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Grey Cup 110 Expanded Report, Takeaways, Ways Every Starter Impacted the Game, Expanded Unofficial Defensive Stats, Grey Cup Clink Awards

The 110th Grey Cup was an instant classic that saw the Montreal Alouettes win by a score of 28-24 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The game came down to the wire with Montreal taking the lead with 12 seconds left with a Tyson Philpot receiving touchdown. Includes ways in which most players made their impact on the Grey Cup as well as expanded unofficial defensive stats such as QB hurries and run stops.

Contents:
Grey Cup Clink Awards
Montreal’s Passing Game: Cody Fajardo Activated Big Fajita Mode
Winnipeg’s Passing Game: Zach Collaros Played Good Against a Tough Defense
Breaking Down Brady Oliveira’s 119 Rushing Yards
Breaking Down William Stanback’s 72 Rushing Yards
Dakota Prukop Was Extremely Effective in Short-yardage
Montreal’s Pass Protection Was Great
Winnipeg’s Goal Line Stand Was Tremendous
Winnipeg’s Final Play Seemed Illogical and Silly
The Montreal Alouettes Did Not Have Help From the Officials
Winnipeg Special Teams Notes
Montreal Special Teams Notes
Montreal’s Defensive Performances
Winnipeg’s Defensive Performances
Montreal’s Receiving Performances
Winnipeg’s Receiving Performances
Other Articles

Previous CFL Playoff Game Reports:
CFL Eastern Final Report MTL 38-17 TOR
CFL Western Final Report WPG 24-13 BC
CFL Eastern Semi-Final Report MTL 27-12 HAM
CFL Western Semi-Final Report BC 41-30 CGY

Grey Cup Clink Awards

Highlighting impactful players from different position groups. Lots of talented players obviously not mentioned on this list but I wanted to highlight the performance of 1 player from each position group for this game after watching it 3 times.

Quarterback: Cody Fajardo

Fajardo was named the Grey Cup MVP as he completed 21 of his 26 passes for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. His 13-yard run on 2nd and 18 was clutch to put Montreal in a position to pick up 3rd down on Montreal’s game-winning drive. He was incredibly savvy on his presnap audible to increase pass protection on a 33-yard pass to Austin Mack.

Runningback: William Stanback

This is a tricky selection. For Winnipeg, Oliveira rushed 19 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. While he did not have the highest rushing average he was more reliable and was stopped on a lower percentage of his runs than Stanback for Montreal. It is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison given the fact that Stanback only had 9 carries compared to Olveira’s 19. Stanback finished the game with 68 yards on his 9 carries and a touchdown which was a 32-yard rush.

I am naming Stanback here due to his big play and also due to the fact that Oliveira had a fumble deep in Montreal’s territory which led to a turnover.

Wide Receiver: Austin Mack

Mack showed great hands on a 32-yard catch with a defender having a hand impacting the ball. He also made a remarkable one-handed catch for 33 yards early in the 2nd half. Mack finished the day with 6 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive Lineman: Nick Callender

Nick Callender was often lined up in a difficult matchup across from Winnipeg’s defensive end, Willie Jefferson. Outside of Jefferson’s sack, Jefferson only had 1 QB hurry which came late in the game. The entire offensive line played well for Montreal keeping the pressure rate low in pass protection.

Defensive Lineman: Lwal Uguak

Lwal Uguak demonstrated tremendous run-stopping making 4 run stops and also assisted with a run stop. He had 2 QB hurries in addition to his 5 tackles. Late in the third quarter, he got by Stanley Bryant with a swim move to get in the running lane and stop Oliveira in his tracks. There were 5 defensive linemen who made positive impacts for Montreal. Uguak making 4 run stops against a team that ran the ball more than any other team is significantly impactful.

Jackson Jeffcoat would have been my selection for Winnipeg for his 3 QB hurries, run stop, and had an assist on a sack. Montreal game planned in such a way that they had a lot of plays in which the ball was distributed quickly and few run plays to stop. In other words Montreal’s gameplan eliminated opportunities for Blue Bombers’ defenders to have a chance to impact the game at the line or in the second level.

Linebacker: Reggie Stubblefield

This was a difficult selection as Montreal had a few linebackers who played a strong game such as Tyrice Beverette who had 7 tackles, an assisted run stop, and no missed tackles. Darnell Sankey had a highly impactful game as well and led the team with 8 tackles.

Stubblefield had 5 tackles, a sack, and a stop against the pass. Stubblefield had 2 plays in which he used good footwork to make a blocker move left before going right to make a tackle which he did on the sack as well as on a run play. He made a good tackle on a 3-yard pass play forcing 3rd and long on Winnipeg’s first drive forcing them to settle for a field goal.

Shayne Gauthier would be my selection from Winnipeg for his 5 tackles, sack, and run stop. 

