TORONTO — Don’t look now, but the Montreal Alouettes are in the heat of contention in CFL playoff races.
Once the butt of all jokes, the Als have erased a 1-8 start and discovered relevance with a two-game winning streak, led by emerging starter Antonio Pipkin.
But after victories over East Division foes Toronto and Ottawa, is the Alouettes’ success sustainable?
The Als certainly deserve credit for what they’ve done the last couple of weeks. They outplayed the Argos in a game that was made close by an unfortunate pick-six that went off the hands of a receiver.
Then, in Ottawa, they frustrated Trevor Harris and held the Ottawa REDBLACKS to just 11 points. Suffice to say, the days of allowing 500 yards per game are over.
The biggest factor has been Pipkin. The Alouettes’ young quarterback has become a Cinderella story of sorts, returning from being cut to earn the starting role on the Alouettes. Pipkin took a one-game tryout as starter and turned it into something more, banishing Johnny Manziel to the bench.
The sample size is small, but can the Alouettes continue to win? More in The Weekly Say.
Is the Alouettes’ recent success sustainable?
Marshall Ferguson: If Antonio Pipkin is sustainable, so is their success.
Jeff Krever: Yes. I’m not saying they’ll win out, but they can at least be competitive. Pipkin is fun to watch, but the real difference has been the defence. Tevaughn Campbell has really helped. Gabriel Knapton stabilizes the defensive line. If the defence can hold its own, Pipkin can run around and make plays and win a game here and there.
Chris O’Leary: No, but it goes to show what good quarterbacking can get you. The Als may not be the free spot on the bingo card anymore, but each week will only get tougher for them.
Jim Morris: No. They will come crashing to the ground soon.
Which mid-season addition will make the biggest impact?
O’Leary: Posey. The Lions needed additional playmakers before Manny Arceneaux was injured. He’s got a great QB in Travis Lulay and should be able to make a big impact once he’s comfortable in his new surroundings.
Krever: Duron Carter. DeVier Posey’s speed brings a new dynamic to the Lions’ offence, but the Argos need a receiver that can get separation. With Carter on the same field as James Wilder Jr. and S.J. Green, that offence goes from struggling to dangerous.
Morris: If Duron Carter plays to his potential he will be a huge help for the Argos.
Ferguson: Micah Awe, guy is a thumper. Exactly what BC misses in the middle of their defence without Elimimian.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defence is ______.
Ferguson: Space Jam-ish. A bunch of Monsters running around making freaky plays.
O’Leary: So good that it makes you forget that Zach Collaros hasn’t thrown for two or more TDs in a game yet this year.
Morris: Saving the Riders’ season. Big plays at the right time have helped the Riders win games.
Krever: Terrifying. The pass-rushing duo of Charleston Hughes and Willie Jefferson gives Chris Jones so much flexibility — and opposing coordinators and quarterbacks nightmares just thinking about it.