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(Friday, July 6th)
Final Score: Montreal 41, Winnipeg 30
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Anthony Calvillo passed for more than 400 yards for the 29th time in his career and Brandon Whitaker put together a monster performance out of the backfield as the Montreal Alouettes defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 41-30 at Stade Percival-Molson Stadium.
Calvillo bounced back from a disappointing outing last week to put up 443 yards and three touchdowns on 31-of-39 passing for Montreal (1-1). Whitaker was a dual-threat all night, carrying the ball 14 times for 98 yards and a major while adding a career-high 11 catches for 137 yards and two more scores through the air.
"It was something that the coaches saw out their," Whitaker said regarding his career-night. "If they see a matchup that they like, we'll go after it, and tonight it happened to be a passing matchup with me involved. I just wanted to do all I can to help this team win. We got the win, but it's a long season."
For Winnipeg (0-2), quarterback Buck Pierce returned to the lineup after leaving week one's game with an injury and went 18-of-26 through the air for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wideout Chris Matthews hauled in eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown for the Bombers.
Calvillo completed 6-of-6 passes for 89 yards on Montreal's first drive. He was spelled by his backup and short-yardage quarterback Adrian McPherson in the red zone, and after an impressive goal-line stand by the Bombers, McPherson completed a two-yard touchdown strike to J.P. Bekasiak on third down to give the Alouettes an early 7-0 lead.
Calvillo capped off a brilliant first quarter with a 21-yard major strike to Whitaker as time expired to give Montreal a 14-0 lead. The veteran signal- caller finished the opening quarter 10-of-11 passing for an astounding 205 yards, which was more than he had in all of last week's loss to Calgary.
The Bombers answered with a strong drive to start the second quarter, highlighted by a 28-yard run by Bloi-Dei Dorzon, but had to settle for a 23- yard field goal from Justin Palardy to make it 14-3.
Following a Montreal two-and-out, the Bombers drove down past mid-field before a deflected Pierce pass resulted in an interception by Alouette linebacker Rod Davis with 6:34 remaining in the first half.
A 35-yard field goal from Sean Whyte extended Montreal's lead to 17-3. On the drive, Calvillo was taken to the locker room following an apparent arm injury, though he was able to return on the following series.
Winnipeg answered quickly with a three-play, 58-yard scoring drive, capped off with a seven-yard touchdown reception by Matthews. The big strike on the 1:24 drive came on a 46-yard reception by Terrence Edwards on a play-action pass from Pierce.
Another two-and-out by Montreal left the Bombers with great field position with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter, and they were able to capitalize with another Palardy field goal to cut the lead to 17-13 before the half.
The Alouettes opened the second half with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by 20-yard major from Patrick Lavoie on his first career CFL catch, giving Montreal a 24-13 advantage.
On the following drive, a pair of Montreal pass interference penalties brought the Bombers inside the five-yard line, but they had to settle for another Palardy field goal to make it 24-16 inside seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Minutes later, Winnipeg got the big play they were looking for when Demond Washington returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown to bring the Bombers' deficit to just one, 24-23.
The Alouettes answered with scores on back-to-back series, with a Whyte field goal and a Whitaker touchdown catch putting them back up double-digits, 34-23, with under nine minutes left in regulation.
Winnipeg again drove deep into Montreal territory on the following possession, but turned the ball over on downs. The Bombers scored just two touchdown in six trips to the red zone on the night.
Whitaker added a major with less than two minutes remaining to give the Alouettes a comfortable 41-23 advantage. Winnipeg backup quarterback Alex Brink added a short touchdown plunge in the final minute for the Bombers.
"We got our offense going in the second quarter, however our offense is still a work in progress," Pierce said of the Bombers' performance. "We did a lot of things better. We just have to improve. We wanted to give (Dorzon) more touches, but it just didn't work out that way."
Montreal won despite committing 13 penalties and dropping three passes...Nine different players caught a pass for the Alouettes...In addition to the interception, Davis also added three tackles and a fumble recovery...S.J. Green caught five balls for 120 yards for Montreal and Edwards added six catches for 126 yards for the Winnipeg...The Alouettes now hold a 44-34-2 edge in the series over the Bombers dating back to 1946.
07/06 23:27:15 ET
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