THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL -- The losing skid is over and the Montreal Alouettes have their defence to thank.
Led by CFL tackles leader Chip Cox, the Alouettes held the slumping Saskatchewan Roughriders to 15 yards on the ground, picked off three Darian Durant passes, sacked him four times and stuffed a third-and-one attempt on the goal line in their 17-12 victory on Sunday.
"We win and lose as a team," said Cox, who picked off Durant in the end zone to stop Saskatchewan's final drive and secure the win. "The team needed that from us today and that's what we did.
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"The team's been needing that from us for the last few weeks and we haven't been able to pull it through for them. Today, we did and we got the W."
Duron Carter scored the only touchdown for Montreal. The slotback was named the star of the game as he caught six passes for 152 yards, including a 45-yard effort to set up one of three Sean Whyte field goals.
Weston Dressler had the lone TD for the Roughriders.
The highlight for the visitors came about 10 minutes into the opening quarter, when slotback Geroy Simon made history by hauling in his 1,018th career reception, breaking the record of former Alouette Ben Cahoon. He ended the game with 1,020.
A message of congratulations from Cahoon was shown on the scoreboard, but the Riders will wait until they are at home Oct. 12 against Edmonton to celebrate his feat.
Simon was in no mood for that after the game.
"We're just not executing now," the 15-year veteran said. "The defence is holding up their part of the bargain by holding them to minimal points, but I can only speak for the offence.
"We're just not making plays we need to make. The leaders have to lead. We just have to figure it out. We have to take a long look in the mirror and ask if we're doing everything we need to win."
Despite near-perfect sunny weather and the largest crowd of the year at Percival Molson Stadium of 24,105, neither team used the conditions to move the ball consistently.
Durant completed 24 of 46 passes for 339 yards, but he missed open receivers repeatedly and threw the three picks.
Chris Garrett, filling in for injured running back Kory Sheets, gained nine yards on five carries. The Riders have not won in three games since Sheets sprained his right knee against Toronto.
Alouettes' quarterback Josh Neiswander was good on 21 of 36 passes for 264 yards. He was not intercepted and was never sacked.
The win took some pressure off the Alouettes, who went into the weekend in danger of being caught by the Eskimos for a crossover playoff position, with a showdown coming on Saturday in Edmonton.
The Eskimos' loss to the Argonauts on Saturday, coupled with the Alouettes win gives Montreal a four-point cushion, each with five games left to play.
"The pressure's still on us," said Cox. "We need to win more games.
"We're not in the playoffs, so we can't just go home and relax. We have to play even better next week (Saturday in Edmonton) to get another W."