It is 30 minutes of domination for backup back

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Eric Lapointe insists he wasn't trying to make a point.

With starting running back Robert Edwards sidelined because of damaged ribs, Lapointe was inserted into the Alouettes backfield and began to impose his will.

Running with a vengeance behind a dominating offensive line, Lapointe scored three touchdowns, rushed for 112 yards on 15 carries and fuelled Montreal to its 33-17 win yesterday over the Argos in the East final.

Lapointe posted his numbers all in the second half, a 30-minute stretch where the Als controlled the clock, the game, forced turnovers and generally played like a superior team.

The classy Canuck and former Argo prepared as if yesterday was just another game and expected to flex his muscles on special teams.

But as the football fates would have it, Lapointe was thrust into the spotlight after Edwards, a 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season, cracked his ribs.

Edwards' status for next Sunday's Grey Cup in Vancouver is up in the air.

"I'm not even sure the Argos were expecting me to run the ball," Lapointe said in the jubilant Als dressing room. "My mind was set to play hard on special teams, make some tackles and help motivate everyone.

LESS PRESSURE

"There was a lot less pressure when I came on to the field because no one was expecting anything."

Except for the unexpected.

The Als trailed 14-0 after the opening quarter and 14-6 at halftime, but began to take control on the opening drive of the second half.

"The reason we're going to the Grey Cup is our offensive line," Lapointe said. "That group is the reason why we're playing next week."

Take away the opening 15 minutes and the Als played a near-perfect game. They never yielded a sack and did not commit a single turnover in turning the tables on an Argos team that went into Montreal last year to spoil the Alouettes' party.

"Eric is a proven back," offensive lineman Paul Lambert said. "He is so fast and it was great to see him run like that."

Edwards was also complimentary of his understudy.

"When Eric has been given a chance, he has played well his whole career," Edwards said. "No one should be surprised at what he did in such a big game. I know I'm not."

Lambert said the O-line didn't change any of its blocking schemes once Lapointe was asked to carry the load.

Lambert felt the key was the way Montreal marched down the field on its opening possession in the second half.

"We knew it would be the most important drive," Lambert said of a 12-play series capped by a one-yard touchdown plunge by Lapointe on third down.

"We all believed in each other and now we're headed to the Grey Cup," Lambert said.


Videos

Photos