The Edmonton Elks entered last night’s game in Montreal vs the Montreal Alouettes in a game where both teams were still trying to find an identity going into week 6 of the CFL schedule. It was no secret that both teams’ inconsistent play was apparent in their team records thus far. Edmonton was entering week 6 with a 1-4 record, while Montreal was entering week 6 with a similar 1-3 record.
For both teams, this had to be a statement game in which someone had to show up regardless of the team record. You got to start winning at some point to have a respectable season considering the bad start for both football clubs. And this game was no different even if it was not 2 of the best teams in the CFL. Add in the fact that there has been a movement for both clubs on their respected rosters and personnel change within the week, you have an interesting matchup for both teams trying to claw back into a win category.
The Edmonton defense created a quick 2 and out on Montreal’s 1st offensive possession. They were able to force a Montreal team to punt deep from into Montreal territory. In return, Edmonton would begin their 1st offensive series at the Montreal 39-yard line.
Taylor Cornelius came out pretty good. The offensive line looked very good at pass blocking and creating time for Taylor Cornelius to create plays. Taylor Cornelius also showed good signs of taking control with a struggling Edmonton offense which was lacking under the guidance of Nick Arbuckle prior to the Nick Arbuckle trade to Ottawa recently. The arm strength from Taylor Cornelius showed from the start as he connected passes with some good zip on the ball. Edmonton would score on their opening drive with a rushing TD at the 10:25 mark in the quarter. Sherman Badie would score from 5 yards to give Edmonton a 6-0 lead opening the scoring. Edmonton would miss a PAT by Sergio Castillo.
The quarter would continue with some pretty good ball movement from both teams. Montreal kicker David Cote would be the only offense for Montreal in the 1st quarter. He would connect with a 19-yard field goal with 03:50 left in the quarter. The quarter would end with Edmonton up 6-3. There were signs of Chandler Worthy showing his excellence during Montreal’s return game. It was apparent that he can at some point break the game open for Montreal. It appeared that the special teams coverage for Edmonton was not ready in trying to contain Chandler Worthy.
Montreal began to find an offensive groove staring at their own 36-yard line. Trevor Harris marched the offense down the field on a 10-play and 86 yards drive. This would be capped off by a 6-yard TD reception by rookie WR Tyson Philpot. Montreal now took a 10-6 lead after the PAT by David Cote. And it appeared that Montreal woke up, and began to take control of the game. Chandler Worthy returned the ball for 44-yards after an Edmonton punt. Eugene Lewis was wide open for a 2- play 31-yard drive that was capped off by a TD pass from Trevor Harris at 06:46 left in the 2nd Quarter. Montreal was now up 17-6 after the David Cote PAT.
The wheels appeared to fall off on the next Edmonton possession. A pass intended to Kai Locksley on curl out is misjudged by Kai Locksley tipping off his hands, and landing into the hand of Marc-Antoine DeQuoy. Marc-Antoine DeQuoy would return the ball to the Edmonton 1-yard line. This would then be capped off by a 1-yard run by backup QB Dominique Davis. And just like that, Montreal scored 24 unanswered points taking a 24-6 lead, and shell shocking Edmonton.
Taylor Cornelius begins to find a groove again. However, while in the red zone, a couple of dangerous passes could have been picked off. Edmonton would settle for a 21-yard FG making it 24-9 Montreal with 2:01 left in the half.
With 00:20 left in the half and Montreal at the Edmonton 41-yard line, LB Adam Konar comes up with a big play by intercepting a Trevor Harris pass. Adam Konar returns it for 27 yards. This then set up a 46-yard FG by Sergio Castillo with no time left in the half. Montreal leads 24-12 going into halftime.
The opening 3rd quarter drive led to a missed 48-yard FG by Sergio Castillo. Trevor Harris would continue his sharp play in engineering an 8-play, 67-yard drive. Dominique Davis would come into relief on a short yardage play to score on a 2-yard run extending the Montreal lead to 31-12. It appeared that Edmonton was unable to find any way in halting the Montreal offense.
