Is everyone back safely on the bandwagon now? What a difference a week makes….
After an abysmal effort out in Calgary, the Montreal Alouettes licked their wounds, regrouped and took out their frustrations on the BC Lions in front of the Molson Stadium faithful. Montreal controlled nearly every aspect of the game, winning 24-9 and evening up their record at 1-1. From the start of the match, Montreal was determined not to lose this first home game of the season.
BC’s offensive line was porous, to say the least. Montreal’s defense, which was tops in the league last year, slid through them like a hot knife through butter and Kevin Glenn was constantly attacked. The D set the tone very early with a Scott Paxton interception that was flipped to Chip Cox for a touchdown. Both John Bowman and Alan-Michael Cash got to Glenn several times and planted him on the ground. So stellar was the defense that they actually shut out the Lions for the entire first half!
Offensively, the Alouettes were a much different team than the week previous. While Troy Smith still had more work to do, he was a lot more poised and he finally started using his legs to move the football down field. Smith FINALLY connected with S.J. Green for an absolutely jaw-dropping one-handed catch (That upon further video review, was actually incomplete but BC wasn’t able to challenge the call in time. Thus, it stands.)
The rest of the receiving corps helped out Smith, as Brandon London made some timely grabs. And while everyone is waiting for Chad Johnson to light up the scoreboard, he was throwing some timely blocks for young Kenny Stafford, who is NOT someone to sleep on if you’re an opposing defender. Much like his cousin Duron Carter, he is only going to get better as the season chugs along.
Troy also got a helping hand from Brandon Whitaker, who may finally be back to the 2011 form that saw him lead the league in rushing. Of his 12 carries, his most impressive came as he scampered 32 yards for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Those two touchdowns plus 12 total points off the foot of Sean Whyte made for an exciting first win of 2014. Now the Alouettes will have to try and do it all over again in two weeks when the Alouettes visit the Lions for the rematch. With Winnipeg coming in hot and BC going 0-2, it’s starting to feel a bit like 2011 again in the Canadian Football League.
Sure enough, the bandwagoners who were gnashing their teeth and predicting doom for the Alouettes online are satiated for the time being. Or maybe that had to do with the Alouettes’ new Fan Zone, which made its regular season debut this past Friday.
I was too engrossed in the game to check it out fully, but during TV timeouts I glanced over and it was busy! Beer tents to help fans stay hydrated, smoked turkey legs in case you didn’t make it to the Alouettes’ tailgate party, and so much more. Numerous fans were there being social and making good use of the area. Be sure to check it out this season when you come to a game.
In both a positive and negative way, the Alouettes’ home opener out-drew both Saskatchewan and Toronto’s respective home openers. I say positively because nothing will ever top the game day experience live. I say negatively because the final tally was a paltry shade over 20, 000; at least 4 grand away from selling out the joint.
Perhaps it was the previous game that deterred fans, or perhaps it was the Montreal Jazz Festival that kept the team from selling out the game. I’m sure a lot of fans are also treading cautiously as this new era of Alouettes football sans Anthony Calvillo promises no glory. The city of Montreal is used to winners and for the first time in ages, a winning record is not etched in stone like it seemingly has been before.
Hopefully this win, along with this Friday’s white-out game (I’ll detail this more later on in the week), will convince those casual fans to hop off the fence and support these Alouettes. You can’t say that the front office isn’t trying new things to get you off the couch and through the stadium doors!
That’ll do it for now. This was a great win, but already the Alouettes are back practicing and preparing for the next game. There’s a true test this Friday as the surprising Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in town. They have gone through a complete overhaul as well and despite their previous woes, always play really well at Molson Stadium. The Alouettes will not be taking them lightly.
I’ll be back later this week with a game preview. As always, follow along on Twitter for more news and thoughts.
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.