This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/games/6289/montreal-alouettes-vs-toronto-argonauts/
Audition's for next year are on.....
Wonder how long MBT and Harris will play today...ooops Kelly gets this one.
Should be interesting....
Might be a good thing
How about Dominique Davis -does he get a lot of snaps ?
I would think so. The last thing any team wants is for their starting QB to go down to injury in a meaningless game.
It might be a good chance for fans to see what other arms the two teams have.
Just checked, and the Argos don't even have a 3rd QB on the active roster. Ben Holmes is listed on the PR. I hope they dress him for this game.
The plane ride home from Montreal went as expected, for the most part.
After winning a nail biter over the Als on a last-second rouge, the Toronto Argonauts were returning home with an East Division regular season title in hand. There was a celebratory aspect with some music playing and some singing at the back of the plane, while at the front of the charter there was some quiet conversation, while others grabbed a quick nap.
One player treated the ride home a little differently. Before the plane had reached peak altitude, quarterback McLeod Bethel Thompson left the party zone and found an empty seat on the aisle.
When he sat down in seat 10C, he opened his laptop to look at a cut up of video from the game. Within a few seconds, offensive tackle Dejon Allen was watching from the window seat next to his QB. Running back A.J. Ouellette leaned in from his seat across the aisle, while a quartet of receivers; Brandon Banks, Markeith Ambles, DaVaris Daniels and Kurleigh Gittens Jr., either stood in their spots behind Bethel-Thompson, or stood in the aisle.
Though just a matter of minutes after clinching a home game in the Eastern Final, the group knew there was much work to be done. The seven players spent the majority of the 70-minute flight watching a game they had just competed in; breaking down each play and discussing the keys to why it worked, or why it didn’t.
This is how championship teams are made.
Holding an in-flight video session is the norm for the man who will win the CFL’s passing title this season, regardless of whether or not he plays next Saturday in a game that has become inconsequential in the standings.
“The whole point is that you play football to find the best version of yourself,” Bethel-Thompson told Argonauts.ca after the flight was over. “I know tonight was not the best version of myself. I feel like I played timidly early. I missed a throw I could have been more aggressive on, and then right in the middle after I blamed myself for that, I was too aggressive and threw an interception.”
“I know that to get to where we need to go we’ve taken one step,” he continued. “To take the next two steps it will take me playing better. Today is a great celebration, but it means nothing without two more wins.”
That’s how the San Francisco native rolls. There was no mention of his work on the game winning drive; throwing a perfect out to Gittens for 12 yards, hitting the check down to Oullette for a dozen more, or delivering the 15-yard strike to Daniels to set up the game-winning kick.
Three plays, totaling 39 yards, in just 25 seconds to move into kicker Boris Bede’s range. It was surgical precision in the most pressure-filled scenario imaginable; the dying seconds of a tie game in the stadium of a tough opponent with a first-round bye on the line.
M B-T and company met the challenge and the result is the chance to host the Eastern Final on October 13 at BMO Field. For Dejon Allen, the win caps an amazing week. On October 15, he and his girlfriend welcomed their first child to the world. Baby Sahara has been on his mind all week.
“I have a picture of my daughter as the wallpaper on my phone, so I kept looking at her,” said the proud papa to Argonauts.ca. “It’s made me think about life a lot more; preparing myself for her and also made me more accountable to her.”
One can assume that despite the obvious joy he’s experienced this week, his newborn wasn’t at the top of the right tackle’s mind during an incredibly intense game, especially during the game-winning drive.
“It boosts our confidence a lot,” he said of that drive. “We’re all confident in what we do. It just takes time to develop an o-line and the offense together. (The win) means a lot. It gives us some time to prepare for the Eastern Final. It means so much to the team.”
The offence had a few highlight moments against a stingy Montreal defence; the game-winning drive, a 39-yard TD pass from M B-T to Gittens, who made a remarkable adjustment to the ball, and a 109-yard touchdown drive following a goal-line stand where the Argos denied the Als after a first-and-goal from the four-yard line.
There were also several big moments for the defence; underscored by the goal line stand and a key interception by Jonathan Jones at the Argos 10-yard line on the Alouettes first possession.