Defensive Back: Kabion Ento

Kabion Ento had an MVP-level performance making multiple game-altering plays. He ended Winnipeg’s 4th possession by ripping the football out of Oliveira’s hands when Winnipeg was within Montreal’s 27-yard line. Ento also had a pass breakup in the end zone in the 2nd quarter which would have been a 29-yard touchdown to Wolitarsky otherwise. In the third quarter, he eliminated another touchdown opportunity closing quickly on Kenny Lawler and laying out for an interception in the endzone.

Ento spoke on his feelings directly after winning the Grey Cup reflecting on his knockdown and interception in the endzone. 

“I mean, I feel amazing. I mean, we just won the Grey Cup. I don’t even know what to say right now. Honestly, I’m just happy for my teammates from the Quebec area and from Montreal, I know this is really big for them. And I told Marc today. I said, I’m playing for you. Playing for my guys, Copeland, Tyson Copeland today too, man. I want to do it for them. I know how much it means to them, so That’s what it’s about.” Full Kabion Ento Interview.

Evan Holm would have been my selection for Winnipeg based on his 7 tackles, interception, and pass defended.

Special Teams: Tyson Philpot

Philpot had 3 punt returns averaging 16.3 yards. He had a big punt return of 30 yards down the sideline to give the Alouette’s field position on the 28-yard line to begin a third-quarter touchdown drive on.

Sergio Castillo would have been my selection for Winnipeg based on his 25-yard field goal and 3 extra points made. Noah Hallett stood out as well making 2 good special teams tackles.

Montreal’s Passing Game: Cody Fajardo Activated Big Fajita Mode

Cody Fajardo completed 21 of his 26 passes for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. The QB out of Nevada activated “Big Fajita Mode” and created situations that were often too much on a defense’s plate, making plays with his arm and his legs.

Fajardo did an excellent job making smart decisions to get the ball to his receivers quickly making the battles for his offensive line significantly more winnable. I asked Fajardo the day before the game if it is more important to get rid of the ball quickly when playing Winnipeg given their pass rush, particularly from Willie Jefferson and Jackson Jeffcoat.

“Yeah. I think, yes and no because their DBs do a really good job of sitting on certain routes and jumping routes because they know how good their defensive line is. And if a quarterback gets the ball out of their hands too quickly and you don’t see it, They jump in, interception, big play.” Fajardo answered. Full Interview.

On Fajardo’s interception, the ball needed to be placed more to Mack’s right to give him the opportunity to adjust to the ball and use his body to keep Holm away. Ultimately a very good play from Evan Holm maintaining his position to make the interception. Outside of the interception, there were not any throws that I would consider turnover-worthy.

Montreal mixed in quite a few bubble screens that allowed Fajardo to get rid of the ball quickly. Montreal also schemed well in pass protection such as a play in the 2nd quarter in which Jake Harty’s waggle moved him to flank Fajardo in pass protection with William Stanback on the other side. Fajardo made a great throw to Tyler Snead for 23 yards on a dig route spinning away from Brandon Alexander for a few extra yards to set up first and goal from the 3-yard line.

On Fajardo’s first throw of the 2nd half, Winnipeg was showing cover 0 presnap. Fajardo called an audible and changed Jake Harty’s assignment from running a route to providing pass protection against the blitz. Fajardo stepped into a throw and threw deep to Austin Mack in single-man coverage against Demerio Houston. Mack made a remarkable catch without the use of his left hand which was being pulled prior to the ball’s arrival.

Fajardo also made a good throw 31 yards to Austin Mack toward the end of the first quarter despite there being pretty good coverage provided by Deatrick Nichols.

The Final Drive

Big Fajita mode was in full effect on Montreal’s final 3 plays. With 1 minute left, Shayne Gauthier and Jackson Jeffcoat made a push sacking Fajardo. This set up 2nd and 18 for Montreal from their own 47 with 1:02 on the clock. Willie Jefferson and Ricky Walker got into the Montreal backfield quickly and Fajardo stepped out of the pocket before taking off downfield for a 13-yard run setting up 3rd and 5.

Cole Spieker got past Jamal Parker on a go route as Parker may have been expecting a shorter route and Spieker gained separation. Fajardo threw to him deep downfield for a 31-yard gain to keep the Alouettes alive and in scoring position. The play could have potentially been a touchdown if the ball was placed further ahead but was still placed for Spieker to make the catch. It took guts to take a shot downfield in a situation in which the game would be over had Montreal failed to pick up 5 yards.

On the next play, with Kryie Wilson pressuring from his left Fajardo threw a dart with great accuracy down the middle to Tyson Philpot for a 19-yard touchdown into a tight window with Demerio Houston in coverage to score the game-winning touchdown.

Winnipeg’s Passing Game: Zach Collaros Played Good Against a Tough Defense

Toward the end of September, I wrote an article in which I predicted Winnipeg to not make it to the Grey Cup, in part because I believed that Zach Collaros has underperformed in the playoffs as a Blue Bomber compared to his regular season performances. Previously I believed Collaros to be a player who plays worse in cold weather. Heading into the Grey Cup Collaros had only surpassed 200 yards passing in 3 of his 8 playoff games as a Bomber. He also had more interceptions than touchdowns while also averaging less than 1 touchdown per game. 

