The Winnipeg Blue Bombers rolled into Percival-Molson Stadium in Montreal and pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the CFL season with a convincing 27–22 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Alouettes.
Quarterback Joey Elliott turned in an outstanding performance throwing three touchdown passes without any interceptions for 335 yards. His counterpart, Anthony Calvillo, did become the league’s all-time leader in pass attempts, but also threw two interceptions.
The Bombers took advantage of a lacklustre Als team that turned the ball over five times. Two of those Montreal turnovers came in the first half with the team in scoring position, thus denying them of potentially 14 points.
The performance by Elliott was a remarkable turnaround from his Sept. 29 game against the Toronto Argonauts where he threw three interceptions.
The Bombers have had problems at quarterback all season with starter Buck Pierce unable to finish matches due to repeated injury problems. In addition, Winnipeg’s offensive line has been plagued with problems resulting in tough times for their quarterbacks.
In the fourth quarter, Elliott threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rory Kohlert giving the Bombers a 27–16 lead with just less than nine minutes to play. While the Alouettes hadn’t been at their best, with Calvillo at the helm, they always have a chance to come back and win, as they have so many times before.
Calvillo tossed his only touchdown pass of the game to Brandon London making the score 27–22. Montreal then missed the two-point conversion. London stepped up for Montreal with a 9-catch, 170-yard performance as their league-leading receiver S.J. Green was inactive.
With less than two minutes to play, the Als got the ball after Winnipeg punted. A 15-yard no-yards penalty further helped the Alouettes. But Calvillo, despite throwing for over 300 yards, didn’t seem to be at his best on this day.
Calvillo’s final interception put an abrupt end to Montreal’s game-winning drive. He looked long once again for London, but his underthrown ball was picked off by Brandon Stewart.
While the Bombers improved to 4–10, the Alouettes fell to 8–6. The Bombers got their first road win of the season, while the Als suffered only their second home loss of the season.
Montreal’s defensive secondary was picked apart by Elliott. Three different receivers caught touchdown passes and 6-foot-5-inch wideout Chris Matthews racked up 143 yards receiving.
“It was a great win for us,” Elliott said in an interview with TSN. “It’s tough to win on the road. The offensive line did a great job of protecting me.
“This win is priceless.”
One might say the Alouettes fell for the classic trap game with the league’s basement-dwellers visiting and a battle against Toronto up next. Their game next Sunday in Toronto could go a long way to determining who gets first place in the East Division.
But while the Alouettes were underperforming, the Argonauts got crushed 36–10 by an in-form Saskatchewan Roughriders team at the Rogers Centre. Kory Sheets ran for 113 yards and became the CFL’s second 1,000-yard rusher in a penalty-filled affair.
Thanksgiving Day was not kind to host teams Montreal and Toronto. The Argos had won four of five games heading into Thanksgiving Day but now both them and Montreal will limp into a crucial showdown next Sunday.
As a result, the East Division continues to lag the West Division with four games left to play. Only the Alouettes have a better than .500 record while in the West, only the Eskimos have a worse than .500 record.
Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports
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