Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (8) makes a throw against the Edmonton Elks during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday August 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Adams Jr. throws for 211 yards and two TDs, Als down Elks 30-13 in season opener

Adams Jr. throws for 211 yards and two TDs, Als down Elks 30-13 in season opener

EDMONTON — The Montreal Alouettes had to wait longer than any other Canadian Football League team before getting back on the field, but they were full value when they finally returned.

Vernon Adams Jr. passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns as the Alouettes started their season by humbling the Edmonton Elks 30-13 on Saturday.

Montreal (1-0) began the 2021 CFL campaign with a bye week.

“Vernon had a solid game, he didn’t turn the ball over which is big,” said Montreal head coach Khari Jones of his starting quarterback. “He was smart with the football. He gave the guys a chance to catch the ball and was making solid reads throughout the game. It was a good start for him.”

The Alouettes defence had a strong showing, sacking Elks QB Trevor Harris four times.

“We came out trying to prove our identity, of how this defence is going to play the rest of the year, and that is what this was,” said Montreal defensive tackle Almondo Sewell, who made waves earlier in the week by questioning former Edmonton teammate Harris’ ability to handle adversity.

“I said if you get to him early in the game, he will fold. And I don’t make big statements. When I say something, I do my homework, I do my research, and that’s what it is.”

The Elks remained winless at 0-2 after losing their season debut 16-12 to Ottawa last week. They failed to record a touchdown in that contest and almost did the same in this one.

“It’s not where we want to be, it’s not where we expected to be,” said Elks head coach Jaime Elizondo. “We’re just not good enough right now. We’ve got a bunch of good individuals, but we’re not good enough as a team right now. We’re not playing as a team and it’s got to get fixed.”

Edmonton made it to a first-and-goal situation on its opening drive, but ended up settling for a 10-yard Sean Whyte field goal.

Montreal surged ahead on the final play of the first quarter as Jake Wieneke made a diving catch on an Adams pass for a 42-yard touchdown reception.

The Elks struggled in the red zone again early in the second as Harris bobbled the snap on an unsuccessful third-and-one attempt at the Montreal eight.

The Als made it 10-3 with six minutes left in the first half on a 23-yard David Cote field goal that was set up by a 54-yard passing play to B.J. Cunningham.

Montreal added to its lead a couple minutes later as Mario Alford found a seam along the sidelines and blazed 85 yards for a punt return touchdown. They then made it 20-3 at the mid-mark on a 47-yard Cote field goal.

Whyte chipped back with a 37-yard field goal late in the third.

Cote responded with his third field goal of the game, a 42-yarder.

The Alouettes added to the pounding with a 14-yard Adams TD pass to Cunningham with five minutes left in the final frame.

Edmonton got its first touchdown of the season with 1:21 remaining in the fourth as Shai Ross reeled in a 10-yard pass from Harris.

The Elks begin a three-game road trip in B.C. against the Lions on Thursday, while the Alouettes cap off a two-game trip to Alberta in Calgary next Friday.

Notes: The last time the two teams met was a memorable one as Edmonton travelled to Montreal for the 2019 East semifinal. Harris passed for a jaw-dropping 421 yards as Edmonton recorded a 37-29 win… Sewell made his Alouettes debut after spending the last nine seasons with Edmonton. Sewell is a seven-time West Division All-Star and a six-time CFL All-Star, recording 284 total tackles and 60 sacks during his time with Edmonton… The announced attendance was 25,116.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2021.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press

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