MONTREAL -- It’s home sweet home for the Alouettes, who are set for their third of four meetings this season with the Blue Bombers on a Thanksgiving Monday matinee at Percival-Molson Stadium.
Coming off possibly their toughest performance of the season in a 41-28 loss to the Ticats last weekend, being back at home where they’ve lost just once in seven tries this season should help cure what ails the Als.
Winning at home becomes all the more important for Montreal, with Toronto breathing down its neck for top spot in the East and the obvious importance of earning a first-round bye with home advantage through the playoffs.
While it’ll help to be at home, another potential advantage for the Alouettes is the fact that Bombers pivot Buck Pierce won’t play on Monday, after being injured against the Argos on a hit by linebacker Brandon Isaac.
|Related: Bombers at Alouettes|
That means for the third time in their last four games, Montreal will be facing a backup quarterback.
Joey Elliott gets the start for the Bombers, and while he’s showed poise at times along with the ability to move the ball downfield with quick and accurate throws, he’s also been overwhelmed at times, too.
The Als are undefeated in four games against backups this season – that includes a July victory over Calgary’s Kevin Glenn, a starter his whole career who was relegated to the bullpen behind Drew Tate, since injured, when the year began — but are 4-5 in all other matches.
Montreal has defeated Winnipeg twice this season — an early July game when Pierce was healthy, along with one in early August, on the road, when Alex Brink was behind centre.
While the Bombers will likely miss Pierce on Monday, after the veteran pivot seemingly gave the team as a whole an enormous boost two weeks ago when he returned to play the Ticats, the Alouettes aren’t about to overlook the talents of Elliott.
“That’s what we’ve been given, we play against who they put on the field,” middle-linebacker Shea Emry said following practice at Stade Hébert in St. Léonard.
“Obviously, we want to beat teams at their best. But we don’t have Brandon Whitaker ... J. P. Bekasiak ... Ventrell Jenkins ... It goes both ways.”
The Als aren’t the only ones hungry for a win though – they’ll have to be wary of a Bombers team that’ll come in looking to avenge a loss to the Argos.
|The last time they met|
Friday, August 3, 2012
Alouettes 36, Bombers 26
Anthony Calvillo threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns, while the Alouettes survived a late flurry from the Bombers en-route to a 36-26 win at Canad Inns Stadium. Brandon Whitaker chipped in 115 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Alex Brink was solid for Winnipeg in the loss, throwing for 311 yards and two touchdowns. It would turn out to be the last start of the season for Brink though, as Joey Elliott was named starter the following week.
The Blue and Gold had a chance to move within just two games of second place with a win over the Argos, as well as just a single game out of the final playoff spot in the East Division.
But after going down 21-0 in the first quarter and losing Pierce, the Bombers had simply dug too big a hole to come back and get the win.
“Did we put forth effort and did we care, yes we did,” said rookie head coach Tim Burke after the game. “Like I said you can’t turn the ball over that many times and you can’t drop that many passes, and you can’t have that many penalties.”
“Things went wrong, but one of our leaders went down and we had to try to respond,” said Elliott. “I jumped in there and we were able to compete. I thought offensively we kept competing.”
“We started just shooting from the hip and trying to make things happen when we were down a few points.”
Elliott will hope to find some of the same flash he had back on August 16th, when in his first start in two years he threw for 406 yards and a touchdown pass, including a list-minute game-winning drive in a 32-25 win over the Ticats.
The third-year Bomber leads the team with 1,356 passing yards this season, but with just two touchdowns and seven interceptions for a quarterback rating of 70.2, the young pivot hasn’t yet shown the Bombers he’s the quarterback of the future.
Still, with the chips on the table and a road game against the first-place Alouettes, Elliott has a chance to reverse his fortunes on Monday afternoon.
For the Bombers, this game presents the perfect opportunity to make a statement like none other this season, against a team that’s had their number of late.
Kickoff is at 1:00 P.M. ET, and can be seen on TSN or followed live via Game Tracker on CFL.ca and CFL Mobile.
- With files from PostMedia and BlueBombers.com
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|