MONTREAL -- Fresh off their big win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, the Alouettes couldn’t help but smile at the thought that their three-game losing streak is now a thing of the past.
“They had a great game, and I thought the offence managed well and special teams came up big when we needed to. It was a good but tough game,” said Montreal head coach Jim Popp, who registered his third win since taking over in Week 7.
“I thought both teams played fairly similar and we came out ahead, that’s what counts,” he added.
While their offence still isn’t at the same place that fans have grown accustom to seeing over the last half-decade, the Josh Neiswander-led attack came up big when it mattered most, earning the respect and praise of their head coach.
“[Josh] was playing well today and we did not want to get him out of rhythm,” said Popp.
“The win [makes me happy], we have been right there so many times and we have got so much adversity and the guys know it, they never quit.”
Neiswander played arguably his best game as Montreal’s starter, completing 21 of his 36 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown, throwing no interceptions in the process.
“I think offensively we have really tried doing a better job of being more consistent and we wanted to keep from turning the ball over,” he said.
“I think we had one turnover today, but as far as consistency of moving the ball effectively I felt like we did an okay job of that today.”
As the offence continues to grow and take steps towards finding their true identity, it appears that the team’s defence had accomplished that same feat a long time ago.
Dubbed by many to be among the league’s elite – if not the best – the Alouettes stymied Saskatchewan both on the ground and through the air, limiting them to a season low 12 points.
In the win, the Als sacked Riders QB Darian Durant four times and picked off the veteran pivot on three occasions.
Needless to say, the unit had a reason to be proud.
“Everybody did their part and it’s going to be a 12 man effort on defence and I was just doing my part, it was my turn today,” said rush end John Bowman, who collected three tackles and a sack.
Despite the strong performance, Bowman claimed that the Als still have more to offer on the defensive side of the ball.
“We still aren’t where we want to be yet; we gave up two late drives in the fourth quarter. Until we play 60 full minutes of Alouette football, we won’t be satisfied,” he said.
Linebacker Chip Cox agreed.
“I am sure it’s not as good as it looks, we just have to go back and look at it on film. I am sure there are things we can get better at but we did what the team needed from us and we did our jobs.”
The biggest and most significant play of the day came courtesy of defensive back Jerald Brown, whose spectacular one-handed interception at the tail-end of the third quarter lifted the Percival Molson Stadium faithful from their seats in applause.
“That was a big play and I knew they were trying to attack so we made some adjustments to play on the ball,” said Brown.
“All I know is that my man was running vertical and I locked in on him, I saw Durant looking at him and I knew that’s where he wanted to go because they went there a couple times previously and I didn’t play it. So that time I told my corner to look out and lock onto the one guy and I will go get him, and that’s what happened.”