Montreal was able to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders this past weekend 37-13. Let’s take a look at how they were able to defeat a team that had to this point been perfect through two games.
Montreal Offense Fails to Find Success in Win
Coming into this game the Saskatchewan defense had created choppy waters and a rough ride for opposing offenses. This resulted in allowing just 14.5 points over the first two weeks of the season against Edmonton. Meanwhile the Elks offense was able to score 56 points in the first two weeks of the season. Nearly a two to one point ratio when compared to opposing teams.
Montreal flipped that narrative in this game by nearly tripling the scoring output by the Roughriders. Recent free agent acquisition following final cuts, Chandler Worthy, returned the opening kick for a touchdown early setting the tone for the day. Seeing the score, you might think it was Montreal’s offense that led the way.
However, you would be incorrect. The Alouettes found 15 points on field goals from kicker David Cote, who also tacked three extra points. The big takeaway from this game was the strength of the defense. The Alouettes intercepted three passes which led to another touchdown on defense. All in all Cote was the leader in points on the day.
Punter Joesph Zema also tried his hand at some scoring and added a point as well. The special teams in this game accounted for a total of 31 points to lead the Alouettes to victory this week. This is not a sustainable model for success. The offense has to get involved if the Alouettes have any hope of defeating the Roughriders in back-to-back games.
The Question at QB
Trevor Harris was given the start, the veteran quarterback is no slouch, and there is a reason the Alouettes brought him back this offseason. However, to turn your back on Vernon Adams due to an injury and poor play in just two games so far was surprising to say the least.
Adams signed an extension after the 2021 season despite an injury in week 10. This extension made him one of the higher paid quarterbacks in the league, as well as gave him comfort in the fact that he was signed through the 2023 season.
However, that comfort quickly faded after just a game and a half when Harris was inserted in week 2 and given the start in week 3. As per usual Harris showed his typical accuracy with a 72.7% completion rate. He went 16 of 22 for 262 yards and 1 touchdown.
Dominique Davis also got in the game. Tossing two passes both of which were completed for 11 yards, and it will be interesting to see if Davis gets more playing time going forward after the announcement by the team that Harris, not Adams will be the starter going forward. Davis provides an element of mobility that Harris doesn’t, so I could see bringing in Davis in certain situations this upcoming weekend once again.
Special Teams Nearly Unstoppable
Lets take a moment to recognize how good Chandler Worthy has been so far this season through three games. In this game alone he had 5 punt returns for 93 yards or an average of 18.6 yards per return. Even if you remove his 41 yard return, he still managed 13 yards per return which is no small feat at the professional level, and a huge advantage to an offense.
Worthy in the kicking game had just two kick returns all game long and made them count to the tune of 112 yards. Including his 88 yard return for a touchdown. Before this week the Als had rotated multiple guys in the return game. Something tells me that won’t be the case anymore after this big game.
Also how can you look past what David Cote did in the kicking game. While handling kick-offs he carried this team to the tune of 18 points just under half the points scored on the day. This was an impressive day, and a win that coach Chris Jones can hang his hat on, but the next win won’t come nearly as easy.
Defense Wins Championships, But Can They Win Back-to-Back Regular Season Games?
As mentioned above the defense played a huge part in creating points for the offense in a game that they couldn’t move the ball. On nearly every drive the offense put points on the board, it was due to a short field provided by the defense, or return man Chandler Worthy. Minus two of their biggest performers in Adams, and Stanback in the run game has seemingly hurt the Alouettes offense.
This is exactly why I see Davis getting some more play on offense, his mobility can keep the defense on their toes, and allows Jones to get creative now with the two quarterback rule going into effect this season. Taking away the rushing element from the QB position I believe is a huge mistake on this offense that is stacked with talent.
Finding one on one matchups is often made much easier when you have a quarterback that demands a spy on nearly every play to be contained in the run game. Harris at 36 just can’t provide that same spark, albeit he is an amazing game manager at quarterback.
Honestly I think the Alouettes will be forced to go back on their claim that Harris will start the rest of the way to get this offense rolling headed into mid-season. However only time will tell how this shakes out. With Adams currently injured, our only question remains will Dominique Davis assume the roll as running threat at quarterback. Could we see more of a true two quarterback system in 2022?
Final Words on Week 3
Ultimately this win is great for morale, but honestly not much else. As mentioned before special teams play can be expected to be consistent but to expect or hope to score a total of 25 points on special teams is insane. I would say on average a total of 15 points can be asked for on a weekly basis. Which means the Alouettes need to find more success on offense…and fast.
Through three weeks they sit 1-2 but they’re not out of the race in the Eastern Division which immediately looked like the lesser of the two divisions. Currently only Toronto at 1-1 stands above Montreal in the East so this win was definitely huge.
Now to figure out how to stack multiple wins on top of each other going forward. These two teams will face each other again and as my Colleague Dominic Marinelli so aptly put it, the Roughriders suffered two losses this weekend. One of which came in the form of injury. Read his follow up to this week’s action with a Saskatchewan slant below.
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