Two time defending Grey Cup champions the Montreal Alouettes have been having a rough time of it lately. Montreal was coming off two straight losses including being squashed last week in Hamilton. The very same Tiger Cat team that they were facing one week later this time though on their home turf.
Despite having embarrassed Montreal a mere seven days ago, Hamilton could not have been overly confident coming into Percival Molson Stadium. Hamilton has lost 13 straight in Montreal. They have not won in Montreal since the 2002 season. All this backstory was going to make this battle for 2nd place in the East an interesting one.
Montreal was trying to reassert themselves after having lost four out of six games. They would have to do that with a ravaged defensive side. Montreal would be going into the game without linebacker Shea Emry (concussion), defensive back Jerald Brown, defensive back Etienne Boulay and cornerback Mark Estelle. Jermaine McElween was a healthy scratch, but defensive tackle Eric Wilson and safety Marc-Olivier Brouillette (first game of the season) would be returning.
Just as their fans were hoping the home team came out strong like they had something to prove. Montreal’s offensive line controlled things for most of the game. They established the run early with running back Brandon Whitaker able to run through the gaping holes created by the line. Whitaker already has over 1,000 yards from the line of scrimmage. Despite being very busy he has not fumbled the ball so far.
The 1st quarter was all Alouettes. The offense rebounded big time. Montreal dominated the time of possession in the 1st quarter (had the ball over 11 minutes). Before Hamilton could adjust to what Montreal was throwing at them the game was already pretty much out of their reach. Striking early and striking quick the Anthony Calvillo led Als were in charge from the opening kick off until the final gun sounded.
After a single point from a missed field goal by kicker Sean Whyte (he had now missed two in row after connecting on 23 in a row), blown coverage resulted in the Alouettes first touchdown at 10:47 of the 1st quarter. A wide open Brandon London caught a 15 yard pass from Calvillo. It was his first touchdown in the CFL. That was followed up 21 seconds into the 2nd quarter by another touchdown pass (6 yards) from Calvillo to Whitaker. Another quick strike just over four minutes later on a 9 yard Calvillo to Kerry Watkins (his first touchdown of the season) hook up resulted in a 22-0 Montreal lead with barely one and a half quarters gone.
So far Hamilton had only been able to muster 19 yards of total offense. Montreal was playing like they had something to prove. To themselves and to the Tiger Cats. After a couple of off games quarterback Calvillo was back and knifing through the Hamilton secondary like a hot knife through butter. At 10:13 of the 2nd quarter Calvillo threw his fourth touchdown (to four different receivers) of the game to his favourite target Jamel Richardson. In the game Richardson became the first receiver in the CFL to go over 1,000 yards.
Hamilton, as a result of three straight Justin Medlock, who possesses a leg like a cannon, field goals, had slowed down the Alouettes a little at the end of the 2nd quarter, but 29-10 (halftime score) was as close as they would get on this day.
Montreal is probably the hardest team to run against in the CFL and they proved it on this day. After a huge game the week before former Alouette Avon Cobourne was invisible. He had a total of five carries for 2 yards.
The Alouettes rounded out the scoring with another Whyte single (via a 66 yard punt), a touchdown plunge by Dahrran Diedrick (5th of the season) and a 30 yard field goal by Whyte. Hamilton was only able to add another 3 points via Medlock’s fourth field goal of the game. Final score Montreal 43 and Hamilton 13.
The Alouettes looked like the Alouettes again. Under Mark Trestman the Als are 26-5 at home over the last four seasons. They always give their fans a good show.
With a record of 6-4, the Als now find themselves in 2nd place in the Eastern Division. Winnipeg comes to town next week for a battle between the two top teams in the East. Should be quite a battle with the strong Montreal offense facing off against the dominating Blue Bombers defense.