Collaros could have potentially placed the ball in a better location on the Kabion Ento interception by dropping the ball to Kenny Lawler deeper into the endzone where only he can get it, but credit to Ento for closing the distance very quickly and laying out to make a remarkable interception.

Outside of that play, Collaros played a complete game against a very tough defense. He completed 19 of his 23 passes for 236 yards averaging 10.3 yards per pass. Collaros was taking what the defense was giving him making short passes to open receivers to pick up first downs. Such as his first throw to Dalton Schoen over the middle, moving the sticks with a 7-yard gain. On Winnipeg’s 2nd drive, he delivered to ball to Brady Oliveira for an 8-yard gain when Brady was lined up wide and ran a comeback route.

Collaros played smart throughout the game and showed good patience not pushing the ball downfield until his 5th throw which was a 26-yard pass to Kenny Lawler. Lawler got open in part due to some presnap movement in which Lawler just before the snap switched from the outside to the inside with Dalton Schoen. This created some confusion for the defense as both defensive backs went with Dalton Schoen on the play allowing Lawler to briefly get open.

Collaros’ longest throw was also to Kenny Lawler and was a fantastic throw rolling right with pressure coming from Mustafa Johnson. He dropped the ball into Lawler’s hands who made a great catch despite Wesley Sutton providing good coverage and having his arm in the mix with the ball.

Despite many considering Montreal a heavy underdog ahead of this match, going up against them as a quarterback is a very difficult task. Montreal had allowed the fewest yards per pass over the regular season allowing just 7.6 yards per pass. Only Winnipeg allowed fewer passing touchdowns and passing yards over the season. Montreal has seen the emergence through the season of 3 CFL rookies on the defensive side of the ball in defensive end Lwal Uguak, linebacker Reggie Stubblefield, and cornerback Kabion Ento. They also brought in Shawn Lemon and Darnell Sankey midseason. This has been a defense that has changed a lot over the season and has continuously improved.

Breaking Down Brady Oliveira’s 119 Rushing Yards

Oliveira rushed 19 times for 119 yards and a touchdown averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Similar to the West Finals, Oliveira was highly effective at the start of the game. Oliveira was tremendously impactful on Winnipeg’s first drive which was a 40-yard drive that ended in a field goal. Oliveira accounted for 32 of those yards in just 4 rushes. On his 2nd carry, he broke a tackle on a 10-yard run. On his fourth carry, he made a good cutback bouncing outside when Montreal clogged the interior picking up 14 yards.

Oliveira had 6 carries in the first quarter picking up 48 yards and averaging 8 yards per carry He also had a 5-yard touchdown to cap off Winnipeg’s 2nd drive. In the first quarter, Oliveira had one carry under 5 yards which was a 3-yard carry limited by a big run stop by Avery Ellis and Lwal Uguak.

2nd Quarter

Oliveira had 3 carries in the in the 2nd quarter. A 7-yard run to the left on Winnipeg’s 4th possession during which Kabion Ento ripped the football out of his hands getting Montreal the ball. On his 2nd carry Montreal clogged the middle and Darnell Sankey made the stop keeping it to 3 yards with Almondo Sewell helping as well. Oliveira’s 3rd run of the quarter was an 11-yard run with some good cuts establishing first and goal at the 3-yard line.

3rd Quarter

Oliveira had 5 carries in the third quarter. He plunged down the middle for a 7-yard gain. The following play he broke a tackle picking up a first down on another 7-yard run getting the ball to Montreal’s 34. His third run was a 1-yard carry on first down in the red zone and was stopped by Lwal Uguak.

His 4th carry of the drive came on Winnipeg’s 9th possession and was stopped again by Lwal Uguak with help from Darnell Sankey holding him to 4 yards. Olivira’s 5th rush was a 3-yard carry due to Lwal Uguak getting by Stanley Bryant with a swim move and getting in the running lane.

4th Quarter

Oliveira had 5 carries in the 4th quarter. His first run was a 5-yard run down the middle on first down to open Winnipeg’s 10th possession. On Winnipeg’s 11th possession, he rushed 8 yards spinning for a couple extra yards as he was tackled. Oliveira’s third carry was a 5-yard run down the middle. His 4th carry of the quarter saw him rush 8 yards down the middle setting up 2nd and 2 at Montreal’s 4 yard line. Oliveira’s final carry of the game was on Winnipeg’s 12th possession and saw him rush 2 yards up the middle due to a Shawn Lemon run stop.

Stats by Quarter

Takeaway: All in all Oliveira was effective on the ground. It seemed Montreal’s run defense began to have more success the longer the game went on.

Breaking Down William Stanback’s 72 Rushing Yards

Stanback had the biggest rushing play of the game which was a 32-yard touchdown. Stanback also had more yards per carry rushing for 68 yards on 9 carries averaging 7.6 yards per rush.

