For the 18th year in a row, the Montreal Alouettes are going to the playoffs!!
This was already decided upon long before the Alouettes took the field for the last time at home this past Sunday, as the Toronto Argonauts had beaten the Winnipeg Blue Bombers the night before.
Winnipeg’s loss ensured that Montreal can finish no worse than third in the East. So with that pressure off, all Troy Smith had to do as the Alouettes’ starting quarterback was play smart and protect the football. But Troy did just a little more.
The Heisman Trophy-winning QB put on a spectacle of offensive prowess, easily defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by a score of 36-5 and guiding the Als to their most dominant victory of the season. In fact, of those 5 points only 3 were actually scored by a Hamilton player!
Smith shook off some initial jitters and threw for three touchdowns, finding S.J. Green and Arland Bruce in the end zone. And don’t look now, but running back Tyrell Sutton is on a three game rushing touchdown streak!
As easy as it was to focus on Smith and his impressive first CFL start, full credit has to go to the defense for the win this past Sunday. Henry Burris is one of the most elite quarterbacks in the CFL and he couldn’t get ANYTHING going versus this stingy Montreal defense.
Burris was sacked, picked off and had more passes dropped than I can recall in recent memory. Aside from one spectacular throw to Andy Fantuz to set up the lone field goal for Hamilton, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that Smilin’ Hank was even playing! Montreal’s D was just that powerful this past Sunday.
Making his return to the Alouettes was Bo Bowling, who was “retired” due to an ankle injury in the off-season. He certainly showed no sign of a bad wheel as he returned punts for the Alouettes, including a show-stopping return for 58 yards!
While Bowling doesn’t have the blazing speed that Tyron Carrier has on returns, he’s still pretty quick and holding onto the ball is a much more pressing matter for this special teams unit. And Bowling provides that.
He also got into the offense, helping Troy Smith make the first of several highlight reel completions. His small stature and ability to catch the impossible pass has made many Als fans compare him to the legendary Ben Cahoon.
After the game, I caught up with Bo and we chuckled about his “retirement”. Any nagging injuries have been healed up and he provides this team with instant play-making. I am looking forward to seeing what else this young man has to bring to the Alouettes as 2013 comes to a close.
Now the question becomes, can they do it all over again? It’s another short week for the Alouettes as they head to Guelph for the second part of this home and home series with the Ti-Cats. This will also be the rubber match for these two teams and Saturday’s winner will greatly strengthen their ideal playoff scenarios.
Hamilton wins, they clinch the right to host a playoff game in Guelph (whose stadium issues should prove interesting all by itself). Montreal wins, their chances of hosting a playoff game at Molson Stadium gets much better. A lot will still have to do with Toronto, as they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at
The Skydome Rogers Centre.
The Argos only need one more win to clinch first place in the East and a first-round bye. So Alouettes fans may as well get used to seeing Smilin’ Hank and the Ti-Cats. And Hamilton has proven to be a tough team to beat at home, even when home was in Moncton, NB.
Hopefully this past Sunday’s win, buoyed by the Fan Train supporters who will be there this Saturday to cheer on the Alouettes, will be the spark that this Montreal team needs to keep the good times going.
It was a neat little nod to the past this Sunday as the Alouettes broke out their black alternate uniforms for the game. Their first appearance since 2010, coupled with the pink accessories for CFL Pink, certainly made for an interesting sight on the field. One player who was thrilled to be wearing the black unis was Kyries Hebert.
During last year’s season finale, I finally got to meet the Angry Bird and I just happened to be wearing my own black Alouettes jersey. Incredulous, he took one look and said, “Man, I like that! How come we don’t wear those?!”
It’s funny, because among fans these uniforms are very polarizing; you either love them or hate them. I personally like them mostly because black is my favourite colour, but do wish they had a logo or something else on them to make it more identifiable as an Alouettes jersey.
In any event, when I spoke to Kyries after the game he was extremely excited to have FINALLY worn the black jerseys. Even one of his daughters now owns a black Als jersey adorned with the name ANGRY BIRD & the #34. Clearly, Hebert believes in, “Look good, feel good. Feel good, play good”.
Apropos of nothing, the team DOES have a record of 8-4 when wearing the black jerseys, so take that for what it’s worth. I guess black is the new…black?
And thus ends the fashion portion of this football blog.
I am looking forward to checking out the Guelph experience this weekend. Although I can’t help but think that it will be just like it was in Moncton. Regardless, I can only hope as an Alouettes fan that the final score is different this time around.
Enjoy the game on Saturday, wherever you are watching it. And if you are going on the Alouettes Fan Train, be prepared for an awesome day and night!
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.