THE CANADIAN PRESS
With files from CFL.ca
WINNIPEG -- That's more like it for the Montreal Alouettes. Heading into Friday night's matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers star receiver Jamel Richardson had 22 catches for 300 yards. By no means unproductive numbers but off of his usual pace. Winning, Richardson said, was higher on his priority list than numbers but it sure felt good for the Als' main target to step up and make two huge plays that helped lift his club over their East Division rival.
"It was a must-win for us," said Richardson, who had four catches for 91 yards. "We've been breaking down film. We've been playing well, we just wasn't coming out with the win."
Montreal Alouettes kicker Sean Whyte, who was a perfect 4-for-4 in placekicking and added three punt singles, wasn't hiding his excitement about the result either.
"Right now, that was the biggest game of our season right there," said the White Rock, B.C., native, who converted kicks from 17, 32, 19 and 27 yards. "Going into the bye (week) and also beating a divisional opponent ... it puts us up ahead of them now and gives us some breathing room."
Montreal running back Victor Anderson ran in a two-yard TD with under two minutes left in the game. He replaced starter Brandon Whitaker in the fourth quarter after Whitaker left the game with a suspected rib injury. Whitaker didn't speak to the media after the game.
Winnipeg's points came off an 11-yard TD catch by receiver Cory Watson, a one-yard plunge by quarterback Alex Brink and a 13-yard Clarence Denmark reception.
Brink was good on two-point converts for his and Denmark's TDs, completing passes to Chris Matthews and Watson, respectively. Both TDs came in the game's final three minutes.
"Offensively, we started too slow," said Brink, who was making his third straight start in place of injured Buck Pierce (ankle).
He was also feeling pressure and was sacked three times.
"We had some breakdowns," Brink said. "At times, their front seven did some things that we didn't expect in their blitz scheme. We've just got to do a better job adjusting as a offence to what they're doing."
Bombers defensive back Jovon Johnson said that his team needs not to rest their hat on the success of last year's Grey Cup champions (BC Lions who stormed back after a rough opening to the 2001 season).
"We're not B.C. from last year so we can't look at what they did last year to say 'OK, they started 0-5 and went to the Grey Cup,"' said Johnson, last year's CFL defensive player of the year.
"That means absolutely nothing. We're the Blue Bombers and we need to start playing like we care about football."
Winnipeg kicker Justin Palardy connected on his lone field-goal attempt from 33 yards.
It was the second of four games between the teams this season. Montreal won the first game 41-30.
After the Alouettes opened the scoring at 2:27 of the first quarter with Whyte's 60-yard single, Calvillo methodically put together his team's first TD drive.
The 19-year veteran used running back Brandon Whitaker and receivers S.J. Green and Richardson to move 81 yards on six plays that ended with Richardson's 11-yard TD catch at 6:37.
"We told ourselves we were growing as a team and we went out there are played like this so I'm very proud of everybody in this room," said Calvillo, who was also sacked three times.