Montreal Alouettes earn playoff berth, snap Calgary win streak

MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes’ defence had three forced fumbles, an interception, and two sacks to help them come out with a 21-17 victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.

Vernon Adams Jr. tossed for 206 yards while completing 18 of 29 passes on the game.

Eugene Lewis led the team in receiving with 86 yards. He had a 41-yard reception to help set up a score in the second quarter.

Bo Lokombo led the way defensively for the Als, making nine tackles and forcing one of the fumbles off a jarring hit on Josh Huff in the third quarter.

Bo Levi Mitchell completed 72 percent of his passes for 464 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

Adams started where he left off in his last start, Chucking a ball down the left sideline for Eugene Lewis, who would climb the ladder and win the jump ball over Calgary defensive back Tre Roberson for a gain of 39 yards. A roughness call on defensive lineman Mike Rose gave the Als another 15 yards and a pass-interference infraction on DaShaun Amos would tack on another 10.

An 11-yard completion to Quan Bray and a 7-yarder to Lewis would set Montreal up inside the 5. From there, Adams called his own number, rolling out to the right on a sneak play to punch it past the goal line. Boris Bede‘s point-after gave the hosts an early 7-0 lead.

Mitchell got his top two receiving targets involved early, hitting Eric Rogers on his first pass of the game for a gain of 16 before connecting with Reggie Begelton for 15 yards a few plays later. Huff would get another 13 yards on a reception and then Rogers got another 29 yards on a pair of receptions. Don Jackson would take a handoff to the right side and spin-off a defender to get into the end zone from five yards out. Rene Parades would pull the Stamps even with his extra-point attempt.

After a two-and-out by the Als, Mitchell would go back to work, taking a shot down the left side for rookie Hergy Mayala. The 23-year-old got up and snagged the pass and had open field in front of him. Mayala would run for another 43 yards and get taken down at the 4-yard line, leaving him with a 68-yard reception. That would be the final play of the first frame, with both quarterbacks combining to go a perfect 14-for-14 on pass attempts.

Calgary would take their first lead of the game to start the second quarter, although they’d have to settle for three points instead of seven. An offside penalty on backup pivot Nick Arbuckle backed them up 5 yards, and after a short completion to Rogers, Mitchell’s toss to the back right corner of the end zone fell short of Richie Sindani to force a field goal. Paredes would drill a 12-yarder to put the Stamps up by three.

Mitchell opened the Stamps’ next drive with a bang once again, tossing a deep ball over the middle for Huff, who’d run under it and get a 43-yard gain. That would set them up in Montreal territory. Paredes had a chance to hit his second field goal of the afternoon, but he’d pull the 40-yard kick.

The Stamps’ defence started to put the Clamps on the Als’ attack. Following their first score of the game, Montreal came up with just a single first down on their next four drives.

With the Montreal defence being forced back onto the field often, Calgary continued its run. Terry Williams picked up 17 yards on two rushes before Mitchell found Mayala again, this time over the middle, for a gain of 27. On the very next play, Mitchell floated a ball over the heads of the defence, hitting Huff for the 28-yard major. That scoring catch was the first of Huff’s CFL career. Paredes hit another extra point to make it a 17-7 game

The Montreal defence would get some revenge on Mitchell before the end of the first half. Following a 22-yard catch-and-run by Reggie Begelton, the Calgary signal-caller tried to hit Begelton again, this time on a screen pass. Defensive lineman Ryan Brown read the play, dropped back off the line of scrimmage, and jumped and picked off the dump pass.

Montreal turned that turnover into points. Adams hit Eugene Lewis with a 41-yard strike down the left side. A 6-yard rush by William Stanback left the Als with four yards to get the score, but they’d be held to an 11-yard field goal by Bede to make it a seven-point game.

Calgary had a chance to answer heading into the locker rooms, but while trying to work up-field after a catch over the middle, Rogers had the ball punched out by Patrick Levels and the fumble was recovered by Jarnor Jones.

Roberson also had a chance at a pick-6 with 10 seconds left on the clock, but the ball would just slip through his hands. Calgary headed into the half up 17-10.

Calgary would go two-and-out on the opening possession of the second half. Off the ensuing punt, Mario Alford fielded it at his own 26, found a seam down the left side of the field, and beat Rob Maver in a foot race to score an 85-yard touchdown. Alford was playing in his first game of the season and that score served as the first major in his CFL career.

Montreal would force its second turnover of the contest on the next possession, as Lokombo laid out Huff, forcing the ball to pop loose in the process. It was recovered by Dominique Termansen but the Als couldn’t cash in on the opportunity.

It would continue to be a sloppy third quarter for the Stamps, who’d turn the ball over for the fourth time in five drives. They’d get all the way down to the Montreal 26, with a pair of passes to Begelton going for 22 total yards. Mitchell looked Begelton’s way again, and the receiver hauled it in, however, Henoc Muamba forced another fumble, which Reid would fall on. Once again though, Calgary’s defence would keep the Als off the board.

The Als would grab the lead to end the third, as Bede’s punt would lead to a single and give Montreal an 18-17 lead going into the fourth.

The final frame would see both offences be stymied by the respective defenders. Montreal made the biggest push downfield, putting together an eight-play, 44-yard drive, but it would end in a turnover on downs after the Stamps’ line held strong on a sneak play by Adams.

It would be another two-and-out for Mitchell and the offence, however, as John Bowman got to the quarterback to force a punt.

A penalty off that punt for a horse-collar tackle gave the Als the ball at the Calgary 26 to open their possession. They’d face another third-and-one situation, but instead of going for it, the Als would call on Bede, who’d knock a 24-yarder through the uprights to push the lead to four with just over two minutes to go in regulation.

Calgary opened their possible game-winning drive with three straight runs from Jackson, including one to keep the game alive on third down. Mitchell and Begelton would connect twice more for 20 yards total and a pass interference penalty by Jones would give the Stamps an extra 10 yards. Calgary would get one last shot on third down to keep the game alive, but it would be Lokombo coming up big once again, knocking down the pass at the line to seal the 21-17 victory.

With the win, the Alouettes have clinched their first playoff berth since 2014. They’ll be back in action on Oct. 12 when they travel to IG Field to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Calgary will be trying to get back on track when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Oct. 11.

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