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Alouettes beat Eskimos to extend win streak to three

Alouettes beat Eskimos to extend win streak to three
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It was Montreal’s third successive victory and improved its record to 3-2. It marked the Als’ first three-game winning streak since the end of the 2016 season, when they had already been eliminated from playoff contention.

It also marks the first time the Als have been above .500 this late in the season since 2012.

Edmonton had won 11 consecutive games against Montreal, dating back to Aug. 8, 2014. The Eskimos now have a 3-2 record.

The home team was missing starting receivers B.J. Cunningham and DeVier Posey.

This was a good old-fashioned defensive game, seldom seen in today’s high-scoring Canadian Football League. Indeed, both teams struggled to produce any consistent offence.

In fact, the teams struggled just to gain first downs in the game’s early moments.

Montreal opened the scoring more than nine minutes into the first quarter, the home team producing a five-play, 74-yard drive.

Vernon Adams passed 21 yards to Eugene Lewis. Two plays later, the mobile quarterback scampered 18 yards for the Eskimos’ 35-yard line. Adams then found Lewis for a 14-yard gain.

On the next play, head coach Khari Jones showed his offensive ingenuity. Adams pitched to William Stanback, who handed off to Lewis on a reverse. But then Lewis, a quarterback in high school, passed 21 yards to Adams for the touchdown at 9:14, to produce a 7-0 lead.

The Eskimos seemed prepared to answer offensively and advanced from their 25 to the Montreal 40 before Greg Reid intercepted a pass intended for Ricky Collins. It was the first interception of the season thrown by Trevor Harris. It marked the first time Harris had been pilfered in 228 passes.

The Eskimos got on the scoreboard when Sean Whyte, a former Alouette, kicked a 17-yard field goal at 9:50 of the second quarter. But Montreal’s defence should be commended for keeping the visitors out of the end zone from the 10-yard line.

Boris Bede responded with a 10-yard field goal at 13:06, but the Als had to be frustrated by their inability to score a touchdown from the Edmonton three-yard line.

Montreal, however, likely was prudent taking the points.

The Eskimos had a potential 33-yard touchdown to Kenny Stafford, another former Alouette, nullified just before halftime due to a holding penalty against right-tackle Colin Kelly.

Edmonton then settled for a 34-yard Whyte field goal on the final play of the opening half, narrowing the deficit to 10-6.

The Eskimos took the opening kickoff of the second half and inched still closer, following Whyte’s 48-yard field goal at 4:52.

But then, with the game’s momentum seemingly shifting, the home team produced a critical 10-play, 75-yard drive, holding the ball for 5:20.

It was a methodical drive which included passes to Quan Bray of 12 and 10 yards, along with one to Stanback covering 18 yards.

Following a 15-yard run by Adams, he connected with Jake Wieneke for a five-yard touchdown pass at 5:20, increasing the Als’ lead to 17-9.

Whyte missed a 48-yard field goal late in the third quarter.

The game was suspended for about 25 minutes with 13:44 remaining in the fourth quarter after lightning was visible in the area.

The Als were on offence when the game was halted. When it resumed Adams, from the Edmonton 30, attempted a pass into the end zone that was tipped and intercepted by Jordan Hoover. But Edmonton defensive-back Tyquwan Glass was called for illegal contact, giving Montreal new life at the Eskimos’ 20.

But they failed to generate another first down, settling for Bede’s 21-yard field goal at 5:10 and a 20-9 advantage.

Later in the quarter, Harris was intercepted a second time — this one by safety Taylor Loffler.

The Als will now look forward to their second bye week of the season, before returning to host the Ottawa Redblacks, Aug. 2.
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