For the first time this season, the Montreal Alouettes took to the field to square off for what promised to be an entertaining game against the Edmonton Elks. Before the game, Almondo Sewell and Trevor Harris exchanged some words, throwing some fuel on the fire of this juicy matchup. Who would come out on top? Well, we were about to find out.
The very first possession of the season for Vernon Adams. Jr. and the Montreal offence would go about as expected after such a long layoff, resulting in a quick two and out. The Elks would get the football early, and much like week one in their game against the Redblacks, they would go on a long drive and looked like they were threatening to score a touchdown. Wouldn’t you know it, they would be forced to settle for three after Trevor Harris nearly threw an interception at the goal line.
Earlier in the week, former Elk Almondo Sewell said if you hit Harris once, he will fold. The Alouettes’ defence turned up the heat on the second Elks drive sacking Harris once (Antonio Simmons) and getting to him to force an incompletion on the very next play. They forced the Elks to punt from deep in their own territory and gifted their offence fantastic field position.
Making good on that field position was the next step. If it was a test, the Alouettes passed with flying colours. After William Stanback ripped off a physical run to pick up 14-yards, Adams Jr. loaded up and tossed a deep ball to second-year receiver Jake Wieneke who went to the ground and stood back up before being touched and scoring a touchdown. David Cote would be good on the extra point to give the Als a 7-3 lead.
Second Quarter (MTL: 7 @ EDM: 3)
After the Als kicked off to start the second quarter, the Elks put together a lengthy drive that felt like needed to end in a touchdown. Big gain after big gain, the Elks marched their way down the field mostly thanks to James Wilder Jr. who looks like he is reestablishing himself as one of the league’s premier back. Down to the Montreal eight-yard line, the Elks elected to go for it on third and one, but Harris fumbled the snap and the Elks would once again come away without a touchdown. They turned the ball over on downs.
The Alouettes started their drive from deep on their side of the field, but they decided to toss deep ball after deep ball, and boy was it fun to watch. There was a fumble by Stanback on this drive, but he clearly recovered the ball. Jaime Elizondo decided to challenge the call anyway, and of course, the call stood. A poor choice to challenge cost him the chance to challenge anything the rest of the night. On the next play, Adams Jr. flashed his magic.
Finding B.J. Cunningham deep down the field for a 53-yard gain flipped the field for the Als. Adams Jr. did this after nearly fumbling the football. The drive would continue with a couple of nice runs from Stanback, but the Als would be forced to settle for a field goal in the end. Alouettes lead now stands at 10-3.
The ensuing Elks drive would be an uninspiring two and out and on the Hugh O’Neill punt, Mario Alford followed his blockers beautifully and enjoyed a clear path to the endzone for the first punt return for a touchdown in the CFL this season. Cote would hit the extra point, and things were starting to turn for the even worse for the Elks.
After yet another two and out from the Elks, the Alouettes had a chance to put some more points on the board. It wasn’t the prettiest drive of the night for the Alouettes, but they got themselves into field goal range and added three more to their total.
Edmonton would get one more chance to make right on their first half of football. After a pass interference penalty helped the Elks with some good yardage, Harris threw a poor pass that was intercepted by Tyqwan Glass. Glass would take the ball to the crib and score a touchdown, but Sewell took a penalty for roughing the passer. Personally, I didn’t really like the call, but Sewell should know better. The very next play, Harris almost threw another interception. On the next down, Harris would take a sack from Ahmad Thomas. The half would end when O’Neill took a knee.
Another brutal half of football from the Elks offence. They needed something to happen in the red zone, but nothing was working. The next question is, can they change that at halftime? Only time would tell.
Third Quarter (MTL: 20 @ EDM: 3)
Immediately, we found the answer to the previous question, and it was a resounding no. The Elks went two and out to start the second half. On the subsequent punt, Alford put in another great effort to get the Als great field position on a 40-yard punt return. The Als would look to add three more with a field goal after two short runs, but the snap was poor and Joseph Zema could barely get the ball down. The kick wasn’t even close and Terry Williams returned the missed kick to the Edmonton 20-yard line.
The missed kick looked like it could have been a bit of a spark for the Elks when in the first play of their drive, Harris went deep for Derel Walker picking up 32-yards on the completion, but that was far from the case. A very short run from Wilder Jr. and another sack from Simmons forced the Elks to punt. It just got worse and worse for them in this game, at least to this point.
After a couple of short drives each way, the Elks got another chance with the football and had a decent drive. There were a couple of nice runs and a couple decent tosses from Harris, but again, the drive would come up short and they would settle for a field goal, although it felt like a win this time for them. Sean Whyte hit the 37-yard attempt and brought the Elks within two scores.
Fourth Quarter (MTL: 20 @ EDM: 6)
The first scoring drive of the fourth quarter came courtesy of Montreal. They weren’t too interested in running out the clock just yet and took a deep shot to Eugene Lewis, but Jonathan Rose and Aaron Grymes broke it up at the goal line. The Als settled for a field goal. Not the worst thing for them as they now led by three possessions.
Another two and out for the Elks would give the possession of the football back to the Alouettes who promptly drove down the field with ease. Starting with another good return from Alford, the Als flexed their muscles with their running game and finished the drive with a touchdown pass for B.J. Cunningham. The point after was good, and the game was essentially iced at this point.
A deep pass from Harris to Mike Jones had the Elks cooking in their next drive, but I want you to guess how this one ends. Come on! Just guess! I bet you got it. Inside the Montreal 35-yard line, the Elks couldn’t score a touchdown and gave up a sack to Sewell to turn the ball over on downs.
At the end of the game, the Elks put together a drive that finally had them find the endzone. It was a nice drive and they took what the Als gave them. It was aided by penalties, but Shai Ross was into the endzone for the first time in his young CFL career.
The Elks would try an onside kick to have another chance with the football, but the Als would catch it and nearly score a touchdown on the return. Montreal would run out the clock and secure their first win of the young season.
Final Score: Montreal Alouettes: 30 @ Edmonton Elks: 13
Passing Yards: Trevor Harris (EDM): 233
Rushing Yards: William Stanback (MTL): 112
Receiving Yards: B.J. Cunningham (MTL): 86
Touchdowns: Shai Ross (EDM), B.J. Cunningham (MTL), Jake Wieneke (MTL): 1
Tackles: Tyqwan Glass (MTL), Ty Cranston (MTL), Jonathan Rose (EDM), Keishawn Bierria (EDM): 6
Special Teams Tackles: Christophe Normand (MTL), Hugh O’Neill (EDM): 2
Sacks: Antonio Simmons (MTL): 2
Interceptions: No Interceptions
13th Man Sports Player of the Game
POTG: William Stanback
18 carries, 112 yards rushing