First Quarter

Stanback’s first run was a 3-yard run to the left being stopped by Jake Thomas to open Montreal’s first possession.

The 2nd carry came on Montreal’s 2nd possession with a 32-yard touchdown run hitting the line with speed and breaking a tackle on the way with good blocking at the line and James Tuck and Tyler Snead blocking in the 2nd level.

2nd Quarter

In the 2nd Quarter, Stanback had a 3-yard rush to the left picking up a first down before Evan Holm stopped him. On Montreal’s 5th possession, Ricky Walker plugged the hole and Stanback had nowhere to go and he was stopped at 0 yards by Kyrie Wilson and Jackson Jeffcoat.

On first and goal from the 3-yard line Stanback was tackled by Ricky Walker in a crowded area rushing for 2 yards taking the ball to the 1-yard line.

3rd Quarter

To open the second half Stanback rushed for 4 yards before being brought down by Deatrick Nichols in a heavy collision on Montreal’s 6th possession.

On Montreal’s 7th possession, Stanback was tackled by Adam Bighill on a 6-yard run in a crowded area.

4th Quarter

On Montreal’s 9th possession, Stanback rushed 6 yards down the middle before being tackled by Shayne Gauthier.

Stanback opened Montreal’s 10th possession with a 12-yard run down the middle with good blocking aiding in Stanback’s efforts to maximize the play. Jake Harty picked up Willie Jefferson on the edge, Tyson Philpot picked up a block downfield, great interior blocking on the line from Kristian Matte, Philippe Gagnon, and Justin Lawrence.

Takeaway: Montreal’s Offense Has the Potential to Become Significantly More Dangerous Stanback overall had a good game which peaked early with the 32-yard touchdown. Over Stanback’s 8 other carries he had 36 yards averaging 4.5 yards per rush. Not a bad average by any stretch but is one that Winnipeg would likely feel satisfied with given his 5.4 average over the regular season. Based on the sample size Montreal’s run game was more likely to lead to a defensive stop than Winnipeg’s run game, but is a limited sample size given he had only 9 carries.

Montreal at times throughout the season had trouble getting their running game going, would run less pass plays as a result, and then take more sacks and have more pass protection issues. Montreal remedied the issues in pass protection that correlated with not often running the football from a tactical standpoint of using a lot of plays that gave Fajardo the ability to get rid of the ball quickly such as several bubble screens. They were also creative in their pass protection packages often utilizing fullback James Tuck effectively in this area and wide receiver Jake Harty disguising his pass protection assignments using the waggle.

Dakota Prukop Was Extremely Effective in Short-yardage

Prukop’s last short-yardage play was a 2nd and 2 from the 4-yard line. He picked up not just the first down but the touchdown which gave Winnipeg a 24-21 lead with 5 and a half minutes left.

In addition to scoring 2 touchdowns, Prukop consistently gained considerably more yardage than needed at a rate that stands out on short-yardage plays. Outside of the 2 touchdowns, Prukop had 5 first downs and picked up 16 yards total beyond the sticks. On average, he would pick up 3.2 yards in addition to the distance needed to make it to a first down.

Montreal’s Pass Protection Was Great

Winnipeg in the week before tied a CFL record for most sacks in a game when they sacked Vernon Adams Jr. 9 times in the Western Final. On the other hand, Montreal allowed 7 sacks in the Eastern Final. It’s not a leap for one to look at this and expect Winnipeg to have a lot of sacks in the Grey Cup against Montreal, but Montreal limited them to only 2 sacks.

Montreal’s offensive line played great with left tackle Nick  Callender and right tackle Jamar McGloster doing fantastic jobs in keeping the amount of pressures low. The line also had very good interior blocking in pass protection from Philippe Gagnon, Justin Lawrence, and Kristian Matte. The gameplan made the pass protection battles more winnable often getting the ball delivered to receivers quickly. The pass protection was very good and passed the eye test easily.

James Tuck and William Stanback were reliable blockers as well. Jake Harty also made several key blocks in the backfield.

Winnipeg’s Goal Line Stand Was Tremendous

Late in the 2nd quarter, Montreal was set up for a likely touchdown after a 23-yard reception from Tyler Snad setting up first and goal from the 3. On first down Ricky Walker brought down Stanback at the 1-yard line.

On 2nd down Caleb Evans came out to attempt to score in short-yardage. Brandon Alexander had a stop on 2nd down keeping Montreal on the 1 yard line.

On 3rd and 1 Shayne Gauthier was credited with the stop as Winnipeg stood a strong stand with keeping Montreal out of the red zone with Malik Clements next to him aiding in the efforts of keeping the Alouettes out of the end zone and forcing a turnover on downs.

Had Winnipeg won the game this sequence would be looked back upon as a tremendous reason why.

Winnipeg’s Final Play Seemed Illogical and Silly

Collaros pass was completed to their punter Jamieson Sheehan 14 yards down the middle who punted it 35 yards down field and it was caught by Marc-Antoine Dequoy who went to the ground to end the game.