Then luck would turn around in Edmonton’s favor.
After a surprisingly successful onside kick for Montreal at 07:07 in the 3rd, the Elks defense comes up with a fumble recovery on the ensuing Montreal offensive play. Trevor Harris would connect with Reggie White Jr on a 9-yard play. Reggie White Jr would fumble the ball on his own after a 2-yard gain. This would then be recovered by Scott Hutter. Edmonton would begin to scrimmage from the Montreal 52-yard line.
Edmonton would drive the ball down the field. A key moment during this drive was a pass interference call on Wesley Sutton. Wesley Sutton was way too early in defending the pass on covering Kenny Lawler. This now made it 1st and goal at the Montreal 1-yard line. Kai Locksley would complete the drive with a 1-yard TD run. Edmonton would be unsuccessful on a 2-point conversion attempt. The score would now be 31-18 for Montreal with still a lot of time left for both clubs. The score would remain the same going into the 4th Quarter.
Edmonton started the 4th quarter from their 30-yard line. A turning point during the drive was another pass interference call on Wesley Sutton who again was way too early on a play, along with grabbing onto Kenny Lawler. Talyor Cornelius was instrumental in an 8-play and a 90-yard drive by Edmonton capped off by a Kai Locksley 2-yard TD run. Edmonton crawled back into the game being down now 31-25. And just like that, there were signs of life for Edmonton.
At 05:56 left in the game, and Edmonton on a 2nd and 10 play from their own 33-yard line, Talor Cornelius makes something out of nothing. On a broken play where he eludes 3 would-be tacklers for a sack, he connected with WR Mike Jones for his 1st catch of the game in a gain of 17 yards in a much-needed extension of the drive.
Wesley Sutton would cost Montreal with another pass interference penalty in which Taylor Cornelius attempted to pass for 50 yards to Kenny Lawler. The result was another great opportunity for Edmonton to capitalize. Taylor Cornelius would then connect with Kenny Lawler for a 10-yard TD strike. Edmonton would take the lead 32-31 with the PAT by Sergio Castillo. The game would end with a victory formation to seal the comeback victory 32-31 over Montreal.
Another Comeback Win
It might have not been pretty, but Edmonton was able to dig deep in this victory over Montreal. The one thing that did stand out that has not been seen this season till now was how good the Edmonton offensive line was in this game. The offensive line gave a lot of time for Taylor Cornelius to make plays. Kai Locksley played his heart out catching key passes and taking a beating out there. At times it looked like he was going to leave the game. He re-entered the game on a few occasions to continue offensive drives that were at key moments.
Credit to the defense for not collapsing. After trailing 24-12 at halftime, the only scoring given up was a lone TD by Dominique Davis in the 3rd Quarter.
It did get scary at moments during the game for Edmonton. Chandler Worthy created big returns on special teams. Edmonton did not have any answers to contain special team returns for a good part of the game. Montreal did a great job in getting good field positions to start a few possessions. However, some of them were called back against Montreal with penalties on special team plays.
At the end of the day did Montreal lose the game on their own, or was it a great comeback win by Edmonton? Maybe both. There is no doubt that Wesley Sutton with his 3 pass interference penalties did not help Montreal. Having said that, the approach to defending the 3 passes that resulted in the pass interference calls was the right call. Wesley Sutton was, either way too early on the hit, and or was grabbing onto an opponent’s shirt for leverage. Nevertheless, Edmonton showed a lot of character in fighting back to seal a 32-31 victory.
Next week the test will be the biggest the Edmonton Elks will face so far this season. The Edmonton Elks will take on the back-to-back Grey Cup Champions by hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday, July 22nd, 2022. It will be also the first time a game was being broadcasted in an Indigenous language. The game between the Elks and Bombers will be broadcasted in Cree.
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