MONTREAL — A strong defensive performance and big plays from Vernon Adams Jr. helped lead the Montreal Alouettes to a 20-10 home victory against the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday. The Als have now won three straight games for the first time since 2016.
Adams completed 68 per cent of his passes for 191 yards and a touchdown to receiver Jake Wieneke. The athletic quarterback also did a bit of everything against the Esks, racking up 44 rushing yards on seven carries and hauling in a 21-yard touchdown catch from Eugene Lewis on a trick play.
Defence was the story for much of the game, and there were eleven combined two-and-outs in the opening half as both offences found it hard to gain significant ground. Als defensive backs Greg Reidand Taylor Loffer both intercepted Trevor Harris. Harris completed 29 of 43 passes for 271 yards in the loss.
Montreal Running back William Stanback chipped in 84 total yards on the ground and through the air to help Montreal sustain important drives.
Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte contributed three field goals, but saw his streak of 17 consecutive successful kicks come to an end. Penalties were costly for Edmonton, as two interceptions were called back due to illegal contact penalties.
Lewis had the first big play of the game for the Als with a 21-yard catch that got the team’s first scoring drive going. Adams then broke free two plays later for an 18-yard run up the middle of the field after juking defensive lineman Nick Usher. The athletic quarterback capped off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown catch on an incredible trick play pass from Lewis.
Adams looked like a true receiver as he gained 12 yards after the catch and made Esks defensive back Monshadrik Hunter miss a tackle on his way into the end zone for the opening score. Boris Bede added the convert kick to give Montreal a 7-0 lead.
The Als’ defence followed up the team’s strong offensive start when defensive back Greg Reid picked off Harris on the next drive. The interception was the first thrown by Harris since last season.
Als defensive back Ryan Carter was called for a pass interference penalty in the second quarter after Harris chucked a flea flicker pass down the field. The penalty resulted in solid field position for the Esks, but Montreal’s defence held strong and forced a 17-yard field goal from Whyte.
Running back Jeremiah Johnson made his presence known for Montreal later in the half with a thundering 43-yard catch-and-run all the way down to the Esks’ three-yard line. But defence stole the show once again as Edmonton’s defensive front refused to give up ground, forcing the Als to settle for a 10-yard field goal from Bede to make the score 10-3.
The Esks appeared to get their first major of the game after Harris threw a beautiful 33-yard touchdown pass to receiver Kenny Stafford just before half-time, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty on Edmonton. The Esks then added to their lead with another field goal after receiver Natey Adjei put the team in range by gaining 16 yards on a pair of catches. The successful 34-yard kick from Whyte made the score 10-6 heading into the second half.
A solid 15-yard reception from Stafford got things started for the Esks in the third quarter, and Whyte would add his third field goal of the game a few plays later on a 48-yard kick to make it a one-point game. The kick was Whyte’s 17th consecutive successful field goal.
But the Als responded on the following drive with their second touchdown of the game. Stanback opened things up with an 18-yard catch-and-run, and Adams followed it up a play later with a 15-yard sprint into Edmonton territory. Adams then put the finishing touches on the drive with a five-yard touchdown toss to Wieneke. Bede added the extra point to make the score 17-9 with under five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Whyte saw his field goal streak broken just before the end of the quarter when his second 48-yard attempt of the game hit the left upright. Montreal’s offence took over and Stanback added another key play by turning a short catch into a 19-yard gain shortly before the game went into a weather delay.
Montreal’s defence notched another turnover after the delay when Loffler intercepted Harris.
A big 49-yard play from Esks receiver Ricky Collins on third down made things interesting down the stretch, but it was too little too late as the Als walked away with their third straight win.
The Edmonton Eskimos will host the Toronto Argonauts next Thursday in their Week 7 matchup, while the Montreal Alouettes will get a week off to rest before they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS in Week 8.