It wasn’t pretty for most of the first half. But the Montreal Alouettes came back with their best half of football to date when they needed it most for a 38-31 win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats to move into a tie for first place despite a 3-7 record.
The Alouettes used a couple of Tanner Marsh sneaks, a great pass from Jonathan Crompton to Duron Carter and a James Rodgers punt return to quickly turn a 24-10 deficit into a 38-24 lead. The comeback and fireworks provided a jolt to the crowd at Molson Stadium. It may have been the loudest I have ever heard the stadium.
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Montreal has always been a tough place to play for opponents, but lack of success has taken some of the oomph away from the stadium. Yesterday was not the case. On a beautiful day in Montreal, over 20,000 attended which is a very good number given it was the opening Sunday of the NFL season.
Crompton was playing with a heavy heart, but managed to bounce back from a tough first half – and credit to Tom Higgins for sticking with him. He drove the team 97 yards in the third quarter to tie the game and even found Chad Johnson twice on the drive including once on a 43 yard gain.
I’ve said all season that the Alouettes have tons of offensive weapons and they just needed a quarterback to get them the ball. That’s what Crompton did. It is telling that he was able to move the ball despite the running game being shut down.
Usually, that has been the Alouettes best weapon, and it looked like they were bringing more men into the box which opened up match ups in the secondary. Once teams adjust to covering the pass, that will again open up some running lanes. Being a balanced offence helps more than anything else in this league.
It’s impossible or close to it to stop Duron Carter, S.J. Green, Brandon London, Chad Johnson, Brandon Whitaker and Tyrell Sutton. There are too many options. When the offence is rolling, as it was in yesterday’s second half, it shows you how good this team could be. There will usually be one mismatch on the field and it’s up to Crompton to find it.
Not to mention the defence. They were outstanding as usual in the second half, at one point forcing six straight two-and-outs. It seems as though the team is coming together and getting better as the season goes on which is not too surprising given the talent they have on the field and the many changes they have gone through off of it.
The defence also led to a couple of touchdowns – Winston Venable’s fumble return in the game’s second minute and Billy Parker’s interception return to the 3-yard-line.
I think the Alouettes are a contender in the East, and are in the drivers seat for a playoff berth. Crompton gives them chances to win games, and their defence makes his job a lot easier. But if this team can gather the momentum and have it pour into the stands, it might make Molson Stadium a fun place to be for fans and a very tough place to play for opponents again.