Alouettes finish regular season with 11 wins
The Montreal Alouettes finished the 2023 regular season with a 22-20 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday night. The victory allows the Alouettes to finish with an 11-7 record. It’s the first time the team has won 11 games since 2012. They also finished the year on a five-game winning streak.
“It means a lot,” head coach Jason Maas said of reaching the 11-win mark. “From where we started at the beginning of the year when I was hired to the vision Danny (Maciocia) and I talked about. We wanted to have a locker room that was fun to be apart of and an organization where everyone was pulling in the same way with like-minded people and individuals that work hard and that care about one another…What we’ve done this year doesn’t surprise me.”
James Letcher Jr. did it AGAIN:
Two weeks after bringing back a missed field goal 125 yards for a touchdown, James Letcher Jr. managed to score again, as he scored on a 99-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. The score allowed the Als to grab a 19-13 lead at the time.
“Yeah, there’s a lot more defensive players, linebackers, defensive backs and safeties trying to tackle me (on a punt return) rather than offensive linemen (on a missed field goal),” Letcher Jr. said when he was asked which explosive return was most difficult to score on. “I’m going to say the 125-yarder was harder because it was longer.”
The 23-year-old was forced into the lineup after Chandler Worthy suffered an injury a few weeks ago. Letcher Jr. patiently waited on the practice roster all season for his opportunity, and he’s made the most of it heading into the postseason.
— CFL (@CFL) October 28, 2023
Als force 5 turnovers:
The Alouettes managed to win the turnover battle, 5-1, on Saturday night. Things got off to a perfect start, as safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy, who is the team nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian, forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, which Tyson-Otis Copeland recovered. The offence made the most of that opportunity, because two plays later, Cody Fajardo hit Tyson Philpot for the game’s first touchdown.
That was Dequoy’s third forced fumble in his last 11 games. He finishes the regular season with an impressive 53 tackles, five interceptions, and two touchdowns.
Middle linebacker Darnell Sankey forced and recovered a fumble at the end of the first quarter, and he also managed to snag an interception late in the fourth quarter.
Starting cornerback Kabion Ento also intercepted a deflected pass in the fourth quarter, which led to the go-ahead field goal.
Last month, the Alouettes shocked the football world when they attempted an onside punt with running back Jeshrun Antwi. On Saturday, the team tried the same play on second-and-20 with receiver Cole Spieker. Once again, the play worked. The Alouettes got a first down.
Several people on social media questioned the Als’ decision to use this place in a game that had no bearing on the standings. Look at it this way: In the postseason, if an opposing defence forces the Als into a second-and-very long situation, they won’t be able to ignore the short areas of the field. That could make converting a little easier because the defence won’t be able to sit back to completely take away the deep ball.
Trick or treat?
— Alouettes de Montréal (@MTLAlouettes) October 28, 2023
It’s also important to mention that Spieker did more than just recover his own punt. He also had a key catch on the first drive of the game that set up the Philpot touchdown and he caught a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter on a pass by Davis Alexander.
The Als receiver finished the night with team-highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (44).
These two teams will meet again next Saturday in the East Division Semi-Final at Percival Molson Stadium. The Als defeated the Tiger-Cats, 28-17, in last year’s East Semi-Final.
If you don’t have your tickets for that game yet, you can pick them up at GoAlsGo.com.