Eskimos comeback falls short against Alouettes
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Eskimos quarterback Matt Nichols is tackled by Alouettes defensive tackle Alan-Michael Cash in Montreal, Que., Oct. 28, 2012. (OLIVIER JEAN/Reuters)
MONTREAL - Backup quarterback Matt Nichols accomplished more in 10 minutes of relief work than the Edmonton Eskimos offence did in the first 3 1/3 quarters of a 27-25 loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday.
The 23,312 in attendance for the final home game of the regular season at Percival Molson Stadium watched helplessly as a 16-point Alouettes lead faded after starting Eskimos quarterback Kerry Joseph left in the fourth quarter with a lacerated middle finger on his throwing hand.
In his place, Nichols completed nine of 15 passes for 230 yards, an interception and three touchdowns.
The first was to all-star slotback Fred Stamps, who did some diagonal redirection to turn it into a 95-yard reception into the end zone, before Marcus Henry caught a two-point conversion to trail the Alouettes 20-12.
“Matt did a great job, we were in a no-huddle and he handled the situation well,” said Joseph, who struggled against Montreal’s defence with 10 of 19 completions for 116 yards and an interception. “He was able to push the ball down the field and that’s the type of offence we need to be.”
Rookie receiver Shamawd Chambers then came up with a 48-yard reception, only to have it called back on a penalty before Nichols’s next pass was picked off by defensive halfback Dwight Anderson, interrupting the comeback.
Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo became the first player in CFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season seven times, thanks to a 321-yard passing performance on 21 of 35 completions for two touchdowns and two interceptions Sunday.
He threw the winning touchdown to offensive guard Ryan Bomben, who lined up at tight end to get his clutches on a five-yard pass at the back of the end zone for a 27-12 lead.
But Nichols completed a six-yard connection with Chambers, who stretched to break the plane of the end zone and pull within eight points, before Stamps caught his second touchdown on a 13-yard toss as time ran out.
Looking to tie the game, the ensuing two-point conversion fell incomplete as receiver Cary Koch was bumped off the line.
“(Nichols) came in and gave us a spark. He did a good job, that’s the type of player he is. He’s a playmaker,” said Stamps, who finished with a game-high 128 yards and two touchdowns on four catches. “The first thing he said when he came in and called the play out, he said: ‘Come on, let’s go. Time to pick it up.’
“What more could you expect from your quarterback?”
Since Marc Trestman took over as Alouettes head coach in 2008, the Eskimos haven’t won in Montreal, losing by a combined 184-64 in their previous four regular-season meetings.
While a win on Sunday would have guaranteed the Eskimos a playoff berth, they will have another opportunity at it on Friday (7 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED).
Eskimos middle linebacker J.C. Sherritt had four tackles set an Eskimos club record with his 119th of the year, and is 10 off of Calvin Tiggle’s CFL single-season record of 129.