August 16, 2012
Calvillo's hazy recollection of last year's big hit
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Anthony Calvillo remembers his last game in Commonwealth Stadium.
Particularly for the fact that he didn't get to finish out the 34-21 win over the Edmonton Eskimos back on Sept. 23, 2011.
"I didn't? I don't remember that," joked the Montreal Alouettes quarterback, who wasn't laughing after getting knocked out at the end of the third quarter by defensive end Marcus Howard. "It was actually the first time that I got knocked out.
"I mean I've had concussions before (where) once I hit the ground I knew where I was, but that particular time I was out for about 30 seconds."
Howard was in mid-air just as Calvillo had fumbled the ball, connecting squarely with the quarterback's left shoulder and slamming his head to the turf.
"It's always scary," said Calvillo, 39, who sat out the rest of the game in a daze on the bench while backup Adrian McPherson came in for the close. "You never expect for that to happen but we realize this is a violent sport and injuries can happen that way.
"But I was just excited at the fact I was able to come back the following week."
The Eskimos' excitement was more immediate.
"The thing that sticks out the most is obviously the hit by my guy, 91," said Eskimos defensive end Julius Williams, who earned a pair of sacks in the same game. "One of the biggest plays of the season, not particularly what happened but the spark that it brought to us as a defence and that's kind of what we want to be known for.
"We are a flying-around, hard-hitting, assignment-football defence. And that's what we want to keep doing and get better at."
While Howard's hit didn't lead to a comeback in what turned out to be a 34-21 loss, it gave the defence a reason to hold it's head up as the team went 4-2 the rest of the way to finish out the regular season second overall in fewest points allowed.
With Howard -- last year's team sack leader -- sitting out once again with a hamstring injury and defensive tackle Ted Laurent -- who currently leads the Eskimos with a sack in each of the last five games -- missing his first with an injured ankle, Williams said there is still plenty left for Calvillo and the Alouettes pass protectors to worry about.
"I think that (general manager Eric) Tillman does a great job in bringing in personnel," Williams said. "Everybody that we bring in can step in right away and play at a high level. You see it with a guy like Shawn Lemon who steps in for a great pass-rusher like Marcus and he's able to go out and win a game ball.
"It's just attitude, I think. You come here and you play on this defence, you gain an attitude."
Oddly enough, Howard didn't earn a stat for the hit on Calvillo, considering the ball was mid-fumble.
"A big hit like that, although it's not an interception, it's not a sack, it's not a TFL (tackle for a loss), but it's a big play for our defence because it sends a message," Williams said. "Not just to the team that we're playing, but to the rest of the league and everybody who's watching."
Unfortunately for the Eskimos, Howard will count himself among those watching as he sits Friday's game out with a hamstring injury.
"I did hear about that," Calvillo said. "And I'm not complaining about that either."