Alouettes 33 Blue Bombers 26
WINNIPEG — Anthony Calvillo threw three touchdown passes Friday as the Montreal Alouettes held off a furious Winnipeg rally to defeat the Blue Bombers 32-26.
With the win, Montreal tied Winnipeg atop the CFL standings at 8-5 and evened the season series between the clubs at a win apiece. The Alouettes and Blue Bombers play again Oct. 22 in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg was down 32-13 early in the fourth quarter, but pushed hard at the end.
The Bombers closed the gap to 32-26 with less than three minutes remaining on touchdowns by receiver Clarence Denmark and running back Chris Garrett.
With 1:44 remaining, Montreal linebacker Diamond Ferri forced Bomber veteran receiver Terrence Edwards to fumble after a catch and recovered the ball at Winnipeg’s 42-yard line.
Montreal couldn’t do anything with the turnover and Winnipeg started its final drive with 1:03 left.
The penalty-filled game continued when the Als were flagged for two pass interference calls. Winnipeg got the ball at the one-yard line with eight seconds remaining in front of a fifth straight sellout crowd of 30,447 at Canad Inns Stadium.
Bomber quarterback Alex Brink kept the ball and didn’t get in on his first try. He also failed on a second attempt as time expired. Both plays were confirmed after video review.
Calvillo, who suffered a concussion in a win against Edmonton last week but was cleared to play, completed 26-of-44 pass attempts for 335 yards and no interceptions.
Brink was making his second career start in place of Buck Pierce, who was resting sore ribs.
Brink was 24-of-40 for 326 yards, one TD, two interceptions and two fumbles. Only one of those fumbles were lost.
Winnipeg has lost four of its past five games.
Montreal fullback Dahrran Diedrick scored on a two-yard run and receivers Jamel Richardson, Kerry Watkins and S.J. Green caught Calvillo’s TD passes.
Sean Whyte connected on a 27-yard field goal for the Als and added a single off a 41-yard miss.
Richardson, the league’s leading receiver, hauled in six catches for 126 yards.
League-leading rusher Brandon Whitaker, who was flipped over by a hard hit from Bomber Alex Suber on the game’s second play, bounced back and rushed 15 times for 75 yards.
Garrett started for Winnipeg at running back, replacing Fred Reid and backup Carl Volny, who both suffered season-ending knee injuries in last week’s loss to Toronto.
He carried 11 times for 76 yards, including a 32-yard run for a TD with 2:34 remaining in the game.
Bomber rookie linebacker Henoc Muamba, the first overall pick in this year’s CFL college draft, ran a blocked punt 52 yards for his first career touchdown.
Denmark caught a 25-yard TD pass from Brink with a failed two-point convert 7:48 of the fourth. Justin Palardy booted a pair of field goals from 36 and 35 yards and has made 15 of his last 16 attempts.
The Alouettes led 15-3 at halftime and 29-13 after three quarters.
Brink got off to a good start, engineering a nine-play, 49-yard drive on his team’s first possession of the game that ended with Palardy’s 36-yard field goal.
Richardson helped Montreal to its first touchdown when he took a pass from Calvillo and ran 59 yards up the middle of the field to Winnipeg’s two-yard line. Diedrick’s TD finished the drive at 7:39.
Brink threw an interception in the first quarter that was tipped and caught by defensive end Anwar Stewart, but the Als couldn’t convert the turnover into any points.
His second interception was tossed with 49 seconds left in the half, an unwise throw as he was scrambling near his goal-line that was tipped into the hands of defensive end Jermaine McElveen.