Threes the charm for Als

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:45 AM ET

The way they were getting scorched defensively, it seemed as though the Montreal Alouettes were in for a long afternoon Sunday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Yet, when it mattered most, the Alouettes defence was able to keep the Edmonton Eskimos out of the end zone, making them settle for field goals.

That proved to be the difference for the visitors in a 33-23 come-from-behind win.

“It was a game of ups and downs. There were a lot of mistakes out there, but I certainly felt both teams played hard,” said Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman. “I certainly felt that our guys played as hard as they could throughout the four quarters.

“They had a lot of big plays and they were inside the 10-yard line on two or three occasions and we were able to hold them to three points, which proved to be the difference.”

Statistically, the Eskimos dominated the contest as quarterback Ricky Ray threw for 340 yards and Arkee Whitlock ran for 99.

The Eskimos racked up 443 yards of total offence to the Alouettes’ 309.

However, the only number that ultimately matters is on the scoreboard and despite moving the ball at will through the first three quarters, the Eskimos were only able to build a 12-point lead.

Cut deficit

A 75-yard drive at the end of the third quarter capped off by an Anthony Calvillo 20-yard touchdown pass to Brian Bratton, cut the Alouettes’ deficit to five.

Then early in the fourth, Jerald Brown stepped in front of a Ray pass and took it 22 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

“It was a hard-fought game, they came out to play, but our defence kept them out of the end zone, that was the biggest thing,” said Calvillo. “They gave us a chance and then they created those turnovers that we were able to capitalize on that gave us the victory.

“Without a doubt, if they would have scored touchdowns, it would have been a different story. But the fact that our defence kept them from scoring touchdowns, gave us an opportunity to stay in the game and then we came and fought back.”

The Eskimos didn’t do themselves any favours, as Kelly Campbell and Fred Stamps both dropped touchdown passes that would have extended the Eskimos lead and probably put the game away.

Gifts taken

The Alouettes took the gifts and made the Eskimos pay for their lack of finish.

Following Brown’s interception that gave the Alouettes a three-point lead, Etienne Boulay picked off Ray at midfield, which led to another touchdown.

On the ensuing play, Calvillo went for the jugular with a bomb to Kerry Watkins, who was held up by Eskimos defensive back Jason Goss. The pass interference penalty gave the Alouettes the ball on the Eskimos six-yard line where Calvillo hit Watkins in the end zone.

“We have to play better as an offensive unit,” Calvillo said. “Our defence came in there and held them to a couple of field goals and gave us a chance. It was a great effort by them.”

Once they took the lead, the Alouettes defence stepped up to shut the Eskimos down. The Eskimos could only come within 40 yards of the Alouettes end zone.

“We knew they were going to get big plays — they have a great quarterback in Ricky Ray, they have great receivers and have a lot of speed on their team,” said Trestman. “Our focus after a big play was to just focus on the next play and just continue to play.

“The guys did a great job getting turnovers in the second half that catapulted us to points. It was a very tough win on the road.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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