Montreal Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., (8) throws the ball against the Ottawa Redblacks during first-half CFL football action in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Vernon Adams Jr. throws four touchdown passes, leads Als over Redblacks

Vernon Adams Jr. throws four touchdown passes, leads Als over Redblacks

OTTAWA — Two struggling teams and two struggling quarterbacks met Friday night as Vernon Adams Jr., and his Montreal Alouettes faced Matt Nichols and the host Ottawa Redblacks.

Something had to give and it was no contest.

Adams Jr., threw four touchdown passes and Nichols never made it to the second quarter as the Alouettes blew out the Redblacks 51-29.

Eugene Lewis and Jack Wieneke each caught two of those TD passes from Adams Jr., while Almondo Sewell had a 1-yard touchdown run late.

“I just want to reach out to all my peers who reached out to me throughout the league, former players and media guys who really care for me and told me to keep my head. I just want to say thank you to all those guys,” Adams Jr., said of the support he received through the week following a 1-2 start to the season.

“I really had fun man. I was really myself and I was out there pumped up and ready to go. I saw the field clearly.”

Indeed he did as he completed 18 of his 23 passes and connected with Lewis on 55- and 39-yard strikes along with 9- and 13-yard scores with Wieneke. Adams Jr., finished with 288 yards passing.

Dominique Davis didn’t start at quarterback for the Redblacks (1-3) but was solid in relief of Matt Nichols, throwing for 267 yards (21 for 30) and two touchdowns. Davis, who also had a rushing touchdown, took over in the second quarter after Nichols was just 2-of-5 for 23 yards with one interception in the opening quarter.

“I talked to Matt this week to analyze how we were after the first three games and what can we do as an offence. This is not about Matt Nichols,” Redblacks coach Paul LaPolice said.

“We had an interception on a tipped ball and then there was a throw or two that I felt like it was time to give Dom a chance.”

By the time the game was in the fourth quarter it was out of reach as the Alouettes (2-2) grabbed a 34-13 lead in the third after Adams Jr., found Wieneke alone in the endzone with 90 second left in the quarter. It was the first third-quarter points the Alouettes have scored this season.

They didn’t stop there as Justin Davis had a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown and a 41-13 lead just over a minute into the fourth.

“This feels great. We anticipated this after a great week of practice and we just tried to execute the game at a high level,” said Will Stanback who had 112 yards on 15 carries.

“I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do without (the offensive line). The big boys up front lead the play, open up a passing lane to get the line moving and get positive yardage and move forward every time. The have a big impact on the offensive side of the ball”.

The Redblacks got to Adams Jr., for a safety five minutes into the fourth and a 1-yard touchdown from Davis midway through that wasn’t converted cutting the lead to 41-21.

Alouettes defensive lineman Sewell scored in the dying minutes for his first career touchdown, but Davis responded with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Petermann with two minutes to play. A two-point conversion made it 48-29.

David Cote ended the night with a 16-yard field goal with 18 seconds to play.

Cote opened the scoring on the opening drive of the game with a 27-yard field goal. The Alouettes drive was aided with a 20-yard pass interference call on the Redblacks after it looked as though had opened the game by forcing a two-and-out.

After Lewis’ first touchdown was converted by Cote, Lewis Ward kicked a 31-yard field goal on the last play of the first quarter to get the Redblacks on the board cutting Montreal’s lead to 10-3.

Cote kicked a 37-yard field goal and Wieneke hauled in a 9-yard pass from Adams Jr., giving the Alouettes a 20-3 lead midway through the second.

In the final three minutes of the half Davis threw a 5-yard touchdown to Petermann, Lewis caught his second TD pass of the game and Ward nailed a 40-yard field goal as the half ended with Montreal up 27-13.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published September 3, 2021.

Darren Desaulniers, The Canadian Press

CFL