Montreal Alouettes air attack takes flight in win over Ottawa REDBLACKS

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes stay perfect on the season with a dominant 47-21 win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS Thursday night.

After unveiling the team’s 2023 Grey Cup championship banner, the Als exploded on offence for 30 points before halftime at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, including three touchdowns.

Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo earned his 11th straight win as a starter, helping his team become the first to reach 3-0 this season. The pivot and his backup, Caleb Evans, each got rushing touchdowns in the first quarter.

Dru Brown and the Ottawa REDBLACKS had a much stronger showing in the second half, with three majors including the CFL’s first return touchdown of 2024, but failed to take the lead. They drop to 1-1 on the season.

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Grey Cup MVP Tyson Philpot had himself a night, with seven receptions for 127 yards and major in the first half alone. Receiver Reggie White Jr. added two more touchdowns for Montreal, while kicker David Côté was four for four on field goals.

Receiver Kaion Julien-Grant led the Alouettes with nine receptions for 139 yards. Fajardo completed 28 of 35 passes for 393 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Als front also delivered with three turnovers before halftime. Linebacker Tyrice Beverette recorded an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery, while teammate Darnell Sankey contributed with a fumble recovery and forced fumble.

Montreal got off to a hot start with a six play, 75-yard opening drive culminating in a five-yard rushing touchdown by Fajardo.

The Alouettes defence then had a quick first outing when Beverette picked off Brown’s opening pass for a 37-yard return. The interception was Brown’s first in 138 passing attempts and third of his CFL career.

An incomplete pass from Fajardo to Julien-Grant in the end zone was ruled pass interference, resulting in a first and goal. Montreal’s No.2 quarterback Evans finished it off on the ground for the game’s second major.

Côté then made a 31-yard field goal to put the Als up 17 points after 12 minutes. Ottawa earned a single-point safety off a 47-yard punt from Ritchie Leone to get on the board before the second quarter.

The Als defence recorded two more turnovers before the half starting with a Beverette sack on Brown to force the fumble recovered by linebacker Darnell Sankey.

That led to another Côté field goal, 15 yards, to extend the lead 20-1. Sankey then ended Ottawa’s next drive with a forced fumble on running back Ryquell Armstead, recovered by Beverette.

On the very next play, Fajardo connected with Philpot for a 51-yard passing touchdown. The Als added another field goal before the half to lead 30-1.

Ottawa had a stronger showing in the second half. Brown’s first drive of the third quarter resulted in a missed field goal, however, a Montreal penalty extended the drive.

On the next play, Brown connected with Jaelon Acklin for the REDBLACKS first major. The REDBLACKS added another single-point safety and a 26-yard field goal by kicker Lewis Ward to trail 30-12.

While Montreal’s first first down of the second half came in the final minutes of the third, the team’s fourth major came early in the fourth — a 16-yard touchdown pass to White Jr.

The REDBLACKS responded with an explosive touchdown return by DeVonte Dedman, but the Als just kept extending the lead with second touchdown pass (19 yards) to White Jr. and a 41-yard field goal by Côté.

Brown was sacked twice on one drive by Montreal defensive linemen Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund and Mustafa Johnson, respectively, for a turnover on downs. Despite adding a 34-yard field goal, Ottawa fell 47-23.

Next Friday the Alouettes head to BMO Field for a rematch of the 2023 East Division Final with the Toronto Argonauts. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. ET on June 28.

Meanwhile, the REDBLACKS have some time to rest — the team will close out Week 4 at home against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday, June 30. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET.

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