Anthony Calvillo threw a touchdown pass to Brian Bratton as the Montreal Alouettes rebounded from their worst loss of the season to post a 28-17 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL on Sunday afternoon.
Brandon Whitaker and Adrian McPherson ran in touchdowns and Sean Whyte had two field goals for Montreal (7-4), which took sole possession of first place in the East Division. The Alouettes were beaten 43-10 at British Columbia last week.
Kory Sheets caught a touchdown pass from rookie Drew Willy and Sandro De Angelis kicked field goals of 46 and 48 yards for the Riders (5-6), who were coming off a pair of wins over Winnipeg. The recently acquired De Angelis also missed on two second-half attempts.
Montreal built a 16-point first-half lead and held on before 23,147 on a sunny day at Percival Molson Stadium.
Willy, who looked sharp in relief of injured Darian Durant the last two games, struggled to move the ball in his first CFL start at quarterback, completing 10 passes for 79 yards compared to 10 throws for 236 yards by Calvillo in the first half.
But with help from solid play by the Riders defence he did enough in the second half to make it close, although consecutive fourth-quarter drives ended in interceptions by Seth Williams and Kyries Hebert that were converted into field goals.
Montreal scored on the opening drive as Calvillo went to Whitaker on six of seven plays before the stocky running back took the ball in from the three.
Willy moved the ball to the 40 for De Angelis to kick a field goal, but Montreal answered with another TD as a 31-yard toss to Jamel Richardson helped set up backup QB McPherson’s one-yard plunge.
The Riders picked up another De Angelis boot in the second quarter, but Calvillo replied with an eight-yard TD toss to Bratton with 38 seconds left in the half for a 22-6 lead at the break. Bratton was shaken up after flying over a low hit from Chris McKenzie and left the game. There was no immediate word on his condition.
Saskatchewan’s vaunted defence rose up in the second half and the Riders picked up safeties on Montreal’s first two possessions of the second half after perfect angled punts by Chris Milo trapped the home team deep.
A Whitaker fumble on the final play of the third quarter gave the Riders the ball at the Montreal 33 and, two plays later, Willy barely avoided a sack and got the ball to Sheets for their first major score of the game.
A 62-yard completion to S.J. Green in the first half was the Alouette slotback’s league-leading 12th catch for 30 or more yards this season.
The Riders’ Weston Dressler easily got the 17 yards he needed to pass the career 5,000-yard mark.
Whitaker was helped off the field in the fourth quarter and did not return.