The logic of this play seems to be based on the hope that a football team punting the football away at this moment would be so surprising that it will send the Alouettes’ defenders into a fit of confusion leading to some kind of error to take advantage of. Hindsight is 20/20 but to me, this seemed like far too much wishful thinking. To hope for a professional football player to fail to catch a football or be able to fall on a football because they do not understand the logic of their opponent’s play call is not a logical to me. In my opinion, Winnipeg’s chances would have been more realistic to either throw a prayer 54 yards to the end zone or to attempt a creative lateral play.

The Montreal Alouettes Did Not Have Help From the Officials

Mustafa Johnson Penalty

Collaros was stopped 4 yards into a rush by Mustafa Johnson which would have set up 3rd and 9 from Montreal’s 10-yard line. However, there was a call for unnecessary roughness based on the belief that Johnson’s arm struck Collaros’ head but this did not happen as the contact was to the shoulder and chest. The penalty was made incorrectly extending Winnipeg’s drive which ended in a touchdown and ultimately resulted in Winnipeg scoring 4 additional points.

Lack of Pass Interference on Austin Mack’s 1 Handed Catch

Austin Mack was in man coverage with Deatrick Nichols and made a remarkable catch for 33 yards early in the 2nd half despite having his left arm being pulled significantly to the point it required him to make the catch with 1 hand while being pulled away from the ball. The catch was made but it was an extremely obvious example of pass interference. Had the ball not been caught it would have been a game-altering noncall as on the following play Montreal scored a touchdown.

Block in the Back, Player Safety Concern

Early in the third quarter Nic Demski picked up 17 yards on a sweep with good downfield blocking from Jermarcus Hardrick and Rasheed Bailey. Hardrick had good positioning blocking Shawn Lemon and Winnipeg’s right guard Patrick Neufeld approached from behind Lemon from the right side and shoved him to the ground. He was partially coming from the side but the left hand was pushing from the back number.

With 6 minutes left, Oliveira had an 8-yard run up the middle and was tackled by Reggie Stubblefield and Marc-Antoine Dequoy helped in stopping Oliveira’s progress. Patrick Neufield delivered a pretty heavy block in the back on the play to Dequoy but no penalty was called. 

Neither of these blocks impacted the outcome of the plays in which they occurred but this does create an opportunity for the league to tighten up on this area as this penalty exists for the purpose of protecting player safety. The last example which was delivered against Marc-Antoine Dequoy was dangerous. Neufield with speed delivered a block to Dequoy’s back who had no vantage of him coming. It is not a stretch of the imagination to see how this could result in injury considering the 111-pound weight difference between the two players.

Winnipeg Special Teams

Janarion Grant

Janarion Grant maintained pretty close to his regular season average return on kickoffs averaging 23.8 yards per return on his 5 kickoff returns. On punts, Joseph Zema was careful to put the ball into positions that would eliminate the likelihood of a big return from Janarion Grant. Grant returned 3 punts averaging 7.7 yards per return.

Jamieson Sheahan

Jamieson Sheahan had 5 punts averaging 40.4 yards per punt. Sheahan’s longest punt of 49 yards came at a good time putting Montreal to their 18 ahead of their final possession.

Sergio Castillo

Sergio Castillo made the lone field goal attempt of the game from 25 yards and made all 3 of his extra points. Castillo is 6 for 6 in field goals and 4 for 4 in extra points over his 2 Grey Cup appearances.

Montreal Special Teams

Joseph Zema

Montreal’s special teams continued to do well in covering punts and kickoffs. At times Joseph Zema was avoiding Grant a little too much as 2 of his punts illegally went out of bounds kicking the ball to the side in a similar fashion that he found much success on throughout the season. Zema had an amazing 61-yard punt which rolled and stopped on Winnipeg’s 1-yard line before being returned by Grant to the 10-yard line. Zema had 5 punts averaging 35.6 yards per punt. Zema appeared to be punting to prioritize eliminating the danger that Janarion Grant presents in the return game rather than to maximize distance.

David Côté

David Côté did not have any field goal attempts but made all 4 of his extra points.

James Letcher Jr.

James Letcher Jr. had 2 punt returns. The first he ran into good coverage on a 7-yard return. On the 2nd return which came in the 2nd quarter, the ball was punched out by Brandon Alexander forcing a turnover. Letcher Jr. had a 23-yard kickoff return to Montreal’s 50 after Winnipeg scored off of that turnover. He opened the 2nd half with a good-looking 32-yard return bringing the ball to Montreal’s 50. Letcher finished the day with 3 kickoff returns averaging 25.7 yards per return.

Tyson Philpot

Philpot had had 3 punt returns averaging 16.3 yards per return and a kickoff return for 14 yards. Philpot returned Sheahan’s 40-yard punt 30 yards down the left sideline giving Montreal good field position to start their drive at Winnipeg’s 28-yard line which was a drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown by Austin Mack.

