MONTREAL – Anthony Calvillo passed for over 300 yards and Brandon Whitaker registered three touchdowns as the Montreal Alouettes defeated the BC Lions 30-25 at Percival Molson Stadium to open up Scotiabank Labour Day Weekend.
It was a matchup of the league’s stingiest defence up against the CFL’s most explosive offence with the Lions suffocating opposing pivots and the Als shredding opposing defenders.
The Als solidified their moniker first, jumping out to a blazing start by completing a 4-play 75-yard touchdown drive finished off by a 13-yard catch-and-run major by Brandon Whitaker. Most of the leg-work was done on the previous play, however, when Anthony Calvillo found WR SJ Green on a hitch screen which he quickly turned up field for a 50-yard gain.
Green is coming off a stellar week against Hamilton where he was named Gibson`s Finest Offensive Player of the Week after registering 10 catches for 168 yards and a major in a win over the Tiger-Cats.
After taking some time to get into a groove, Lions quarterback Travis Lulay started to march up the field on BC`s third possession. He nickel and dimed his way down the field keeping his club in second and short situations and eventually finding veteran Arland Bruce lll over the middle for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 with 1:10 left in the first quarter.
Calvillo would answer with a 7-play, 42-yard drive resulting in a 37-yard Sean Whyte field goal. The Leos would get a shot to tie the game on the next drive but Paul McCallum sailed an attempt just wide left forcing a conceded single point and the Als lead 10-8.
With a two-point game, each team was trying to gain momentum and the Lions defence tried to snag some. Defensive back Korey Banks gathered in a tipped Calvillo pass for his 35th career interception and it set up a 46-yard McCallum boot to take a 11-10 lead.
The Lions entered halftime down but what was more concerning was an injury to Geroy Simon which kept the club’s most productive receiver out of the rest of the game.
Despite being a man short on offence, returner Tim Brown took it upon himself to give the Lions a bit of a lift, taking the opening kickoff of the second half back 63 yards and setting up a 35-yard McCallum field goal two plays later to cut the Montreal lead to 17-14.
The Lions would force the Als to punt on the ensuing possession and Brown would pick up where he left off, returning the kick 52 yards to set up yet another McCallum field goal, this time from 47 yards out to tie the game at 17.
Calvillo and the Als came out slow to begin the second half with Calvillo only passing for 10 yards on his first three possessions but he would eventually lead a touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter when Victor Anderson spun off a few tacklers for a 6-yard major to put Montreal back in the lead 24-18.
Calvillo adds another record
Anthony Calvillo added another record to his already impressive resume, becoming the first pivot in CFL history to pass for 300 yards in 8 straight contests. He finished the night with 321 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 of 31 passing.
Not to be outdone, Lulay would answer right back, leading a methodical drive finished off by a 7-yard touchdown strike to Bruce to put the Lions in front 25-24. Bruce’s second major was set up by a highlight-reel snag from veteran Canadian receiver Paris Jackson where he tipped a pass and held on while the ball fell in his lap.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued with Calvillo leading another long drive with the help of a big catch by Brian Bratton and a 25-yard Eric Deslauriers to set up Whitaker’s third touchdown of the game, first on the ground, to take a 30-25 lead (Calvillo would miss SJ Green in the endzone on the two-point conversion attempt).
The legend for Calvillo continued to grow as he went over 300 yards on the drive – the 8th straight game he has eclipsed the mark and the first player in CFL history to do so.
As Calvillo headed to the sideline, Lulay went back to work, engineering an impressive drive, featuring two third-down conversions, but on the final play, Lulay had Bruce in reach in the endzone but Montreal DB Billy Parker knocked it down to preserve the lead.
Next Week: These two teams close out their back-to-back regular season series with a return date at BC Place Stadium when the Lions host the Alouettes. BUY TICKETS.