MONTREAL -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers trail the Montreal Alouettes 27-23 after the third quarter here at Stade Molson Friday night.
The Alouettes opened the scoring with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter after a lengthy goal-line stand by the Bombers defence finally yielded on the Als' sixth play from within the two-yard line, as Als backup QB Adrian McPherson rolled out on the third down and found defensive tackle JP Bekasiak loose near the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
The play capped a withering Als drive that went 81 yards over 15 plays and kept the Bombers defence on the field -- in hot and humid conditions -- for 8:08.
Then on the final play of the quarter, Als starting QB Anthony Calvillo tossed a screen pass to running back Brandon Whittaker, who ducked a tackle from Bombers linebacker Henoc Muamba and rumbled into the end zone from 21 yards out. The touchdown capped a five-play, 91-yard drive that included a 49-yard reception by SJ Green.
The Bombers got their first points of the game on the opening drive of the second quarter as a 28-yard run from scrimmage by Winnipeg tailback Bloi-Dei Dorzon set up a 23-yard field goal by Justin Palardy with 11:35 remaining in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 14-3.
The Als responded with a 35-yard field goal of their own with under five minutes to play in the half on a drive that saw Calvillo knocked out of the game when Bombers defensive tackle Brandon Collier fell on him as he was sliding at midfield. Calvillo appeared to get the wind knocked out of him and went to the Montreal locker room but returned on the next series.
The Bombers got their first touchdown of the game with three minutes remaining in the half as a 46-yard reception by Bombers slotback Terrence Edwards from QB Buck Pierce set up a seven-yard touchdown pass to receiver Chris Matthews two plays later.
On the Bombers' next offensive series, a pass interference call on Montreal DB Wopamo Osaisai moved the ball to the Montreal 27-yard line and set up an 18-yard Justin Palardy field goal with exactly one minute to play to make the score 17-13.
The Als got a huge break in the third quarter when backup Winnipeg safety Brady Browne went offside on a third and six Montreal punt. That gave the Als the ball back and after converting on third and one, they went all the way down the field, capping an eight-play, 77-yard drive with a 20-yard Calvillo TD pass to Laval product Patrick Lavoie for his first professional touchdown.
The Bombers got some of that right back with seven minutes to play as Osaisai took his second pass interference penalty of the game, holding Bombers slotback Clarence Denmark to give Winnipeg a first down at the Montreal five-yard line.
But the Bombers couldn’t convert and Palardy kicked a 10-yard field goal -- his third of the game -- to make the score 24-16 for the Als.
With five minutes to play in the third quarter, Bombers punt returner Demond Washington returned a Sean Whyte punt 82 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-23 for Montreal.
The Als got a 40-yard field goal from Whyte on the final play of the quarter to make the score 27-23 for Montreal heading into the fourth.
The Bombers played the third quarter without DB Alex Suber, who sustained a lower-body injury in the second quarter and didn’t return after halftime.