Montreal’s Defensive Performances

Defensive Line

Lwal Uguak

Uguak had a monster game with 5 tackles, 2 QB hurries, an assisted run stop, and a whopping 4 run stops. The stops on Oliveira were already mentioned in this article. Additionally, Uguak had a great run stop in the first quarter keeping Demski to 2 yards on the ground with some help from Tyrice Beverette.

Avery Ellis

Ellis had 3 tackles and a run stop which came on Winnipeg’s first possession keeping Oliveira to 3 yards.

Mustafa Johnson

Johnson had 3 tackles, a sack, and 2 QB hurries. Johnson generated a 7-yard sack getting through Winnipeg’s center in the 2nd quarter. Johnson showed good run defense on a 5-yard run from Oliveira as he worked around the edge past Jermarcus Hardrick to get to the running lane down the middle and wrap up Brady from behind with Wesley Sutton helping knock him to the ground.

Shawn Lemon

Lemon had 3 tackles, a sack, a QB hurry, and a run stop. His sack came in the first quarter. Lemon applied pressure on Winnipeg’s third possession on a play that resulted in an incompletion.

Almondo Sewell

Sewell had 2 tackles, 2 QB hurries, a run stop, and an assisted run stop. Sewell made a good run stop on Winnipeg’s third possession keeping Demski to 4 yards on a rush.

Linebackers

Darnell Sankey

Sankey had 8 tackles, a sack, a QB hurry, a run stop, and an assisted run stop. Sankey made a big hit on Demski setting up 3rd and 7 forcing Winnipeg to punt near the end of the third quarter. His sack came on 2nd and long on Winnipeg’s 2nd to last possession which forced them to punt giving Montreal the opportunity to make their game-winning drive.

Tyrice Beverette

Beverette had 7 tackles and a run-stop assist.

Reggie Stubblefield

Stubblefield had 5 tackles, a sack, and made a stop against the pass. Stubblefield made a good tackle on Demski on a short pass keeping the play to 3 yards forcing 3rd and 8 which forced Winnipeg to settle for a field goal on. Stubblefield made a move stabbing his left foot to the outside before cutting to the inside to get around an offensive lineman to get a sack early in the 4th quarter.

Avery Williams

Williams had 2 tackles and a QB hurry.

Defensive Backs

Wesley Sutton

Sutton had 6 tackles and a QB hurry.

Dionte Ruffin

Dionte Ruffin’s lone tackle came on a comeback route in which Oliveira made an 8-yard catch wide left. Ruffin did not allow any big plays his way.

Ciante Evans

Ciante Evans had 1 tackle and a fumble recovery which came following Kabion Ento stripping the ball from Oliveira.

Marc-Antoine Dequoy

Dequoy had 1 tackle and a run stop which came when kept Prukop out of the end zone on short yardage in the 2nd quarter.

Kabion Ento

Ento was tremendously impactful. He had 1 tackle, an interception, a forced fumble, and 2 passes defended. He did a good job ripping the football from Oliveira’s hands on a 7-yard run.

He broke up a pass in the end zone targeting Drew Wolitarsky on what would have been a 29-yard touchdown. Ento made a remarkable interception on the play laying out in the end zone and snatching a touchdown away from Winnipeg.

Winnipeg’s Defensive Performances

Defensive Line

Jake Thomas

Had 3 tackles and a run stop. Thomas held Stanback to 3 yards on his first carry.

Willie Jefferson

Jefferson had a tackle which was a sack for a 9-yard loss on Montreal’s 4th possession in which he got into the backfield rather quickly in the second quarter. He also had a QB hurry.

Ricky Walker

Walker had a tackle, a QB hurry, a QB hit, a run stop, and a run stop assist. Walker plugged the running lane on Montreal’s 5th possession on Jeffcoat’s run stop. Walker had a tackle on Stanback bringing him down at the 1 setting up 2nd and goal on Winnipeg’s goal line stand.

Jackson Jeffcoat

Jeffcoat had a tackle which was a run stop keeping Stanback to 0 yards in the 2nd quarter. Jeffcoat also had 3 QB hurries and was in on Shayne Gauthier’s 8-yard sack.

Linebackers

Shayne Gauthier

Shayne Gauthier had 5 tackles, a sack, and a run stop which forced a turnover on downs stopping Caleb Evans in short yardage in 3rd and goal at the 1.

Kyrie Wilson

Kyrie Wilson had 2 tackles and a QB hurry. He also assisted with Jeffcoat’s run stop in the 2nd quarter.

Redha Kramdi

Redha Kramdi had 2 tackles, 2 QB hurries, and a pass defended. Kramdi broke up a pass to Tyler Snead in the fourth quarter with a well-timed hit forcing 3rd and 7.

Adam Bighill

Adam Bighill had 1 tackle on which he brought down Stanback on a 6-yard run up the middle.

Brian Cole

Brian Cole had a QB hurry and a pass defended which came when he blitzed and batted down a pass forcing 3rd and 4.

Malik Clements

Malik Clements assisted with a run stop on 3rd and goal at the 1 in the 3rd quarter forcing a turnover on downs.

