Alouettes drop home decision to Lions on Saturday

Not all losses are created equal. Saturday’s 34-25 defeat at the hands of the B.C. Lions was as frustrating a loss as the Als have had all season.

The Als had a 25-24 lead in the second half, but they couldn’t hang on to the win for a variety of reasons that we’ll get to in this article.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” receiver Austin Mack said after the game. “This is a (game) that we let go, honestly. It’s difficult and very frustrating. I’m feeling a lot of emotions right now, but we’re ready to get into it. We’re ready to get back into the film, dissect this and figure out what went on.”

How did this one get away from the Als? Let’s break it down.

Finishing drives with touchdowns:

The offence moved the ball efficiently throughout the game, but they settled for field goals instead of touchdowns, especially in the first half. The Als kicked four field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

The Als ended up going 0/3 in the red zone, while the Lions managed to score touchdowns all three times they were deep in Alouettes territory.

“We felt good (offensively),” receiver Tyler Snead said. “We were moving the ball well and we didn’t have that many punts. The biggest thing tonight is that we have to come out with more points. They’re a good team and you can’t kick field goals…we have to finish some of those (drives).”

Technically, the Alouettes weren’t in the red zone when they were trailing by two with under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter after they executed a beautiful fake punt. They appeared to have momentum on their side, but on the very next play after the trick play on special teams, Lions safety Quincy Mauger made a great play to intercept Cody Fajardo’s pass towards Mack.

“We had man coverage,” Mack explained. “The free safety made a good play. Right now, I’m getting double-teamed on every single play…Cody gave me an (opportunity) to make a play. I have to do a better job of going up there and elevating and knocking it down or doing something. That one really hurt us.”

As much as they struggled in the red zone, the Als still managed to come away with some explosive plays in this game. In total, they accumulated 517 yards of net offence compared to B.C.’s 427.

Snead hit Mack with a beautiful pass in the first half. The Als receiver ditched his glove mid-play to toss the ball down the field.

Mack, who finished the night with seven receptions for a game-high 143 yards, also had an incredible diving grab in the end zone to give the Als a one-point lead at the time.

The Stanback Steamroll:

Speaking of explosive plays, William Stanback’s 69-yard touchdown gave the Als a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter. It was great to see him burst right through the Lions defence at a critical moment of the game.

This was the longest touchdown of Stanback’s career, but not his longest run (he had a 72-yard gallop back in 2018).

It was a feel-good moment for the Als running back, who missed most of last season with a serious lower-body injury.

“It felt so good (to see Stanback score),” Tyson Philpot said. “I was the first one to chase him down to the end zone. I could feel in the huddle that he had some frustration. He wanted the rock in his hands. He finally got the opportunity, and he showed us what he can do.”

No turnovers on defence

The Als defence has been outstanding at creating turnovers this season, but they failed to come up with one on Saturday night. They came close, but they failed to make the necessary plays on the ball at times. They also didn’t register a sack on Vernon Adams Jr. in this one.

“I think, at the end of the day, we beat ourselves,” defensive end Avery Ellis explained. “We had penalties at crucial moments and we (gave up) big plays at crucial moments. At the end of the day, we were the better team, but they came out with the win because we beat ourselves.”

What’s next?

The Alouettes will begin a home-and-home series with the Toronto Argonauts starting next Saturday. They’ll visit BMO Field at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sep. 9 and the two teams will go head-to-head at Percival Molson Stadium on Sep. 15. You can purchase your tickets for that huge game by visiting GoAlsGo.com.