The Alouettes will have to execute better and stay disciplined if they want to win

Frederic Daigle, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Ottawa Redblacks have a knack for making the Montreal Alouettes look bad this season. Still, the two teams shouldn’t play such close matches.

The level of talent is much higher among the Alouettes (7-8), who aspire to first place in the East, than among the Rouge et Noir (4-11), who are clearly going through a transition. However, the Ottawa team has signed two of its victories this season on the outdated synthetic surface of Percival-Molson Stadium, including a 24-18 victory last Monday, which prevented Danny Maciocia’s troops from ensuring their participation in the playoffs.

« We still have a bitter taste in our mouths from this loss on Monday, » quarterback Trevor Harris admitted earlier this week. We feel we left too many points on the pitch. Yes, they did a good job, but if we perform at our level, we will win on Friday.

These points Harris is talking about are those left in the Rouge et Noir’s paying zone: six times the Alouettes reached the visitor’s 20 zone on Monday, they had to settle for a touchdown and four field goals. In a loss by six points, there are several answers in these statistics.

« It’s the execution that we have to improve on Friday, » admitted head coach Danny Maciocia. We’ve had success in the paying zone since the start of the season, but in this particular game it was the execution that was lacking. Our four placements were successful inside the line of 25: we have to be more opportunistic.

« It was definitely the execution that was our problem, » Harris said. But if you look at the last six or seven games, that hasn’t been the case, so you have to believe that it was just a mishap for our team. You have to give credit where it belongs to their defense: they made big plays, but our execution was lacking.”

The Alouettes will also have to show more discipline: they received nine penalties for 122 yards lost on Monday (including 107 in defense) and on several occasions tempers flared. With two games that could determine first place in the East against the Toronto Argonauts to conclude the season, the Montrealers must ensure that their best players will not be penalized preventing them from playing these two duels.

Maciocia added to the team’s petty cash after Monday’s game.

“Several had to pay a fine. We have plenty of money for the chicken we’re going to order today! We’ll see after Friday’s game what kind of meals we’ll eat next week, » he joked after Wednesday’s practice.

“Guys are aware, they are adults, professional players. It will be a very physical match on Friday, the second in five days between two teams that don’t really like each other. We will therefore have to control our emotions, ”he added more seriously.

« Penalties have a big impact and we have to make sure we keep a cool head, » noted Harris. It’s clear that penalties, turnovers and explosive plays are usually the three things that determine the outcome of a game. We have to make sure we protect the ball, keep our composure and make them pay the price when we can. You have to stay in the present moment.”

If they want to avoid the first round of the playoffs, the Alouettes have no more room for manoeuvre: a loss on Friday combined with a victory for the Argos (9-6) on Saturday in Edmonton would guarantee first place in the East for the Torontonians. The Alouettes must sign three straight wins for the second time this season to be crowned.

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