June 6, 2024

Als win 110th Grey Cup rematch over Bombers

Jason Halstead/CFL.ca

WINNIPEG — Receiver Tyson Philpot scored twice to helped his Montreal Alouettes defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Princess Auto Stadium on Thursday night in the opening game of the 2024 CFL season.

The rematch of the 110th Grey Cup went in the defending champs’ favour with a 27-12 win to start their season 1-0.

Montreal’s championship-calibre defence picked up right where they left off last season, forcing three turnovers in the victory. Marc-Antoine Dequoy had an interception in the win while Shawn Lemon and Derek Wiggan tallied sacks on the night.

Along with Philpot’s pair of majors, backup quarterback Caleb Evans also scored a touchdown for the Alouettes.

Philpot led all receivers with 141 yards on 10 catches while Tyler Snead, who left the game late with an injury, and Dalton Schoen both had 62 yards receiving.

Cody Fajardo finished the game connecting on 20 of his 28 passes for 254 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Zach Collaros threw for 209 yards, connecting on 20 of 33 passes, and one interception in the loss.

» Depth Chart: MTL | WPG
» Images: Montreal at Winnipeg
» Stats: Als, Bombers by the numbers
» 3 stats that defined Montreal’s Week 1 win over Winnipeg


The teams traded two-and-outs on the opening few possessions of the 2024 CFL season. Montreal’s defence, that helped them win the Grey Cup against these very Bombers last year, flexed their muscles early with Shawn Lemon sacking Collaros on the Bombers second drive of the game bringing up a punt situation on third-and-12.

When Montreal hit the field next, on second down, Winnipeg’s defence matched with a big play of their own as Fajardo threw an interception to linebacker Brian Cole, who returned it to the Alouettes’ 20-yard line.

On third and two, Chris Streveler hit a CFL field for the first time in five years on short yardage to get the first down, bringing Winnipeg to the Als’ 10-yard line. After back-to-back shots to the back corner of the end zone, the first to Dalton Schoen and the second to Kenny Lawler, that were both incomplete, the Bombers settled for a field goal. Castillo was good on his 17-yard attempt, earning points off the turnover and giving the Bombers an early 3-0 lead.

Just when it looked like Montreal’s offence was done on the ensuing possession, Joseph Zema‘s punt was fumbled by Myron Mitchell and recovered by Bryce Cosby. Winnipeg challenged that there was no yards on the play but it was unsuccessful and Fajardo and co. were right back on the field.

On the first play after the turnover, starting at the Winnipeg 14-yard line, Tyson Philpot scored the first touchdown of the 2024 season, hauling in a pass from Fajardo and running into the end zone for the 14-yard score. With the extra point complete, Montreal took a 7-3 lead with just under four minutes left in the opening frame.

To start the second quarter, Montreal’s defence got to Collaros again, with off-season, free agent signing Derek Wiggan getting into the backfield for the team’s second sack of the game. Montreal held Collaros and the Bombers offence to another two-and-out on the possession.

When Montreal returned to the field, they took advantage of a short field to score six more points. On the one-yard line, backup quarterback Caleb Evans trotted out on the short yardage play and plunged into the end zone for the Als’ second touchdown of the contest. With the completed convert after the nine-play, 38-yard drive, the Alouettes took a 14-3 lead with eight and a half minutes left in the half.


Next, it appeared that Winnipeg’s offence was starting to get going with Collaros and co. rolling down the field on a drive that started on their own 31-yard line. On Montreal’s 32-yard line, the Bombers pivot aired it out looking for Schoen in the end zone but Marc-Antoine Dequoy jumped in front of the under thrown pass and hauled in the interception. Montreal wasn’t able to cash in on the turnover, however, and had to punt the ball away.

With under a minute to play, the Bombers were moving the chains, as a six-yard run from Oliveira brought up first down on the Montreal side of midfield. Collaros then connected with Schoen for a gain of 16 yards. On second and 10, Dionte Ruffin broke up a pass to Schoen in the end zone to deny Winnipeg the score. After Castillo missed his 38-yard field goal attempt, James Letcher Jr. came out of the end zone and then was tackled back in the end zone resulting in a safety. The two points cut Montreal’s lead to 14-5 with six seconds left and that would be the final scoring play of the first half.

Winnipeg lost one of their key receivers for the final 30 minutes as the team ruled Kenny Lawler out for the second half with an upper body injury.

Montreal tallied yet another turnover, their third of the contest, to start the second half, after as Darnell Sankey forced Nic Demski to fumble and Ruffin recovered the ball.

To start their next drive, Fajardo aired it out to Tyler Snead down the sideline, who got in behind Bombers defensive back Evan Holm for a 47-yard gain. Then after a four-yard pick up to Philpot, that set up second-and-six from the Winnipeg 13, Fajardo called his own number but wasn’t able to get the first down. Cote’s 19-yard field goal was good and Montreal’s lead increased to 17-5.

The Alouettes tacked on another point to their lead on their next possession (18-5) with Zema’s punt rolling through the end zone for the rouge.


It was a third-and-five to start the fourth quarter for the Bombers with Castillo attempting a 40-yard field goal. He missed his attempt, sailing through the end zone for the single point. The rouge cut the Alouettes lead to 18-6.

Montreal booted their own field goal attempt on their next drive with Cote connecting on his second of the evening, this one from 21-yards out. Those three points increased the Als lead to 21-6 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The Als continued to pile on the points as Philpot scored his second touchdown near the half way point of the fourth quarter. Fajardo handed off to Walter Feltcher who tossed it back to Fajardo, who then found a wide open Philpot for the 76-yard score. Cote missed his convert attempt and Montreal’s lead was 27-6.

Winnipeg scored their first touchdown of the game with just over a minute left as Johnny Augustine, who replaced Brady Oliveira late in the game, rushed into the end zone for six points. Castillo missed the extra point and the score cut Montreal’s lead to 27-12.

That would be the final scoring play of the game as the Alouettes walked away victorious.

Next up for the Montreal Alouettes is a Week 2 meeting with the Elks in Edmonton next Friday while Winnipeg will head to the nation’s capital to take on the Ottawa REDBLACKS next Thursday.

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