Defensive Backs

Evan Holm

Evan Holm had 7 tackles, an interception, and a pass defended. Holm did an excellent job maintaining his position to make an interception early in the 4th quarter covering Austin Mack and catching the ball 47 yards downfield.

Demario Houston

Demario Houston had 3 tackles and a stop against the pass in which he made a quick tackle on a screen keeping Philpot to a 1 yard gain.

Brandon Alexander

Brandon Alexander had 3 tackles and a run stop which came stopping Caleb Evans at the 1 in short yardage setting up 3rd and goal. Alexander recovered a fumble that was punched out on a punt return by Mike Benson.

Deatrick Nichols

Deatrick Nichols had 2 tackles and a run stop. On Montreal’s first possession on 2nd and long Fajardo was chased out of the pocket and Nichols along with Jake Thomas positioned themselves to prevent Fajardo from picking up the first down with his legs.

Jamal Parker had 2 tackles.

Nick Hallett had a QB hurry and 2 special teams tackles that both stood out as very good.

Montreal’s Receiving Performances

Austin Mack

Catch 1: Caught it in good coverage from Deatrick Nichols who got his hand on the ball making a 31-yard reception over the middle. Good strong hands to make the catch.

Catch 2: Gained separation from Demerio Houston near the sideline on a curl route for a 14-yard.

Catch 3: Quick pass outside to Austin Mack for a 6-yard first down. Houston possibly schemed to give him too much room given the Alouettes needed 5 yards.

Catch 4:  An exceptional catch without the use of his left arm early in the 2nd half as his arm was being pulled for a 33-yard play.

Catch 5: Quick pass and made a man miss on a 6-yard gain before being taken down by Kyrie Wilson.

Catch 6: A 13-yard touchdown to Austin Mack on a screen with James Tuck making a good block and Philippe Gagnon and Nick Callender blocking downfield.

Tyson Philpot

Catch 1: Fajardo got the ball to Tyson Philpot quickly who did a good job fighting for extra yards gaining 4 or 5 yards after contact on a 10-yard reception before getting brought down by Evan Holm with some help from Cameron Lawson setting up 2nd and inches.

Catch 2: Another quick pass from Fajardo to Tyson Philpot picking up 12 yards with some YAC making a player miss on the way.

Catch 3: Attempted screen who was quickly tackled by Demerio Houston keeping the play to 1 yard.

4th Quarter Kick Return: Tyson Philpot returned Sheahan’s 40-yard punt 30 yards down the left sideline giving Montreal good field position to start their drive at Winnipeg’s 28-yard line.

Catch 4: Montreal started off their final offensive possession with a screen pass with some good blocking on Tyson Philpot’s 13-yard gain breaking a tackle on the way before being tackled by Jake Thomas.

Catch 5: Another quick pass to Tyson Philpot on a bubble screen on the right side for an 8-yard gain tackled hard by Shayne Gauthier.

Catch 6: With pressure coming from Kyrie Wilson on Fajardo’s left side he stepped into his throw and sent a dart to Tyson Philpot into a tight window for a 19-yard touchdown to take a 4-point lead with 13 seconds left.

Cole Spieker:

Catch 1 (1st quarter): Redha Kramdi linebacker blitz, Fajardo quick pass to Cole Spieker who fights for an extra couple yards before being taken down by Evan Holm with help from Brandon Alexander for an 8-yard gain.

Catch 2 (3rd quarter): A 23-yard touchdown pass to Spieker in coverage from Adam Bighill who was following Spieker due to a break in coverage of there not being a defensive back going with him.

Catch 3 (Final Drive on 3rd and 5): Spieker got past Jamal on his go route as Parker may have been expecting a shorter route. Had the ball arrived earlier or been placed further ahead it may have resulted in a touchdown but still thrown in position to make the catch for a massive 31-yard first down keeping the Alouettes alive.

Tyler Snead

Catch 1 (2nd quarter): Redha Kramdi blitzed, and Fajardo threw a quick pass to Tyler Snead to the right who took a hit from Brandon Alexander. Evan Holm helped stop his progress.

Catch 2 (2nd quarter): Great throw from Fajarod to Snead 23 yards on a dig route who spun off of Brandon Alexander for a few extra yards before hitting the turf setting up for first and goal from the 3-yard line.

Catch 3 (3rd quarter): 9-yard reception to Tyler Snead getting the ball to him quickly letting him gain some yards on the ground before being brought down by Jamal Parker.

Catch 4 (4th quarter): Snead on an out route picking up 9 yards for the first down going out of bounds at Winnipeg’s 13.

James Tuck

James Tuck 8 yard reception on screen play tackled by Holm setting up 3rd and 11 in the 2nd quarter.

Jeshrun Antwi

Fajardo passed to Jeshrun Antwi out of the backfield a good tackle was made by Shayne Gauthier on a 3-yard gain in the 4th quarter.