The defence is still a work in progress. Corey Mace is in his first season as defensive coordinator, while there is only one defensive player still on the Argos roster from 2019, an astronomical turnover in talent.
That player is defensive end Robbie Smith.
The Brampton native was the ninth-overall pick in that year’s CFL Draft. He’s still young by CFL standards, but enough of a veteran to realize how important the win and bye week are in the big picture.
“It was huge,” he told Argonauts.ca. “It gives us time to rest, especially guys that are hurt. Whoever is banged up or dealing with injuries now get the bye week, plus they’ll now maybe only have to play a quarter or rest the entire game (next week against Montreal). It’s huge for us.”
Smith says the defence has developed a knack for coming up with a big play at a key moment, evidenced by the goal line stand which forced the Als to concede a safety in the third quarter, or the pick by Jones.
Jones has filled in at weakside linebacker for the injured Wynton McManis, who had been playing at an exceptionally high level. Big cleats to fill for sure, but Smith says the rookie has done a fantastic job.
I think Wynton was on track to win Defensive Player of the Year,” said Smith. “Those are big shoes to fill, but J.J. came in with the mindset of getting better, watching film, and preparing like a pro. Obviously you see that on the film today. A big shout out to J.J., that was a huge pick and it was a great way to start the game and give us momentum for our offence. It was huge.”
The Argos roster is filled with playmakers on both sides of the ball. It’s become the M.O. of this team; to win games by making game-changing plays at the key moment. Each week it seems to be somebody different that gives them that boost.
The Argos are anxious to see which player or players will step into that role in the Eastern Final at BMO Field on November 13 against either the Alouettes or Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Unfortunately for the Alouettes, the battle for first place is officially over. Saturday’s 24-23 loss to the Toronto Argonauts ensured that the Als will be finishing second in the East Division.
This is the second time this season that the Als have lost to Toronto by just one point, as they also dropped a 20-19 decision to the Argos at BMO Field in Week 2.
The Alouettes will now host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division semi-final on November 6th. The winner will take on the Argos in Toronto on November 13th.
Red Zone offence:
The Als simply didn’t produce enough points when they got into the red zone. Give the Argos defence credit, they’d bend but they wouldn’t break. On the opening drive of the game, Montreal marched down the field all the way to the Argos 15-yard line when Trevor Harris was intercepted by Jonathan Jones.
The Als drove all the way down the field again in the opening quarter, only to be stuffed on third-and-goal from the one-yard line. Despite those two turnovers, the Als only found themselves down 7-3 at the halftime break.
Still, the team needs to find a way to execute in the scoring zone. That aspect of the game gets magnified when you lose by one point.
On a more positive note, there are a few solid performances on offence that need to be highlighted. Before we get into those individual efforts, it’s important to note that the Als moved the ball extremely well on Saturday afternoon. They finished with 519 yards of total offence, while the Argos had just 349. Harris was efficient, as he completed 75.8 percent of his passes for 413 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Those are big numbers.
The other players I wanted to highlight are Geno Lewis, Walter Fletcher, and Jake Wieneke.
Lewis finished with six receptions on a team-high nine targets for 72 yards and one touchdown, but there are two catches that will stand out. First, he made an incredible catch on second-and-18 with the Als trailing by seven on their final offensive drive. He gained 14 yards. On third-and-four, he made an incredible diving reception in the end zone to tie the game. That’s what you expect from one of the elite receivers in the league. He’s been tremendous in 2022.
Fletcher continues to impress. He had a 59-yard reception in the first quarter, which got the Als into the red zone. He ended up with 99 yards receiving and 24 yards on the ground. He’s been so good that the Als will have to continue dressing two American running backs, which is rare for CFL teams.
And Wieneke came up with important catch after catch in this one. The veteran went over 100 yards for the first time this season. He finished the game with five receptions for a team-high 121 yards and one touchdown. It was nice to see Wieneke produce those kinds of numbers. Hopefully, he can keep rolling heading into the postseason.
Defence keeps the team in the game:
The defence did everything they could to keep the team in the game. As I mentioned before, even though the Als had two early turnovers in the red zone, they were still only trailing by four points at halftime. The defence allowed the offence to get into the rhythm of the game, and it worked because the score was tied at 23 with less than one minute to go in regulation.
