Anthony Calvillo wasn’t mincing words.
“It was embarrassing, disgusting across the board on offence,” the Alouettes quarterback said following his team’s 19-11 home-opening loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night.
“What we did out there today, I really have no explanation for it right now. We’ve just got to play better, and that starts with the players and the coaches.”
Asked to pinpoint what went wrong, head coach Dan Hawkins couldn’t put his finger on just one thing.
“It’s a little bit of everything. It all starts with me. I’ve got to get them better prepared,” he admitted.
One week after producing 38 points in a comeback win in Winnipeg, the offence seemed to be stuck in neutral this time around. The Alouettes managed just three first downs in the opening half, including just one in the first quarter, and entered the locker room with only a field goal to their credit.
A Buck Pierce pass tipped by defensive back Jerald Brown into the hands of defensive tackle Scooter Berry at the Blue Bombers 20 helped Montreal open the scoring. Stalled in attempts for a touchdown, the Alouettes settled for Sean Whyte’s 15-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Winnipeg went ahead early in the second on a four-yard run by back-up quarterback Justin Goltz. They added to it on the very next play, when Mike Renaud’s punt rolled into the end zone.
“In my seven years of being here, I don’t think I’ve been a part of anything like this as an offence,” slotback S.J. Green noted. “It’s disappointing but we’ve got to go back to the drawing board on Day 1 next week and make corrections.”
With little to cheer for much of the night, the Montreal crowd was brought to its feet late in the third quarter thanks to Kyries Hebert. Goltz dropped the ball and lost the recovery battle on the turf to Hebert at the Montreal 51. The second-year Alouette quickly got up and proceeded to run uncontested into the end zone.
It was one of five turnovers the Bombers made, after handing the Alouettes four the week before.
“It’s frustrating because our defence got us some turnovers, gave us short fields and we weren’t able to capitalize,” Hawkins said.
“Last week we struggled a little bit and were up by a few points. This week we struggled and we were down. We’ve got to continue to keep working and getting better now, and it all starts with me.”
The play underwent a review and was somehow overturned, the CFL control room deeming Hebert had gone down by contact before the run. Replays showed Hebert hit the ground on his own.
“When the defence plays the way they did, creating so many turnovers on a short field and we can’t capitalize, it’s pretty sick. We’ve got a lot to improve on right now because we’re not doing very well right now,” Calvillo said.
The teams exchanged a pair of singles before Goltz upped the visitors’ lead to 16-4 late in the fourth quarter with a one-yard run.
The Alouettes responded with their best series of the night, a 60-yard drive capped off by a 17-yard touchdown reception by Green with 2:14 left to play. But that was as close as they would get, a forced fumble leading a Winnipeg field goal.
Not helping matters was the fact that Calvillo was sacked seven times.
“I know a couple of times I might have gotten out of the pocket a bit too early, looking back on the game right now. But overall, we have to pick it up. It’s just one of those things where we know what type of team we are,” he said. “We have the talent but we’re not playing up to our potential right now and we’ve got to fix it.”
And Hawkins knows it, with a formidable foe on tap.
“We just have to get better. Eighteen games, we’ve got Calgary coming here, who’s a very, very good football team. We’ve got to learn from this and get our go-tough socks on and be ready to go next week.”