Friday, August 27, 2004

Big Blue left sitting in the rain

The Montreal Alouettes improved their record to 9 and 1 with a soggy 29-13 win over the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg on Thursday night. The Als, who couldn’t break free of the Bombers until the fourth quarter, watched the diminutive Ezra Landry deliver the final blow with a 120 yard wide field goal return, finishing off the Bomber hopes for yet another night.

Landry’s amazing return, with only six minutes left in the game, came off yet another wide Troy Westwood field goal. Taking advantage of less than intense special team coverage, Landry bobbled the ball in the end zone before blasting down the sidelines to the Bomber endzone. His return set a new Alouette record for returning wide field goals, ironically held by current Blue Bomber Keith Stokes.

The wide field goal continued to highlight the difficulties that the Winnipeg kicking game have suffered the last few years. Westwood who had engaged in a rather public spat with Alouette Ed Phillion, didn’t let his foot do the talking on a windswept, rain filled game at CanadaInn stadium. His missed field goal which resulted in that ten point swing was the definitive play in the game that featured fumbles, interceptions, incompletions and penalties making for a sloppy game in less than ideal conditions.

Unfortunately for the Bombers, who now fall to 3 and 7 on the season, a decent performance by the defence, was tossed to the sideline with the untimely return. Keith Stokes electrified the wet gathering of 22,826 with a kick return of his own for a touchdown, taking a punt back 83 yards for a touchdown and setting a Bomber record for most punt returns in a season at 3. And while he was putting points on the board, his Bomber team mates were having some problems. The Bombers managed only 1 yard of total offence in the first half, compared to 192 for Montreal. It’s a testimony to the bad weather and some strong defence that the Als couldn’t put more points on the board.

Khari Jones, who threw 8 for 16 with 56 yards, found himself on the bench in the second half as the Bombers turned things over to Kevin Glenn. Throwing completions for 6 of 11 attempts and gaining 84 yards. Neither Bomber Quarterback threw an interception.

Montreal QB Anthony Calvillo, who admitted the conditions were not very good, threw the ball 38 times, completing 17 of his passes for 277 yards, giving up one interception. Jermaine Copeland scored a TD as did Bruno Heppell as the Alouettes success in the Winnipeg end of the field. Penalties also helped to bring down the Blue; Winnipeg took 15 penalties, surrendering 113 yards to the Alouettes as the game wound down.

The Alouettes take their juggernaut off to Ottawa for a Friday Night game on the Labour Day weekend , while the Bombers try to regroup and move on to the always tough Labour Day Classic on September 5th, against the Riders in Regina.

One thing is certain having had his chatter thrown back in his face by the Als; Troy Westwood won’t be recounting his famous comments about Saskatchewan fans. He needs to concentrate on getting his foot to work with the ball and not end up in his mouth.

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