“They threw a lot of short things at us in the first half, and they were able to get a hold of us that way,” defensive end Thomas Costigan said. “We were able to calm down and play some good defence in the second half. Our offence really turned things around.
Marc-Antoine Dequoy picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson in the fourth quarter, which led to a David Cote field goal, which tied the game, 16-16. Dequoy, who is in his first year as a full-time starter, now leads the team in interceptions with four.
The last play of the game:
The special teams played well overall. Chandler Worthy gave the Als some good field position, but he was unlucky too. On two occasions, the Als returner let the ball go over his head because it looked like it would roll into the end zone. Unfortunately for him, the ball bounced the opposite way.
Finally, after the Als came back to tie the game for a second time, the Argos were able to march into field goal range. Kicker Boris Bede missed the field goal attempt, but Worthy couldn’t prevent the ball from going out of bounds, which means the Argos walked off with a win because they were awarded a single point on the play.
“There’s a lot to think about,” Worthy said after the game. “I kind of knew where I was on the field. I was trying to position myself so that I could stay in bounds, but I was literally like a toe out. Those moments are hard to swallow because I always want to give my heart and help my team win. It just gives me more fuel going into the playoffs to keep continuing to better ourselves. We still have such a good opportunity. That’s where my focus is.”
It’s a tough way to go down and a tough way to concede the division crown, but there isn’t much Worthy could have done there. There’s a lot going on in that moment, and even if he would have returned the ball out of the end zone, the Als were flagged for too many men on the field, so Bede would have been given another opportunity to win the game.
It was great to see S.J. Green in Montreal again. He’s clearly one of the greatest receivers in franchise history, and it awesome to hear Als fans give him the ovation he deserved. Green spent 10 seasons in Montreal. He won two Grey Cups, and he made countless spectacular grabs during his time here.
If you weren’t in the same stadium, you may have missed the Price family’s appearance at Percival Molson.
Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, his wife Angela, and their three children Liv, Millie and Lincoln were all in attendance for family day on Saturday afternoon!
The Als will play one final regular season game against the Argos at BMO Field next Saturday at 2 pm, but it won’t have any bearing on the standings because the Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton are all locked into playoff spots.
“I’ve never been to the playoffs, so I’m super excited to get into playoffs,” Costigan said. “I know how much that means to everyone in the CFL, and I couldn’t be more excited to take that step.”
It’ll be interesting to see which veterans are rested by these two teams heading into their next matchup.
Montreal at Toronto
Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET
HOW MUCH OF MBT WILL ARGOS FANS SEE AT THE FINAL REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON? (CHRISTIAN BENDER/CFL.CA)
Oh, what did I just write about the BC Lions using a road trip to the host of the Western Final as motivation? Same goes for the Montreal Alouettes, who must be quite ticked off that a rouge sunk their chances at getting first in the East Division.
But here we are. The Alouettes and Argos will most likely be resting a few people after a hard fought season to get to the top two spots in the East Division.
As we know, you can’t rest everybody with the limited roster space in the CFL. I’m also excited to see the potential of a big dose of Chad Kelly. The Argonauts backup had plenty of hype going into the season but McLeod Bethel-Thompson has gone wire to wire as the only quarterback who has been able to say that this season.
Dominique Davis will also likely get some work in as the more experienced CFL quarterback of the backups of these two teams.
I’ll give the edge to Toronto in this case, however.
PICK: TORONTO (0 confidence bonus)
I’d be a nervous Argo fan come the day of the eastern final.....weather its Hamilton or Montreal on the other side of the ball.
Montreal Injury Report
|Player Name||Position||Injury||TUE||WED||THU||Game Status|
|Reggie White Jr.||WR||Knee||DNP|
|Chris Schleuger||OL||Healthy Scratch||Full|
|Michael Wakefield||DL||Healthy Scratch||Full|
Toronto Injury Report
I wonder if we'll see this increased scheme variety this weekend, too. Or will the OCs keep things simple with the backups getting most of the snaps?
Running backs William Stanback, Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi will all be in the lineup.
“We want to win this game,” GM and interim head coach Danny Maciocia said. “We want to see your quarterbacks play well, we want to see our Canadian receivers play well, we want to see a good performance from Cole Spieker, too, for example.”