Alouettes rally late to stun Lions
MONTREAL — Rookie quarterback Tanner Marsh had confidence in the hands of receiver Eric Deslauriers.
But to Deslauriers, Marsh’s pass was a work of art.
Sean Whyte kicked a 14-yard field goal on the final play of the game after Marsh threw a 57-yard pass to Deslauriers with 1.9 seconds remaining to give Montreal a come-from-behind 39-38 win over the B.C. Lions on Thursday night.
Marsh’s last-gasp pass to Deslauriers at the seven-yard line set up the improbable comeback as the Alouettes overcame a 28-14 deficit before what remained of a crowd of 22,456 on a rainy night at Molson Stadium.
“I’ll give him a jump ball every single time,” said Marsh, who replaced Josh Neiswander to begin Montreal’s fourth offensive series. “He’s a great athlete and makes plays when he needs to.”
Deslauriers said watching the pass coming in made him feel “like a photographer.”
“It was such a pretty ball,” Deslauriers said. “It was just up there forever.”
Marsh threw for 329 yards despite completing only 14 of 32 pass attempts, including four interceptions.
“I showed that I was a rookie,” said the 23-year-old Texan. “I made a lot of rookie mistakes that I have to fix to be a successful quarterback in this league, no doubt, and I’ve got to keep learning. It was a great team win but I did a lot of bad things and I’ve got to fix them.”
Marsh, who was a senior at Arkansas Tech last season, also rushed for 71 yards on nine carries, including his first touchdown run in the third quarter after completing his first touchdown pass to S.J. Green in the second quarter.
Tyron Carrier returned a kick 90 yards to draw Montreal within 38-33 but the Alouettes failed to convert a two-point attempt.
Whyte had four field goals in the game.
The Alouettes (3-5) won for the first time in three games under general manager Jim Popp, who became Montreal’s interim coach after he and owner Robert Wetenhall fired Dan Hawkins on Aug. 1.
Tim Brown returned a missed field goal 124 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter and Travis Lulay threw a pair of touchdowns to Shawn Gore for B.C. (5-3), which had won two in a row.
“Going in up at halftime you’ve got to pull those victories off,” Brown said.
Paul McCallum kicked five field goals for the Lions and Lulay threw his second touchdown pass to Gore, a 29-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter to put B.C. up 38-27.
McCallum, who kicked his fourth field goal at the end of the first half to put B.C. up 21-7, hit a 33-yarder 5:58 into the fourth. The veteran kicker also completed a 12-yard pass to Anton McKenzie for a first down on a fake punt in the second quarter.
Lulay threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Gore in the first quarter.
“It’s embarrassing,” Gore said. “I think I can speak for most of the team when I say that it’s a game that we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t make the big plays needed when we had the opportunities. We had so many turnovers and didn’t capitalize. Way too many field goals, not enough touchdowns, we left it all out there and we gave them that opportunity and we gave the game to them.”
Neiswander got his first career start in place of Anthony Calvillo, who was knocked out of Saturday’s 24-21 loss at Saskatchewan with a concussion.
Intercepted twice in the loss to the Roughriders, Neiswander was picked off by Ryan Phillips four plays into the Alouettes’ opening drive.
He completed one three-yard pass to Deslauriers in three attempt before he was replaced by Marsh. He made his pro debut in the Alouettes’ 38-13 loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 8.