Playoff bound Montreal Alouettes end regular season with road win over Ottawa REDBLACKS

Vernon Adams Jr. tossed a pair of touchdown passes and Matthew Shiltz added another to lead the Montreal Alouettes past the Ottawa REDBLACKS with a 42-32 road win on Friday night. The playoff-bound Als move to 10-8 and will now prepare to host the Eastern Semi-Final against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Montreal took an early lead after Adams engineered a scoring drive that saw him throw a touchdown pass to Eugene Lewis. Ottawa responded with a field goal, but Adams answered back with another touchdown strike to Lewis. Adams was pulled from the game near the end of the opening half, with Shiltz replacing him under centre.

Shiltz threw a touchdown pass to rookie receiver Dante Absher to start the third quarter. A pair of one-yard rushing touchdowns from Jonathon Jennings brought the REDBLACKS closer in the second half, but a touchdown run from rookie running back Jarveon Williams gave Montreal a two-possession lead with under seven minutes remaining.

The REDBLACKS made it a three-point game with under two minutes to play when Jennings’ third touchdown run of the half was followed up by a successful two-point conversion from John Crockett. But a 15-yard pick-six from defensive back Najee Murray sealed the victory for Montreal.

Adams completed 13 of 16 passes for 126 yards, and he now has 24 touchdown passes on the season. Lewis went over 1,000 receiving yards in a single season for the first time in his career.

Brad Sinopoli had a game-high 100 receiving yards while catching eight of 10 targets. Dominique Davis and Will Arndt both saw action under centre for Ottawa.

Montreal took the lead right away when Bede’s opening kickoff traveled 94 yards before being downed in the end zone for a single point. The defence followed it up with a quick two-and-out as a result of a big sack from Patrick Levels, and the offence proceeded to put together a solid drive. Adams led the charge, completing four of five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown to extend Montreal’s lead.

The biggest play of the opening drive was a 27-yard strike to Absher, and Adams capped the drive off with a five-yard touchdown pass to Lewis in the back of the end zone. Bede kicked the extra point to extend Montreal’s lead to eight points. Bede also extended the lead on the following kickoff by booting the ball 82 yards into Ottawa’s end zone for another single point.

The REDBLACKS responded with a 27-yard field goal from Lewis Ward after Davis and Crockett led the offence down the field. The drive stalled when defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones brought Crockett down for a loss of yards on second down.

Montreal’s offence restored momentum by responding with a long scoring drive. Lewis got things started by breaking off a 23-yard catch-and-run, and William Stanback chipped in 29 rushing yards on four carries to put the team in position to score. Adams finished the drive with an accurate nine-yard touchdown strike to rookie receiver Jake Wieneke, and Bede added the extra point to give Montreal a 16-3 lead with just under twelve minutes to go in the opening half.

Ottawa appeared poised to score a touchdown on the next drive when Davis led the offence into Montreal territory with six straight completions. But the Als’ defence stepped up near their own ten-yard line and prevented Ottawa from securing a fresh set of downs. The REDBLACKS settled for an 18-yard field goal from Ward, cutting Montreal’s lead down to ten points.

Bede notched his third single near the end of the half when his 47-yard punt traveled through the back of Ottawa’s end zone, giving the Als a 17-6 lead. Shiltz replaced Adams at quarterback in the final minutes before half-time, and the Als surrendered two points when they opted to give up a safety on third down. Ward kicked a 47-yard field goal with a minute remaining to make it a 17-11 game entering the third quarter.

Shiltz completed four consecutive passes to start the third quarter before capping the drive off with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Absher. Bede kicked the convert and added yet another single point on the ensuing kickoff to put Montreal up 25-11.

Arndt replaced Davis under centre for Ottawa, and the REDBLACKS cut into Montreal’s lead once again on a 10-play, 70-yard drive. R.J. Harris appeared to score on a 20-yard grab, but a review ruled him down at the one-yard line. Jonathan Jennings came in to finish the drive with a rushing touchdown on a quarterback sneak, and Ward kicked the convert to make the score 25-18. Bede kicked a 37-yard field goal near the end of the third quarter to extend Montreal’s lead.

The REDBLACKS gained ground again early in the fourth quarter when Jennings capped off a 12-play, 62-yard drive with his second one-yard rushing score of the game. But Ward’s extra point went wide to the right, leaving Ottawa four points behind. Greg Reid returned the missed convert 81 yards up the right sideline to give Montreal momentum before an illegal forward pass halted the return. The Als then added more points on a 35-yard run from Williams, giving them a 35-24 lead with just over seven minutes to play.

A 41-yard punt return from Stefan Logan helped set up Jennings’ third one-yard rushing score of the half, and Crockett followed it up with a three-yard run for the two-point conversion to make it a three-point game with under two minutes remaining. But Montreal’s defence sealed the win with a touchdown, as Murray intercepted a pass that went through the hands of Jerminic Smith and returned it 15 yards for the touchdown.

While the season is now over for the Ottawa REDBLACKS, the Montreal Alouettes will next face the Edmonton Eskimos at home in the Eastern Semi-Final on Sunday, November 10th at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).

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