Montreal 31 Hamilton 29
MONTREAL — Sean Whyte delivered the one 40th birthday present Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo wanted above all.
Whyte kicked a 37-yard field goal as time expired and Montreal extended its winning streak to three with a 31-29 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday.
Montreal scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-yard touchdown run by Brandon Whitaker and a 17-yard field goal by Whyte which put the Alouettes up 28-26 at 12:09.
Hamilton’s Luca Congi kicked his fifth field goal of the game with 1:22 remaining, a 47-yarder to put the Tiger-Cats up 29-28.
Whyte’s third field goal came at the end of an eight-play, 45-yard drive that began with a 12-yard run by Calvillo.
“Everything happens so quickly out there,” Whyte said. “One minute you’re on the sideline, the next you’re out there kicking the ball. You don’t really have time to get nervous. Everybody did their job tonight. A.C. did an awesome job of leading the gang down the field to get us in easy field goal range.”
The Molson Stadium crowd of 22,140 was in a festive mood with many wearing party hats handed out by the Alouettes to celebrate Calvillo’s birthday.
Calvillo brought his party to life with a milestone touchdown pass to S.J. Green, hitting the Alouettes’ receiver in the end zone for a 10-yard strike 9:53 into the second quarter.
“I didn’t notice the party hats. I didn’t notice anything, to be honest with you,” Calvillo said.
“I was really trying to concentrate on the game and that’s the tough thing. I just hope my birthday never lands on a game day again.”
Calvillo’s 436th career touchdown pass moved him past Warren Moon into second place all-time in pro football history. Moon threw 435 touchdown passes, including 144 with Edmonton from 1978-83. Brett Favre threw 508 touchdown passes, all in the NFL.
“Congratulations to him,” said Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris. “He’s worked hard and his guys made plays for him tonight. They did a great job of protecting him and giving him time. He’s doing a great job of leading that team and that’s the reason why they’re in first place.”
Chris Williams tied a CFL record with his fifth kick return touchdown of the season for Hamilton in the second quarter.
Williams returned Whyte’s punt 70 yards for his fifth kick return touchdown of the season, tying Henry “Gizmo” Williams’ CFL single-season record set in 1991.
It was Chris Williams’ fourth punt-return touchdown of the season. He also returned a missed field goal for a touchdown. Gizmo Williams still holds the record for most punt-return touchdowns in a season with five.
“I’ve heard some very good stories about that man,” Chris Williams said. “This league’s been around for a long time. Any time you can tie a record, it’s an honour. I’m thankful but I definitely would have liked to get a win.”
Former Alouette Avon Cobourne’s 15-yard touchdown reception from Burris gave Hamilton a 26-18 lead 2:57 into the fourth.
Whitaker’s three-yard run at 7:14 helped bring Montreal within 26-25. Whyte hit his second of three field goals with 2:20 left, a 17-yard kick as the Alouettes settled for a 28-26 lead after Calvillo was sacked by Greg Peach for a seven-yard loss with Montreal on the three-yard line.
Adrian McPherson scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to give Montreal its first lead, 18-16, 10:53 into the third quarter.
Green nearly had a second touchdown reception but he was downed inches short of the goal-line just before McPherson’s quarterback sneak.
“We came together as a team and put it together in all three phases, offensively, defensively and special teams, and we finished, which is all you can ask for out of your team,” Green said.
The Alouettes lost wide receiver Brandon London to a left knee sprain earlier in the drive that led to McPherson’s touchdown. London twisted his leg when he was tackled and got his left foot trapped under Tiger-Cats linebacker Rey Williams.
Montreal coach Marc Trestman expects him to be sidelined for two to four weeks.
“We’ll know a lot more after we see the doctors (Friday) and see how he feels in the morning,” Trestman said.
Alouettes free safety Kyries Hebert laid out Hamilton’s Onrea Jones with one of the most devastating blocks of the season. Montreal’s Jerald Brown intercepted Burris in the third quarter and Jones was in pursuit when Hebert caught him with his head down, sending the Tiger-Cats slotback flying backwards.
“It was a hellacious hit and I wouldn’t have got up,” Alouettes defensive end John Bowman said.