A HORRIBLE DAY FOR MONTREAL SPORTS TEAMS
Too many turnovers and too many penalties at inopportune moments cost the Montreal Alouettes dearly yesterday in a 27-24 loss to the Hamilton Tigercats in a neutral site game in Guelph. Bo Bowling and Deron Carter both fumbled in the first half, after the Als had gone on long drives in both cases; both of these miscues occurred inside the opposition twenty yard line at a time when touchdowns could have put the game away. Instead the Alouettes came away with nothing, both times.
Sean Whyte has to go. I have said that before and I’m saying it again. The Als’ punter missed a forty-two yard field goal which came up short and was returned 106 yards no less, for the winning touchdown with around four minutes remaining in the game. Terrible. He also fucked up another field goal, again from just over forty yards, thereby missing another makable kick. In addition to these missed field goals, his punting was below average…again, with his kicks rarely going forty yards on a day which was, admittedly, breezy, rainy and blustery, and with a hint of snow in the air as well. It is important to at least mention the fact that any breeze blowing during the fourth quarter when Whyte missed the two crucial field goals, was at his back.
Penalties also contributed to the defeat, especially an illegal contact penalty on the Als Jeff Tisdale, giving the Cats a first down instead of them having to punt with about a minute remaining in the game. The end result was that the Als got the ball back too deep in their territory to get it done with so little time remaining on the game clock.
Troy Smith had a good first half but the adjustments made by the Ticat defense at the half proved too much for the rookie quarterback – starting only his second game in the Canadian Football League – to handle. After halftime, Smith overthrew open receivers on at least two occasions as well as being intercepted for the only time in this tilt which had home field advantage in the Eastern semi-final riding on its result. Further, the Heisman trophy winner was sacked very late in the fourth quarter when Hamilton was rushing a mere three men. That sack effectively ended the game.
Deron Carter and Bo Bowling were responsible for the first-half fumbles which really hurt the Als in the end. It’s hard to win in the CFL or in any professional football league for that matter, when you turn the ball over four or five times. As already stated, the Carter and Bowling fumbles ended long drives deep on the Hamilton side of the field at a time when the Alouettes could have put this game away had they scored at the end of them instead of losing the ball via the fumble route.
As for “coach” Jim Popp, he too is blameable for this loss. He is clearly out of his depth, incapable of making the same type of adjustments that Kent Austen, Hamilton’s coach, was able to author at halftime, changes which turned the game around, giving Hamilton the chance to win. With its win, Hamilton earned “home” field advantage for the Eastern Conference sudden death semi-final to be played in Guelph in two weeks.
Get rid of Whyte, stop taking dumb penalties (hello Arlen Bruce III and Jeff Tisdale) and Jim Popp – fire yourself – and the Als may turn the corner..next season.
In university action on Saturday, Laval used an excellent second half to defeat the Universite de Montreal Carabins 30-11 to wrap up another undefeated regular season as well as giving the Rouge et Or a 52-12 record since 2000 when Glen Constantin assumed the Rouge et Or coaching mantle. The two other Montreal teams – McGill and Concordia – fared just as poorly as their cross-town rival, the Carabins, losing to Bishops and Sherbrooke respectively. McGill lost to Bishops in Lennoxville by a count of 40-21 and Concordia finished a zero for seven season, by losing 28-21 to the Vert et Or in Sherbrooke.
The Impact lost too, to Toronto FC, 1-0 on the road, and in so doing lost control of their own destiny as far as making the playoffs is concerned. This soccer loss made Montreal teams 0-5 so far today and all I can say is “Go Habs Go!”
No luck. Final score: San Jose 2; Montreal 0.
An all-around bad day for Montreal sports teams and, of course, their fans, us. Shit.