Lions visit Als, as both seek first win
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - A couple of teams coming off disappointing efforts in their respective season openers get together at Percival-Molson Stadium on Friday night, as the Montreal Alouettes entertain the British Columbia Lions.
The Als figured to have some struggles early on with the change in quarterback, but no one could have foreseen their awful effort against Calgary in the opener.
Troy Smith did little with his opportunity to make Montreal fans forget all about Anthony Calvillo. In fact, it would not be surprising if Calvillo was besieged by requests to reconsider his retirement after the lackluster performance by the new starting quarterback for the Als in their 29-8 setback at Calgary last weekend.
Smith was largely ineffective as he completed just 18-of-41 passes for 154 yards, was sacked four times and tossed an interception. Many of his throws sailed over the heads of receivers, and at no time did Smith make an effort to show off his running ability, perhaps the latter was in an effort to keep him from getting injured in the very first game of the season.
Running back Brandon Whitaker was credited with 59 yards on 12 carries, while Steven Lumbala scored a one-yard touchdown on his only carry of the contest, one that came at the end of the meeting following a defensive penalty.
The debut of former NFL superstar receiver Chad Johnson was uneventful as he caught just two passes for 20 yards, but he wasn't the only Montreal player guilty of having little influence on the outcome. As a group, the Alouettes generated a mere 175 yards of offense and while they were far from an offensive juggernaut a season ago, they did manage to put up 322.5 ypg.
Charged with 12 penalties, for a loss of 120 yards, didn't help matters for the Als, but that was just one aspect of the game that needs to be cleaned up moving forward.
Defensively, Montreal surrendered 425 yards and did little to capitalize on the fact that Calgary was hit with a dozen penalties for 129 yards.
While the Alouettes were completely blown out of the water, British Columbia's meeting against visiting Edmonton immediately afterward on Saturday evening started off well enough, before spiraling out of control, en route to a 27-20 defeat.
Kevin Glenn tossed a couple of first-quarter touchdowns for the Lions in that clash, but after that he was barely heard from as the club registered just two field goals by Paul McCallum the rest of the way.
BC ran only 65 plays partly because Glenn was picked off four times and suffered four sacks as he completed 18-of-28 passes. The pressure on the signal-caller was never ending, as his four picks were more than half of his entire 2013 total of just seven.
Andrew Harris, who ran for 37 yards on 11 attempts, also caught six balls for 102 yards in an effort to keep the Lions in the mix against Edmonton. Then again, Harris did fumble on the final offensive play of the game.
On a more positive note, the Lions did manage to limit the Eskimos to less than 300 yards of offense, but even that went by the wayside in the loss.
The squads split their two regular-season matchups from last year as the home team came up big. First, the Als slipped by BC during Week 9 action by a score of 39-38, as Sean Whyte knocked through the game-winning field goal in the waning moments in order to offset five field goals by his counterpart, McCallum. Three weeks later, British Columbia returned the favor with a resounding 36-14 decision, as Travis Lulay threw one TD and ran for another in order to offset a trio of interceptions.
As far as the series record is concerned, BC is ahead by a count of 35-32-1 when taking into consideration only regular-season meetings dating back to 1961. The Lions have won two of the last three encounters, including a 36-14 decision at home back in September of 2013.
These teams will meet once more during the regular season a little over two weeks from now in Vancouver.
07/02 11:18:34 ET