It would be an understatement to say we experienced a roller coaster of emotions last night. We knew how important this game was against a long-time foe (and against whom it is always extra satisfying to post a “W”) even though there remain seven games still to play in the regular season.
There we were, down 17-3 at the beginning of the 4th quarter.
And right on cue, our Alouettes rediscovered 2019’s secret formula to close the gap and even take the lead with a few seconds left in regulation time before sealing the deal in overtime with a 23-20 victory. The win puts our team right back in the hunt for first place in the Eastern Division.
Was it the best football game ever played? Nope. But with all its twists and turns, was the game thrilling? You bet it was! At half-time the Ticats were ahead 9-3 in a game in which the defences for both teams led the way. One of the biggest moments for the Alouettes came when starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a foot injury and Matt Shiltz was called upon to take over. Our number two quarterback came through and connected on a 68-yard bomb to Quan Bray on only his third pass attempt of the game.
Vernon Adams Jr., in addition to his many qualities as a quarterback, is also a player with a big heart. And after spending the 2nd quarter and half-time recuperating, he returned to the field to begin the 2nd half! The Als defence showed improvement compared to last week, and this coming against one of the best offences in the league. However, they did take some avoidable penalties.
We can’t ignore the timely fumble recovery in the 4th quarter that led to our first touchdown of the game (a 26-yard reception by Jake Wieneke, who now has six touchdowns in seven games). And then there was Sean Thomas-Erlington’s fumble in overtime, recovered by Chris Ackie, allowing David Côté to kick the winning field goal and ensure victory for the Alouettes. A key component of this dramatic win was the four quarterback sacks registered against Jeremiah Masoli: Now in his eighth season, Masoli was under constant pressure throughout the game.
Our special teams made life miserable for the Ticats returners, and also regularly provided the Als offence with good starting field position.
Mention must be made of the offence’s performance which, despite being slowed down in the 1st half, ultimately found the resources to come back with some clutch catches (Geno Lewis with 6 receptions for 82 yards and 1 touchdown, and Quan Bray with 3 receptions for 89 yards). The offence registered 421 yards (against 276 for Hamilton) and a slight advantage in time of possession (31:52 vs. 28:07), thereby justifying the final outcome.
Yes, this is a nice win. In fact, it’s a “very nice” win considering it was played on our rival’s home field (a field on which they were undefeated since November, 2018!). And now with a record of 3 wins and 4 losses, we are exactly at the same spot we were in in 2019 after seven games. There are seven games remaining in the 2021 regular season.
Alouettes fans, we know this team is not perfect (just like all the other CFL teams for that matter) but you know that our guys won’t give up, and they will go the extra mile… so let’s keep on working, correct our mistakes and go as far as we can, all together!
See you Thanksgiving Monday, October 11 for the 1:00 p.m. kick-off against another important rival, the Ottawa REDBLACKS.