Als lose hard-fought battle to Argos on Friday night
There are no moral victories in professional football, but the Alouettes came as close to one as you could get on Friday night.
After playing in Vancouver last Sunday evening, the Als were forced to play the Toronto Argonauts less than five days later. This isn’t an excuse. A loss is a loss, but it’s hard to dismiss the effort they put together on Friday night.
“We play this game to win,” head coach Jason Maas said. “When you get that close to a win and you don’t come through, it hurts. But I’m a realist as well. When you don’t practice, you have a short week of work and you go out there and play against that team who is number one in our league and play them as tough as we did, I’m very proud of the guys. I love the way we fought, and I love the way they prepared this week.”
Tyler Snead’s hat-trick
Alouettes rookie receiver Tyler Snead scored not one, not two, but three touchdowns in his second CFL game and his first in Montreal.
Snead, who spent the first three games of the season on the practice roster, waited patiently for his opportunity. His first two games went well, and he has something to build on heading into his team’s second bye week.
— Alouettes de Montréal (@MTLAlouettes) July 15, 2023
The 23-year-old finished the night with three receptions for 48 yards and those three touchdowns.
“It was definitely exciting,” Snead explained after the game. “Cody (Fajardo) did a great job finding me on red zone targets. He put the ball right on me. He made my job easy, I just had to catch it. Shoutout to him and the rest of the team. The offensive line was blocking and doing their jobs.”
Through two games, he has seven receptions on eight targets for 109 yards. Don’t be surprised if he continues to get opportunities to start coming out of next week’s bye.
— CFL (@CFL) July 15, 2023
Will Stanback’s huge first half
The other positive that emerged from this loss was running back William Stanback’s first half performance. The Als running back managed to accumulate 70 all purpose yards in the opening 30 minutes of the game, but cramps forced him to miss most of the third quarter.
In the end, he finished with 53 yards rushing and 36 more receiving. Stanback didn’t break a long run, but he was consistently able to pick up healthy gains, especially on first down.
The offensive line has been criticized for their performance over the first four games, which isn’t totally fair, but found a way to open holes for their starting tailback tonight.
“Our offensive line played tremendously tonight,” Fajardo said. “For all the slack they’ve been getting, they played tremendously.
“We got Stanback going. That’s something we wanted to do. We felt like we couldn’t get that done the last couple of games because the score kind of dictated that. We ran the ball really nicely. For offensive linemen, it helps them out a lot when we’re able to run the football and not be in second-and-long when the defensive line expects pass.”
Allowing big plays
One of the reasons they Als couldn’t come away with the win on Friday was because Toronto was able to execute big plays on the ground and through the air. Give them credit, they connected on several explosive plays throughout the game. That proved to be the difference.
“There’s a lot of stuff we left out there (on the field),” veteran defensive tackle Almondo Sewell said. “We have to fix a lot of this stuff. It’s just self-inflicted wounds. We have to fix that stuff. We have to go back, watch the tape and correct it as much as we can.
“Coach Thorpe is going to get on us about that stuff because there were plays that we left out there that turned into explosions. You can’t have explosions in these types of games. It’s an East Division opponent, you need to get these wins.”
The Alouettes will go on their second bye week of the season next week. They will return home to take on the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday, July 30th.