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article imageCFL: Montréal wins but loses QB Calvillo to rib injury Special

By Joseph DeClara     Aug 20, 2010 in Sports
Montreal - The Montréal Alouettes started tonight’s game with a missed field goal but quickly recovered. Up 2-0, Chip Cox recovered a Steven Jyles fumble and ran it 14 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The rout was on.
Anthony Calvillo threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to S.J. Green on the first play of the second quarter, and then just two minutes later, threw a second touchdown pass to Green. Green ended the day with three receptions for 63 yards, second only to Jamel Richardson who finished with seven receptions and 86 yards.
Once again the Montréal defense did their best impression of a brick wall allowing Winnipeg only two first downs in the first quarter and forcing Jyles to fumble twice in the half. Winnipeg fumbled a third time in the half on a bad snap.
Damon Duval punted for his third single of the game midway through the second quarter and it was 24-0, he would finish with four singles. The Alouettes were on their way to one of their easiest wins of the season. But anything can happen in football and the worst happened on this night.
With just over five minutes remaining in the half, and Calvillo back-peddling to escape the Winnipeg rushers, Odell Willis caught up to him and sacked him. Calvillo is a tough guy, ask anyone on the team, but injuries happen to the toughest of men. After being sacked and falling awkwardly on the football with all of Willis’ 255 lbs on top of him, Calvillo stayed on the turf.
Calvillo is sacked and leaves the game with a dislocated rib against the Blue Bombers on August 19th...
Calvillo is sacked and leaves the game with a dislocated rib against the Blue Bombers on August 19th 2010.
Calvillo stayed down for several minutes with his teammates and medical staff around him. Then, as tough guys will tend to do, he got up and tried to walk off the field. He took a courageous few steps but decided it wasn’t in his best interest and dropped back to the turf to wait for a cart. He was later seen leaving the stadium on a stretcher. He was 13 for 21 with 164 passing yards and two touchdown passes.
After the game Marc Trestman explained that Calvillo had suffered a dislocated rib but that there was no structural damage. Thankfully for the Als, Calvillo`s injury came just before the bye week. With some luck, and determination on Calvillo’s part, the Als may not need to play their next game without their future Hall of Fame quarterback.
With Calvillo out of the game the Alouettes looked lost. Chris Leak couldn’t lead the offense anywhere, and the defense gave up a touchdown on a 61-yard, 1:29 minutes drive cutting the 24-0 lead to 24-7 within just a few minutes of the loss of Calvillo.
Winnipeg started the second half with a 47-yard drive that ended in a field goal, cutting the lead further to 24-10. What was once a rout was now an uncomfortable lead.
Leak didn’t play terribly considering that according to Trestman, he hadn’t even taken a practice snap since training camp, three months ago. Leak completed 10 out of 15 passes for 99 yards and ran for another 15 yards.
Chris Leak throws to Jamel Richardson against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on August 19th 2010
Chris Leak throws to Jamel Richardson against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on August 19th 2010
“You never know when you're going to be called on, but it came in the second quarter. We are very concerned about (Calvillo)” said Leak “He's the trigger of this team and we're praying for him.”
A 25-yard Brian Bratton run, a 16-yard pass to Green, and then a 14-yard Leak run gave Montréal a first down on the Winnipeg 17-yard line in the third. Montréal looked to be recovering from the loss of Calvillo until on the very next play Leak threw an interception to Jovon Johnson.
Montréal got the ball back without giving up any points, but Leak was unable to move the ball down field. The subsequent Duval punt was returned 74 yards by Johnson for a touchdown, and suddenly the Bombers were within one touchdown.
As has been the case in many games this season, the fourth quarter proved to be the Alouettes best. Brandon Whitaker, filling in for the injured Avon Cobourne for the game, scored two fourth quarter touchdowns. The first was an impressive 19-yard dash and the second was an only slightly less impressive 10-yard run. Whitaker finished with 74 yards on 11 carries.
Cox was named as the player of the game with a touchdown, nine tackles, a sack, a deflection, and the fumble recovery.
The loss of Calvillo no doubt made a significant impact on the team. They allowed a weaker Winnipeg team to turn what looked like a blowout into a close game, but by the end of it the Alouettes still managed to come away with a 39-17 victory. Seasons do not just exist to determine who will have home field advantage in the playoffs. They also build team character and solidarity, this game may have gone a long way to building the character Montréal needs to repeat as Grey Cup champions.
Montréal will host the B.C. Lions in two weeks time. Until then all eyes will be on the health of Calvillo.
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