MONTREAL -- Running back Will Ford registered 108 total yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Max Hall completed 16 of his 27 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, as the Blue Bombers downed the Alouettes 34-27 on Thanksgiving Monday.
With the win, the Bombers take the season-series over the Alouettes, outscoring their Eastern rivals 86-76.
The loss by Montreal also means they wll have to wait another week to clinch a spot in the 101st Grey Cup Playoffs.
Heading into today’s game, Als pivot Josh Neiswander had lead the Als to two-straight wins, putting together his best two outings of his young CFL career.
During that span, Neiswander had thrown for 515 yards and five touchdowns, throwing no interceptions in the process.
|Related: Als vs. Bombers|
» View Game Stats
» Images: MTL vs. WPG
» Video: Smith's 1st CFL TD Pass
» Video: Ford Sets up TD with Big Romp
» Video: Denmark's 40-yard Major
» Video: Ford's 1st Quarter Score
» Preview: Als host Bombers
But the 26-year-old got off to a rocky start on Monday, as he saw his pass deflected and intercepted by Desia Dunn on Montreal’s first offensive possession.
Fortunately for Neiswander, the Bombers weren’t able to find the endzone, and were forced to settle for a 16-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis.
Neiswander had a rocky day under centre, completing just 19 of his 38 passes for 199 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.
The first quarter proved to be a trying one for the Alouettes offence.
Following Neiswander’s early interception, the unit would go on to commit two more costly turnovers, the last of which ended up coming back to haunt them.
Punting from their own 17 yard line on third down, kicker Sean Whyte bobbled the snap from Jerod Zaleski and was forced to hang onto the ball, turning the ball over on downs in the process.
Once the Bombers took over possession, Will Ford hauled in a swing pass from Max Hall and ran towards the corner of the endzone for a touchdown, giving the Bombers a 10-0 lead.
Following his second interception of the half, Neiswander’s afternoon would come to a temporary halt, as Alouettes head coach Jim Popp inserted backup Troy Smith into the game under centre.
The move seemed to inject a sense of urgency into the Alouettes offence.
Smith, who was getting his first elongated taste of CFL action, carried the Als on a 10-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with a 12-yard touchdown to SJ Green, pulling the Als to within three of the Bombers.
The touchdown was the first of Smith’s CFL career, and the 10th of Green’s season.
But Smith’s honeymood period behind centre was a short one. On his next possession, the former Ohio State standout was hit as he threw and saw his pass sail into the hands of Bombers safety Cauchy Muamba. Shortly after, Smith was replaced by Neiswander.
The latter’s time observing the action from the sideline translated into some positive results when he was re-inserted back into the game.
On his first two passes, Neiswander hooked up with Green and Arland Bruce for consecutive gains of nine yards. Then after a two-yard rush by Jerome Messam, Neiswander went deep for Duron Carter who appeared to battle through double coverage and haul in a 31-yard touchdown grab.
However, the upstart receiver was flagged for offensive pass interference, pushing the Als backwards 10 yards instead of adding six on the scoreboard.
Unfazed, Neiswander immediately looked towards Carter on the very next play, finding him on a similar pattern for a 40-yard gain, giving the Als a fresh set of downs from the one-yard line.
One play later, Tyrell Sutton punched it in for the touchdown, giving the Als a 14-10 lead in the process.
Montreal would increase their lead to seven, thanks to a 19-yard field goal by Whyte, which was set up as a result of a blocked punt by Ben Wells on the preceding drive.
While it looked as though the Als would head into the locker room with a seven-point lead in their back pockets, the Bombers offence had other plans.
Taking over possession with 1:23 left in the half, Hall engineered a seven-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off by a 40-yard touchdown pass to Clarence Denmark with nine seconds left, setting up what would be a 17-17 score to start the third quarter.
After Whyte split the uprights for the second time of the game to give the Als a three-point lead, the Bombers offence embarked on a 12-play, 78-yard drive that finished with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Jason Boltus to give Winnipeg a 24-20 lead.
The Bombers made their way to the one-yard line following a pass interference call on safety Kyries Hebert.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Alouettes would surge ahead once again thanks to Whyte's fourth field goal of the game, this time splitting the uprights from 23 yards out to give Montreal a 26-24 lead.
But the Bombers refused to go down easy.
On their very next possession, Ford busted through the line for a massive 69-yard gain on second down, bringing the drive all the way to Montreal's one-yard line.
Two plays later, Ford punched in his second of the game, giving the Bombers a 31-26 lead with less than 8 minutes to go in the game.
After the three-minute warning, the Alouetets had an opportunity to pull within three points of the Bombers' lead. But Whyte, who was a perfect 4/4 on field goals to that point, saw his 33-yard attempt sail wide and out the back of the endzone for the single point.
And that would be as close as the Als would get, as the Bombers added another field goal to extend their lead to seven, picking up their third win of the season in the process.
Next week, the Bombers head home to take on Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argonauts, while the Alouettes will welcome the Tiger-Cats.