6/2/2006 10:39:59 PM
WINNIPEG (CP) - Montreal Alouettes head coach Don Matthews has never been a fan of instant replay, but he was the first CFL coach to try to take advantage of the new rules.
It didn't work, but his team won anyway.
Matthews challenged a fumble call late in the second quarter of Montreal's 25-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Friday in front of 27,573 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.
Montreal quarterback Nealon Greene fumbled a pass attempt and Blue Bomber defensive end Gavin Walls picked up the ball and ran 35 yards for the touchdown at 13:54.
Matthews questioned whether Greene's arm had come forward in a passing motion. The original decision stood after the referee reviewed video.
"It was a good challenge because ... it was a big play for their team and it was a question," said Matthews, the CFL's all-time winningest coach.
"Personally, instant replay for two to four plays a game, I really don't understand the value of what it's for when there's so many other things that we could be doing to improve the officiating in the game.
"But that's what we have, and whoever thought it up is way more of a deep-thinker than I am."
Each team can challenge two decisions, but not in the game's final three minutes or overtime. Teams don't lose a timeout if they're unsuccessful after the first challenge.
"We could probably put another official on the field for half the price and get the betterment of two guys watching," Matthews added.
Quarterback Marcus Brady entered the game for the Alouettes in the fourth quarter and pulled them ahead 25-24 with less than five minutes remaining.
Brady hit rookie receiver Chris Davis with a seven-yard pass in the end zone and then went for the two-point convert, connecting with receiver Adam Eckert.
Brady, Greene and Scott McBrien are fighting for the back-up spot behind Anthony Calvillo, who didn't play.
"I knew I was going to get limited reps," said Brady, a former Hamilton and Toronto pivot.
"I was able to pull out a come-from-behind win, which every quarterback wants to have."
Winnipeg's scoring came off touchdowns by Walls and receiver Quentin McCord, two field goals and a single by Troy Westwood and a field goal by rookie import Kirk Yliniemi.
Davis, fullback Jeff Piercy and defensive back Chip Cox had touchdowns for Montreal and Damon Duval connected on a field goal.
The game included five turnovers.
The teams were tied 7-7 after the first quarter and then a Winnipeg turnover gave Montreal a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Bomber defensive back Anthony Malbrough bobbled a punt and Cox picked up the ball at the two-yard line and rolled into the end zone with four minutes left in the first half.
Winnipeg fired back with a pair of TDs 25 seconds apart to end the half ahead 21-14.
McCord caught a 24-yard pass from quarterback Mike Quinn to score at 13:29 and Walls notched his fumble return.
Duval and Westwood traded field goals before Davis' TD and the go-ahead two-point convert.
Notes: Montreal fielded all rookies on defence except for end Anwar Stewart. Its offence included veterans.