MONTREAL -- Matt Nichols came oh-so close to living a backup quarterback's dream.
The Edmonton second stringer went in for starter Kerry Joseph with his team trailing 20-4 to start the fourth quarter and came within a missed two-point convert of forcing overtime as the Montreal Alouettes prevailed 27-25 over the Eskimos on Sunday afternoon.
A win would have clinched a CFL playoff berth for Edmonton, which now must hope for either Hamilton to lose Thursday against Toronto or the Eskimos to win on home turf over the rival Calgary Stampeders in their regular season finale on Friday night.
"It was one of those things that I came into the game when they had a big lead and they were running different defences than they were earlier, giving us a few holes, and I was just able to get a few of those balls down the middle,'' said Nichols.
"This team competed hard, we just turned it on a bit late. Now we've got one left that we have to win.''
Nichols threw a pair of touchdown passes to Fred Stamps, including one with no time left on the clock, and another to Shamawd Chambers in 15 minutes of work that turned a comfortable Montreal lead into a cliff hanger.
But confusion on the final two-point convert attempt saw Nichols loft a ball to the back of the end zone where no receiver was close to making a catch.
"Matt did a phenomenal job,'' said coach Kavis Reid. "We knew that if we had some difficulty handling the pressure, a change of pace at quarterback would be the thing we wanted to do.
"We had a plan of what we needed to score and executed it pretty highly. It's unfortunate what happened at the end.''
Anthony Calvillo threw touchdown passes to Bo Bowling and Ryan Bomben and backup quarterback Adrian McPherson ran one in for Montreal, which has secured first place in the East Division. They close on Saturday in Winnipeg.
The win was Marc Trestman's 59th in only five seasons, giving him a share of the team record for coaching victories with 1950s bench boss Peahead Walker.
But personal milestones were not on his mind after the game.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|