure once said: “Just win, baby”.

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Don’t forget that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and that all eight teams of the Canadian Football League are raising awareness all month long. Be sure to check out www.cfl.ca/pink [2] for more info.

Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter [3] for live game tweets and so much more. Enjoy the game this Saturday, wherever you watch it.

GO ALS GO!!!

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[1] Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/DC_CHILLIN_8

[2] www.cfl.ca/pink: http://www.cfl.ca/pink

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