THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL -- Following their loss to the Blue Bombers on Monday afternoon, Jim Popp and the Alouettes believe they let a golden opportunity slip away.
The Alouettes turned the ball over seven times, including three interceptions thrown by starter Josh Neiswander and one by backup Troy Smith.
"Anything we've improved on, from turnovers to penalties, we did none of today,'' said Montreal coach and general manager Jim Popp. "There's no excuse. We beat ourselves. You've got to give (Winnipeg) credit. They didn't have to come here and play the way they did, but we gave them a lot, too.''
The third-place Alouettes can still finish second in the division and host a playoff game as they head into back-to-back games with their second-place Hamilton, who they face Sunday at home.
On the other side of the ball, odds still weigh heavily against them, but the Winnipeg Blue Bomber's playoff hopes are not dead yet.
|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
Winnipeg's second win in Montreal in 2013 gave them the three-game season series between the clubs by a 2-1 margin, but they will need to win their final three regular season games and have the Alouettes lose their last three to grab the final East Division playoff spot.
"So you're telling me there's a chance right?'' said Hall. "So we've just got to keep playing. All we can control is winning next week (at home Saturday against Toronto) and, if we can do that, we'll still have a chance.''
Hall, starting a fourth straight game, completed 16 passes for 223 yards. The Bombers ended a seven-game run with fewer than 300 yards on offence by putting up 309.
"I'm not going to lie - that feels really good,'' said Hall. "I was proud of our guys, with our backs against the wall, to hang in there and get a win. It says a lot about our team going forward.''
It was a flag-filled game played mostly on a wet field before 22,853 at Percival Molson Stadium. And it featured four lead changes.
The game turned midway through the fourth quarter with Montreal ahead 26-24 when Hall made the same handoff to Ford on successive plays. The first gained eight yards and the second got 69 as Ford broke clear but was caught by Chip Cox on the one-yard line. Ford then ran in for the score.
Before that, the Bombers got little on the ground against the CFL's best run defence.
"That's a really good defence,'' said Hall. "We felt we had a few checks at the line we could hit them with. Obviously, we did a good job executing it and Will found the hole and got loose. That long run he had won the game for us, bottom line.''
Denmark also had a solid outing, earning high-praise from Hall.
"Denny's just a fast guy and he's proven he can be a reliable guy,'' said Hall. "On the touchdown pass, he was really just a backside post clear-out. We've never thrown that ball in practice or anything. But, before that play, something told me we might have a chance.''
Neiswander has been sharp in his last three outings, but he completed fewer than half his attempts while putting up 199 yards. Smith went 3 for 6 for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Popp will need to decide whether to stick with Neiswander or go back to rookie Tanner Marsh, who has returned from a sprained thumb and dressed as the third quarterback. Or try giving Smith a start.
"The reality is, there are three games left and if we win out, we'll be second in our division and host a playoff game - it's right there,'' said Popp.
"We know we can beat anybody in the league, but we can't play down. We're better than our record, but we didn't play that way. Today we played to our record and maybe lower. We've got to do a better job.''