CFL Preview - Montreal (2-1) at Hamilton (1-2)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, CFL Editor
DATE & TIME: Saturday, July 21, 7:00 p.m. (et).
GAME NOTES: Needing some late-game heroics to turn the tables against their
most recent foes, the Montreal Alouettes now turn their attention to the
Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday as the squads collide at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Montreal, which dropped the 2012 season opener against Calgary by a lopsided
38-10 score on the road, has responded with a win against Winnipeg (41-30) in
Week 2 and also a clutch 33-32 triumph over the same Stampeders last Thursday
in a game that could have easily gone the other way.
The only club in the East Division that is above .500 entering play this week,
Montreal trailed by a score of 25-13 in the fourth quarter before the venerable
Anthony Calvillo went to work. The all-time leader in passing yards in
professional football, Calvillo helped lead the Als to three majors in the
final period, including TD passes of 7 and 3 yards to S.J. Green and Patrick
Lavoie in the final minutes to complete the comeback.
Calvillo, who was named the CFL Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts,
converted 23-of-38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns for his squad,
while shaking off four sacks. Even though the team came up with the victory,
the Als can't exactly be thrilled with their effort on the ground as they
managed a mere five net yards on eight attempts.
Although he missed some of the game due to injury, defensive back Jerald Brown
was named the CFL Defensive Player of the Week as he logged a season-best five
tackles and picked off a Kevin Glenn pass with less than two minutes
remaining, returning it 33 yards to the one-yard line of Calgary. Shortly
thereafter, Calvillo hit Patrick Lavoie with the game-winning score.
While the Alouettes are moving in the right direction, Hamilton recently made
amends for an 0-2 start to the campaign by claiming a 36-27 win over Toronto
last Saturday at home.
The Tiger-Cats appeared to be well on their way to a comfortable win versus
visiting Toronto, but after pushing out to a 21-0 advantage in the second
quarter, Hamilton had to hold on for a bumpy ride before capturing the nine-
The 'Cats recorded only 14 first downs and 293 yards of total offense,
compared to 402 yards for the Argos who refused to go away quietly. Henry
Burris converted just 12-of-27 passes for 181 yards, yet offset his one
interception by throwing three touchdowns passes. Putting his stamp on the
game was returner Chris Williams who brought back four punts for a total of 113
yards, including one for an 89-yard score.
Williams, who reeled in a 34-yard scoring strike from Burris to kick off the
game's action in the first period, also electrified the crowd with a 119-yard
missed field goal return for a score as he was named the CFL Special Teams
Player of the Week.
As well as Williams has played thus far, he alone cannot compensate for the
fact that Hamilton has allowed more points than any other team in the league
(109). Part of the problem is that the squad's turnover margin is currently
the worst in the CFL as well (minus-seven).
Hamilton is in the middle of the pack when it comes to slowing down opposing
passing attacks, giving up 266.7 ypg through the air, but that's a number that
will be challenged almost exclusively this week given how inept the Als are at
running the ball. Obviously everyone knows that Montreal is only as good as
Calvillo is from week to week, but with a so-called rushing attack that is
last in the league with just 50 net yards per game, the Als are making it a
bit easier for opponents like Hamilton to prepare for them.
Montreal, which will host the next meeting between the squads on August 23,
leads the all-time, regular-season series dating back to 1950 by a count of
87-77-7. The Als captured a narrow 27-25 decision in the most recent matchup
last October, giving them two straight wins and three in the last five during
the regular season versus Hamilton.
Defense is the weak link for Montreal and has been since Calvillo took over
the offense. Should Burris and Williams find a way to exploit that aspect of
the game, the Tiger-Cats will have a fighting chance this week, although
they'll need to put more than just a few hits on the Montreal signal-caller
top ensure a tight game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montreal 27, Hamilton 20
07/18 10:53:01 ET
powered by www.sportsnetwork.com.