Sunday, September 13, 2009

Setting up the Lions - Alouettes

I'll be live-blogging the Lions - Alouettes game in a few minutes, but I figured I'd set up with a quick preview. The most interesting and most-discussed clash of last week was one I got to see in person last Friday, and one which set the table for this week's matchup ; B.C.'s incredible 19-12 upset of Montreal.

That the Lions came out on top was amazing enough on its own. They came into Friday's match reeling from a 37-10 pummelling by Winnipeg in their previous game, where they gave up 393 rushing yards to the Bombers, and their 3-5 record didn't seem to pose much of a threat to the dominant Alouettes, who entered Friday night with a league-best 7-1 mark. Granted, Montreal hadn't won in Vancouver since 2000, and the Alouettes had looked relatively average in their previous game (a 35-24 win over Saskatchewan), so the potential for an upset was here. That potential seemed pretty small before kickoff, though.

What made the night even more unusual was its bizarre conclusion. Late in the fourth quarter with the Alouettes trailing by 7, Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo led a drive deep into B.C territory, starting with a 45-yard completion to Brian Bratton. After a few plays, Montreal faced a third-and-one on the B.C. eight. At that point in the game, you have to go for it, especially in the CFL where the defensive line must start a full yard behind the ball. Montreal head coach Marc Trestman made the logical call, electing to go for the first down, and backup quarterback Adrian McPherson picked up the needed yardage.

Not so fast, McPherson. Everyone but the officials thought he had gained the necessary yardage, but the play was nullified thanks to a timeout from B.C. head coach Wally Buono. The Alouettes then tried again, with even better results; B.C. stacked the centre of the line, but running back Avon Cobourne raced into the end zone on a sweep. It looked like the score would be tied with not much time left.

Not so fast, Cobourne. It turned out that officials in the Toronto command centre had noticed that time ran off the clock on the first attempt. They buzzed the on-field officials, but they didn't get the message until at least partway through the play. They elected to take away the touchdown and have Montreal try again. This time, B.C. stopped their third-down rush. The Lions got the ball back and won the game. Still, that would make sense if the whistle indeed went, as was initially claimed by the league.

Not so fast, CFL. TSN's audio feed didn't detect a whistle. The league eventually admitted it made an error, and Montreal protested, but the Lions' victory was upheld. It did result in some rule changes, though, and should queue up an interesting game for today. B.C. will be eager to build on last week's momentum, while Montreal will feel they were robbed of a win and will want to get it back. Who will triumph? Find out in the live blog above!

No comments:

Post a Comment