Winnipeg’s Receiving Performances

Kenny Lawler

Catch 1 (1st quarter): Kenny Lawler got open in part to some presnap movement as just before the snap he switched from the outside to the inside with Dalton Schoen and both defensive backs went with Dalton Schoen on his route resulting in Lawler briefly getting open and Collaros got the ball to him with good timing for a 26 yard gain.

Catch 2 (2nd quarter): Collaros made a fantastic throw as he rolled right to Kenny Lawler who made a great catch despite Wesley Sutton being in a good position with the coverage and having an arm in trying to break up the pass.

Catch 3 (3rd quarter): Collaros was pressured by Sankey throwing to Kenny Lawler for a 9-yard gain.

Nic Demski (Not including sweeps recorded as passes)

Catch 1 (first quarter): Quick throw from Collaros to Nic Demski who paused in an opening for a 7-yard gain, first down.

Catch 2 (first quarter): Zach Collaros threw to Nic Demski and Reggie Stubblefield made a good tackle to keep the play to 3 yards making it 3rd and 8.

Catch 3 (third quarter): Good throw to Demski while rolling left away from Mustafa Johnson finding Nic Demski for a 15-yard gain to pick up the first down breaking a tackle on the way.

Catch 4 (third quarter): Collaros threw to Demski as he took contact from Avery Williams with Lwal Uguak pressuring as well. Demski picked up 18 yards on the carry.

Catch 5 (third quarter): Big hit from Darnell Sankey on a screen tackling Demski 5 yards into the play setting up 3rd and 7.

Catch 6 (4th quarter): Collaros checked it down to Nic Demski who picked up 5 yards before being brought down by Darnell Sankey.

Dalton Schoen

Catch 1 (1st quarter): 2nd and 7 smart play by Winnipeg passing the ball to Dalton Schoen short over the middle for 7 yards taking what the defense is giving them for a first down.

Catch 2 (1st quarter): Good throw by Collaros to Schoen over the middle for 15 yards setting up 1st and 10 from Montreal’s 14-yard-line Wesley Sutton with the tackle.

Catch 3 (4th quarter): Collaros pass completed to Schoen 14 yards to Dalton Schoen going out of bounds at Montreal’s 54 with 3 seconds left.

Rasheed Bailey

Catch 1 (4th quarter): Quick throw to Rasheed Bailey on a flat picking up 8 yards before going out of bounds.

Catch 2 (4th quarter): Good throw from Collaros as he rolled right away from pressure from Tyrice Beverette finding Rasheed Bailey pausing in space on his route for a 10-yard gain.

Drew Wolitarsky

Wolitarsky’s lone catch came on a 2nd and 9 in the third quarter. Good decision from Collaros getting it to Wolitarsky over the middle for 9 yards picking up the first down and getting the ball to Montreal’s 9-yard line.

Final Words

Both teams played well. This was not a game that Zach Collaros or the Bombers choked away. This was a game in which Montreal created an effective game plan and executed it very well on offense while continuing to play at a high level on defense.

Other Articles:
Interviews ahead of the Grey Cup:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
: K Sergio Castillo, DE Willie Jefferson, QB Dakota Prukop, RB Brady Oliveira
Montreal Alouettes: LB Tyrice Beverette, LB Reggie Stubblefield, DT Mustafa Johnson, K David Côté, DE Shawn Lemon, CB Kabion Ento, QB Cody Fajardo
How Montreal Can Beat Winnipeg in the Grey Cup: Eight Keys to Victory
Previous CFL Playoff Game Reports:
CFL Eastern Final Report MTL 38-17 TOR
CFL Western Final Report WPG 24-13 BC
CFL Eastern Semi-Final Report MTL 27-12 HAM
CFL Western Semi-Final Report BC 41-30 CGY
BC Lions’ Tibo Debaillie Interview Ahead of West Division Finals
Reflecting on the CFL West Semi-Finals
Alouettes’ Jeshrun Antwi Interview Ahead of East Finals
East Semi-Finals Reflections
Alouettes’ Reggie Stubblefield Interview Ahead of East Semi-Finals
BC Lions’ Tibo Debaillie Ahead of CFL West Semi-Finals
Predicting the Rest of the CFL Season
CFL 2nd Period All-Star Team (Weeks 8-14)
CFL Midseason All-Star Team, Awards
First Period CFL and Divisional All-Stars

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Jonathan Clink Reporter
Jonathan Clink joined CFL News Hub in early April of 2023. His primary responsibilities are covering the BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes. He self awarded himself the CFL Rookie Journalist of the Year in 2023 following the 2023 CFL season. He also proclaims himself to be a "really cool guy". He was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and lived a large portion of his childhood in Northwest Ontario. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and misses being being able to have 4 months of skating every winter. Clink has written over 240 articles for CFL News Hub. He was the publication's boots on the ground at the 2023 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Clink has always had an obsession for sport and has a background in other sports as well having played hockey all his life and soccer, basketball, and lacrosse in high school. As a young child he used to log his hockey statistics after every game which is either an indication that he was destined for the role or perhaps and indication that he is rather strange.
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