Alouettes' defence delivers again

TORONTO — This season has been all about the Alouettes’ defence. So why would it have been any different in Montreal’s most-important game of the year?

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The Als held the Toronto Argonauts to four field goals en route to a 20-12 victory Saturday afternoon before only 16,834 Rogers Centre spectators — including more than 300 from Montreal who came to the game on a fan train — in a pivotal East Division showdown.

The victory was the Als’ fourth in succession, improving their record to 7-8. Montreal moved into a first-place tie with Hamilton, the Tiger-Cats also at 7-8. But the Als already have defeated Hamilton once this season, giving them the tie-breaker and technically positioning them in first place, for now.

Montreal played most of the game without defensive-linemen Gabriel Knapton and Aaron Lavarias, both of whom suffered injuries. The Als have now allowed only two touchdowns in their last three games.

The game ended, for all intents and purposes, on an unsuccessful third-down gamble by Ricky Ray at the Montreal 35-yard line with 1:27 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Argos’ record dropped to 6-9. The teams meet once more, in two weeks at Molson Stadium. Montreal hasn’t lost at the Rogers Centre since Aug. 14, 2010.

The Als’ defence created a turnover on the Argos’ opening possession. Curtis Steele ran up the middle, gaining 20 yards, but was hit by linebacker Chip Cox, who forced the fumble. The ball was recovered by defensive-tackle Alan-Michael Cash at the Montreal 35.

But the Als failed to capitalize on the turnover after S.J. Green was called for objectionable conduct on second down.

Knapton suffered his knee injury on the Argos’ next possession and didn’t return.

Swayze Waters, undoubtedly the best kicker in the Canadian Football League, opened the scoring with a 30-yard field goal at 7:03 of the first quarter.

On Montreal’s next series, Jonathan Crompton passed 25 yards to Brandon London. Toronto’s Tristan Okpalaugo also was penalized for roughing the passer on the play, giving the Als a first down at the Argos’ 35-yard line.

But Montreal failed to generate another first down. Sean Whyte kicked a 35-yard field goal at 9:25. Kyle Graves, a quarterback in college, held on the play after Dave Stala, the regular holder, suffered an injury moments earlier.

After the Als held the Argos without a first down, Montreal generated a nine-play, 90-yard drive.

Crompton passed 12 yards to Duron Carter and connected with London for an 18-yard gain. A swing pass to Chris Rainey generated 11 yards and Green gained 18 yards on another completion.

On the final play of the opening quarter, Crompton found Green just over the goal line for the touchdown. Green beat linebacker Matt Ware on the play, giving Montreal a 10-3 lead after 15 minutes.

Lavarias was injured on the Argos’ opening possession of the second quarter and didn’t return.

Waters narrowed the deficit to 10-6 with a 49-yard field goal at 3:43. The strong-legged Waters would have connected from 70 yards, it appeared, on the play if necessary.



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