Missed opportunities and turnovers were once again the theme of a Montreal Alouettes loss. In a 38-18 home loss to the B.C. Lions, Montreal allowed B.C. to dominate and control the game by turning the ball over, missing tackles and by missing field goals. If Montreal wants to turn their season’s fortunes around, they need to reduce the missed opportunities.
Missed Opportunities, Turnovers Costly for Alouettes
Missed Opportunities by the Defence
Early on in the game, it was clear that quarterback Jonathon Jennings was able to slice through the Alouettes defence like a baker slices his fresh bread. Jennings opened the game with a 49-yard bomb to Bryan Burnham before Richie Leone hit a 46-yard field goal to open the scoring.
On the next drive, running back Jeremiah Johnson took a swing pass 32 yards thanks to some woeful tackling by the Montreal defence. Kyries Hebert, Jonathon Mincy and Bear Woods all failed to take Johnson down before Marc-Olivier Brouillette knocked him out of bounds at the Montreal 16-yard line. At home, with the game still close and the legs still fresh, missing tackles like that is unacceptable. Hebert said during the week that the Alouettes have a secret weapon prepared for the Lions ground game, but whatever it was, proved ineffective.
The Lions produced a few long drives, two of which had more than ten plays, that killed the chances of an Alouettes victory. They had an 11-play, 67-yard drive that took 4:38 off the play clock in the second quarter and the end result, an Arceneaux touchdown, gave the Lions the lead. Their second big drive came in the fourth quarter when the defence really needed a stop. In 14 plays, they took 7:59 to get 80 yards down the field, only to get a field goal. The chip shot by Leone essentially put the game to bed.
The Lions attack seemed unstoppable and the Alouettes defence allowed their opponents to gain yards on them almost every play. The three big receivers in Shawn Gore, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Burnham went a combined 217 yards and seemed to catch almost everything thrown at them. Jennings only had five incomplete passes all game. The Alouettes had multiple missed opportunities to stop the Lions offence, and it played a huge outcome in the game.
The Alouettes only had two turnovers all game, both of them fumbles, but it was the timing of them that hurt the Als the most. Brandon Rutley fumbled the ball on the opening play in the third quarter, and the Lions capitalized with a field goal. Montreal was down by 9 at half and they needed a great start, and this fumble threw their gameplan of an early comeback out the window.
Fifteen minutes later, on the opening play of the fourth quarter, with the Alouettes only down by five, receiver Corbin Louks also fumbled. Loucheiz Purifoy scooped up the pigskin and return it for six points, killing all possible momentum the Alouettes had at the time.
If they want to win, and even win with a comeback, turnovers to start quarters just cannot happen.
Missed Field Goals
Where has Boris Bede‘s focus gone? A year ago, Bede did not miss from inside the 40 and hit 90% of his field goals all season. He even produced a majority of the Alouettes points and was arguably their most consistent player a year ago. The 2015 All-Star is only a shade of his former self in 2016, making 7 of 16 field goals, including a 38-yard miss against the Lions. He even botched a 12-yard punt that went out of bounds, leading to a penalty and the Lions starting the drive in the red zone.
He seems frustrated and constantly needs pep talks from head coach Jim Popp and special teams coach Kavis Reed. Popp even admitted that Bede’s future with the team is uncertain and he may start looking for a replacement. Bede has all the talent in the world to become a superstar kicker, but he needs to get his head in the game and make those field goals.
Missed opportunities like missed field goals can be costly in the long run, and the Alouettes cannot keep waiting for Bede to shore up his focus.