Alouettes dominate Redblacks

The Montreal Alouettes turned in a dominant performance during their home opener against the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night, as they defeated their East Division rivals, 47-21. Prior to kickoff, the Als unveiled their 2023 Grey Cup Championship banner.

The 2024 edition picked up where last year’s team left off, as they turned in one of the most dominant first halves in franchise history. The Als defence forced three turnovers and the offence dropped 30 points in the opening 30 minutes to go into the break leading 30-1.

Here’s what you need to know about the performance:

Party started early:

The Alouettes had a 14-0 lead before the game was six minutes old thanks to rushing touchdowns by Cody Fajardo and Caleb Evans. The second touchdown came after Tyrice Beverette picked off a Dru Brown pass on Ottawa’s first possession of the game. More on Beverette and the defence a little later though.

The offence continued to stretch the field. Fajardo showed off excellent touch on his deep ball, as he completed long passes to Philpot (twice) and Kaion Julien-Grant. The Als pivot finished the half with 20 of 22 for 291 yards and one touchdown. He also ran the ball five times for 39 yards and a score in the opening 30 minutes. He finished 28 of 35 for 393 yards and three touchdowns.

Philpot got a deep ball on the opening drive, which set up the Fajardo rushing score, and he also caught a 51-yard bomb for a touchdown. The 23-year-old had a ridiculous 127 yards receiving at the halftime whistle.

“It felt great,” Philpot admitted. “It’s always a battle against Ottawa. They play man-coverage, but we felt like we were playing Als football. Nobody could stop us. We just handled business.”

Julien-Grant added six receptions for 99 yards in the opening two quarters and finished with a team-high 139 yards on nine receptions.

“As a receiving core, we feel like we’re the best in the league,” added Philpot. “We come out with that confidence every week. With deep shots, Kaion and I feel like we’re the fastest guys on the field, so whenever we see (a deep pass) and it’s one-on-one coverage, we know that Cody trusts in us and he’s going to throw that ball up there.”

Defensive dominance:

The Alouettes defence has been starring since the middle of September, and they punched Ottawa’s offence in the mouth early.

On top of his interception in the first quarter, Beverette forced and recovered a fumble in the first half. The 29-year-old recovered Sankey’s forced fumble, while Sankey recovered the ball that Beverette stripped from Brown’s grasp.

“It was my day,” Beverette said. “From the beginning of the day, I just felt it. I made a few jokes to the guys in the locker room about my mom being in the stands, so I had to show out, and that’s what we did. Overall, as a defence, we played well. It was an electric night.

“(Sankey and I) know that we have to lead. We’re two vets that can make our team feed off of us. Sankey and I just preach that we’re the best linebackers in the league. That’s what we try to play like each and every week. We try to give our team the best opportunity to win.”

17 of the Alouettes’ 30 points in the first half came off turnovers.

Reggie White Jr scores twice in return:

This game was especially emotional for receiver Reggie White Jr., who was back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in Oct. of 2022. He went 620 days between games, but the veteran made an impact in this one.

Not only did he finish the night with four receptions for 61 yards, but he also scored a pair of touchdowns in the victory.

“It felt amazing,” White Jr. said after the game. “It was great coming back and doing it in front of our fans and in front of my family. Today was a very special moment for me, especially because I was playing against the team that I got hurt against. I soaked it all in during the pre-game, and I came out here and performed. I’m very thankful for this organization, my coaches and my teammates for allowing me to get back to my myself throughout my major knee injury. I’m very grateful for them.”

What’s next?

The Alouettes will travel to Toronto to take on the Argonauts (1-0) next Friday night. The Argos will host the Elks this Saturday night.

Next home game, Saturday, July 6th. TICKETS HERE