Calvillo shines as Alouettes edge Eskimos
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Anthony Calvillo threw for 321 yards and a pair of scores as the Montreal Alouettes held off a late charge from the Edmonton Eskimos to take a 27-25 victory on Sunday.
Calvillo finished 21-of-35 with two interceptions, while Chris Jennings carried the ball 16 times for 90 yards for the Alouettes (11-6), who already have the East Division title locked up.
"I give credit to the Eskimos," said Montreal coach Mark Trestman, who tied Doug Walker's franchise record for most wins with 59. "They made stops on second down, so we had to punt often. Obviously, we could have used more of the clock, but we found a different way to win the game on the last play."
Matt Nichols led Edmonton's second-half charge in place of an ineffective Kerry Joseph, as he completed 9-of-15 passes for 230 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
"Their different defenses gave us some big holes so I was able to throw it down the middle on several occasions," Nichols said of his team's second half resurgence. "Our team competed hard, but we turned it on a little bit too late."
Joseph managed just 10-of-19 passing for 116 yards and an interception as the starter for Edmonton (7-10), which must win its final game against the Calgary Stampeders on Friday to secure a playoff berth.
"We have a better team than our record shows, but we'll be prepared for Calgary and get that win," Nichols said.
Fred Stamps hauled in four passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the setback.
Montreal struck first, as Calvillo hit Noel Devine for 31 yards on the first play from scrimmage to set up Sean Whyte's 18-yard field goal.
After an Edmonton punt, Calvillo led the Alouettes on a 10-play, 68-yard drive, culminating in a 6-yard TD strike to Bo Bowling to extend the margin to 10-0 with around four minutes left in the opening stanza.
An safety midway through the second pressed the margin to 12-0, and Montreal quickly extended its lead on the ensuing possession.
Calvillo hit Eric Deslauriers for 55 yards on the next play from scrimmage and five plays later, Adrian McPherson punched it from one yard out to make it a 19-0 contest with just over three minutes left until halftime.
Edmonton finally cracked the scoreboard on Grant Shaw's 70-yard single just before halftime.
Early in the third, Calvillo was picked off by Donovan Alexander, who returned it 30 yards to set up Shaw's 13-yard field goal as the Eskimos pulled within 19-4.
Whyte's unsuccessful attempt at a 36-yard field goal resulted in a 40-yard single late in the third to give the Als a 16-point lead before the Eskimos mounted their comeback.
Nichols sparked the charge with a quick strike, as he hit Stamps for a 95-yard touchdown catch and then found Marcus Henry for the two-point conversion to bring the Eskimos within eight.
Nichols was intercepted by Dwight Anderson on Edmonton's next touch, however, and Calvillo capitalized on the turnover by hitting Ryan Bomben for a 5-yard touchdown to press the lead to 27-12.
The Eskimos answered with a 5-play, 41-yard scoring march, as Nichols capped the series with a 6-yard TD pass to Shamawd Chambers to make it a one-score game.
After a quick punt from the Als, Nichols led the Eskimos deep into Montreal territory before hitting Stamps for a 13-yard touchdown with less than five seconds remaining.
The potential game-tying, two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete in the end zone, however, as Montreal escaped with the victory.
Montreal has won six straight against Edmonton ... The Alouettes lead the all- time, regular-season series by a count of 37-26-2 ... Edmonton running back Hugh Charles missed the game with a right knee injury ... Eskimo middle linebacker JC Sherritt set a new team record for defensive tackles in a season with 119.
10/28 17:42:11 ET