Alouettes defence dominates in win over Stamps

The Montreal Alouettes (3-3) snapped their three-game losing skid by defeating the Calgary Stampeders (2-5), 25-18, in front of 18,098 fans at Percival Molson Stadium on Sunday night. The Als weren’t perfect, but they made enough plays in all three phases of the game to come away with a victory.

For the second time this season, the Als were involved in a home game that featured a weather delay. There was approximately a 40-minute break between the two halves tonight.

Stingy defence

The defence really rose to the occasion against the Stampeders. Throughout the bye week, there was a lot of talk about how the unit wasn’t generating enough pressure on the opposing quarterback. That wasn’t an issue for most of Sunday’s game. Not only did the Alouettes register three quarterback sacks (Bryce Notree, Avery Ellis, Jamal Davis II), but they also made life difficult for Stamps quarterback Jake Maier. The pressure they put on him resulted in some bad throws, including the pass that was intercepted by Kordell Rodgers in the fourth quarter.

Speaking of Rodgers, he and fellow rookie cornerback Kabion Ento were flat-out dominant. Rodgers moved to the short side of the field tonight, and he turned in an incredible performance. He went up against Stamps receiver Marken Michel for most of the game. Michel finished with zero receptions on four targets.

“We trusted in ourselves,” Rodgers said of the defence. “We went back to the basics. We were in a little grey area in a three-game losing streak, but we knew we had to get back on the winning track. We had been practicing hard all week, and I was glad the results came out.”

Ento was equally as impressive. The first-year defensive back scored the only touchdown of the game when he intercepted Maier in the first half.

The ball was also thrown in his direction twice on Calgary’s final drive of the game when the Als had a slim one touchdown lead, and he managed to break up both attempts.

“I just wanted to do my job, nothing more,” Ento said. “Once you do that, and everybody else believes in each other, great things are bound to happen.”

Rodgers and Ento are in the lineup because of injuries to Nafees Lyon (lower body) and Ciante Evans (lower body). Both youngsters showed that they can play at a high level at the pro level.

Special Teams produces points

You can’t talk about this game without giving the special teams their respect. Kicker David Cote managed to go 6-for-7 on his field goal attempts, which resulted in 18 points scored.

“We gave our team some momentum tonight,” fullback Alex Gagne said of his team’s performance on special teams. “There are things we need to correct, like we do after every game, but we showed up, and we tried to change the game. We want to have good returns…David Cote is part of the special teams unit. Our unit had a big game. We’re happy we played well, and it helped get us the win tonight.”

William Stanback’s strong night

The offence didn’t score a touchdown tonight, but there were still some positives to pull from their performance. One of those positives was the play of running back William Stanback.

The Most Outstanding Player in the East Division in 2021 had his most complete outing of the season against the Stampeders on Sunday. He rushed for 86 tough yards on 15 carries (an average of 5.7 yards per carry) and he added 18 receiving yards on three receptions.

He was voted the Budweiser Player of the Game by the fans for his performance in this game.

“It felt good” Stanback said of his performance. “I feel like I’m really getting my feet wet again and just getting back to how I used to be. It’s been a little frustrating because I felt like I wasn’t getting the runs that I was getting (in 2021) and at the end of last year when I came back. I’m still working on just building my confidence in my ankle. The strength is growing every day and every week. I just want to continue to stay right and trust what we have going on and just keep executing.”

What’s next?

The Alouettes will travel to Hamilton to take on the Tiger-Cats next Saturday night. This will be their second trip to Hamilton already, as they defeated the Ticats, 38-12, in Week 3.

The next home game will be on Aug. 11 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. You can purchase your tickets for that game by visiting GoAlsGo.com.