CFL: Defense carries Alouettes to final after 13-year wait


TORONTO – Last in the CFL by several observers at the start of the season, the Montreal Alouettes reached the Gray Cup game thanks to their defense stomping the formidable Toronto Argonauts, 38-17, on Saturday in the ballast finale.

The means could not have been better chosen for the Alouettes to finally defeat the CFL powerhouse. This win allows them to reach the ultimate game for the first time since 2010!

Jason Maas’ team continued their great run with their seventh consecutive victory. She achieved the feat of eliminating the current champions thanks to her defense, which never ceases to amaze.

The defensive unit had nine – yes nine – turnovers, including four interceptions against an often over-aggressive Chad Kelly. Quite the feat against the Argos who have averaged 33 points per game this season.

A fiasco in Toronto that led the largest crowd assembled at BMO Field for the Argos to boo them. Let’s remember, Kelly had only a quarter of his career in the playoffs before this matchup. Champions of their division for many months, the Argos haven’t played a major game since mid-September.

As this Eastern final approached, the Alouettes were tired of being questioned about their role as major underdogs. With this performance, they proved why they deserve more respect. Beating Toronto was already a big challenge, breaking them seemed impossible.

Marc-Antoine Dequoy told everyone from the first sequence of the game that the Alouettes will not allow themselves to be defeated. The Quebec Marauder intercepted Chad Kelly’s pass and ran 101 yards for a touchdown. It happened after the Toronto forward crossed the field too easily, a play that seemed to clip the wings of the Argos.

And it was the second interception-turned-touchdown, Kabion Ento’s in the third quarter, that hurt badly to extend Montreal’s lead to 24-3.

Along with Dequoy and Ento, Reggie Stubblefield, Darnell Sankey, Shawn Lemon, Tyrice Beverette and Mustafa Johnson were the great architects of this defensive tidal wave.

On that note, you’ll realize that the Birds offense couldn’t benefit much from all of these changes. It only produced a small touchdown, that of Tyler Snead. The offensive line was often stymied by Toronto’s powerful defensive front. Cody Fajardo’s telegraphed interception didn’t help the cause either.

To add insult to injury, return specialist James Letcher came in and shoved a 105-yard touchdown down the Argos’ throats in the final quarter to make it 31-10.

In 2023, the Alouettes went 0-7 against the three heavyweights of the Canadian circuit (Argos, Blue Bombers and Lions). But they knocked off the Argos, who built a 16-2 record and a 9-0 record at home.

The Alouettes became the first team to lead by 14 or more points against Toronto in 2023. Additionally, Montreal led 10-3 at halftime and it was just the fourth time Toronto trailed at halftime this year.

More details to come.

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