CFL enthusiasts, rejoice! The much anticipated 110th Grey Cup unfolded in the city of Hamilton this year, showcasing an epic clash between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Montreal Alouettes.
Despite entering the Grey Cup on a seven-game winning streak, the Alouettes were considered underdogs, with seven out of eight panellists favouring Winnipeg. The game kicked off with the Alouettes winning the toss and deferring to the second half, giving the Blue Bombers the first offensive opportunity.
The Alouette defence, though bending, did not break, and Winnipeg’s first drive resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Sergio Castillo. The Blue Bomber Defense, in turn, forced a quick 2-and-out on the Alouettes’ first offensive drive.
After a 29-yard punt by Joseph Zema, the Blue Bombers, led by Zach Collaros and Brady Oliveira, swiftly advanced into the Red Zone. The Alouette defence was able to force a 2nd and 13 situation when the officials called a controversial Unnecessary Roughness penalty on Montreal Tackle Mustafa Johnson for a hit to the head on the Bomber’s Pivot. The replay clearly showed Johnson’s arm wrapping around Collaros’ shoulder. Brady Oliveira managed to score the championship game’s first touchdown from the 5-yard line. Sergio Castillo’s successful extra point extended the lead to 10-0.
The game’s momentum shifted as the Alouettes secured their first, first down after over 10 minutes of play. Back-to-back plays from Austin Mack and William Stanback led to a Montreal touchdown, closing the gap to 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw both teams struggling to gain ground until a punt out-of-bounds penalty gave the Blue Bombers an excellent field position. Zach Collaros connected with Kenny Lawler for a 42-yard pass, but a fumble by Brady Oliveira halted their progress. The Alouettes, however, failed to capitalize on the opportunity and had to punt the ball back to the Bombers a few plays later.
The Alouettes were able to force yet another 2-and-out. James Fletcher Jr. fielded the resulting punt; however, he was stripped by an aggressive Bombers coverage unit. Long Snapper Mike Benson was able to land on the loose ball and regain possession for Winnipeg. Montreal HC Jason Maas challenged the play for a No-Yards penalty, arguing that a Blue Bomber defender was within the 5-yard halo anointed to returners, but the ruling on the field stood as called. Dakota Prukop would eventually sneak in a Touchdown extending the Bomber lead 17-7 with 2 minutes left in the half.
Cody Fajardo and the Alouettes drove 59 yards downfield but were unable to breach the endzone, ending the first half with the Blue Bombers leading 17-7.
Green Day performed the 110th Half Time Show, showcasing their New Single “The American Dream Is Killing Me” as well as classics such as “Basket Case”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and “Holiday”.
In the second half, the Alouettes staged a comeback, closing the gap with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Cole Speaker. The score sat at 17-14 when Winnipeg got the ball back. Collaros and Oliveira were able to get the team into the redzone when Kenny Lawler looked to break open on a corner route in the back of the endzone. Kabion Ento read the play perfectly and immediately ran to intercept the ball! The Alouettes were, unfortunately, unable to score on this possession but were able to pin the Winnipeg offence deep in their half of the field.
After a seesaw battle in the Third Quarter where the teams exchanged touchdowns, the score sat at 24-21. The Montreal defense forced a punt, and their offense took to the field with 2 minutes left in the game.
The Scene was set for a Montreal comeback. Cody Fajardo put the team on his back and engineered a 7-play, 83-yard drive to bring the Alouettes into the Redzone. Wide receiver Tyson Philpot got open in the middle of the endzone and a bullet from Fajardo sealed the deal!
In a thrilling finale, the Montreal Alouettes clinched the 110th Grey Cup, ending a decade-long championship drought. Cody Fajardo’s leadership and a resilient Montreal defence led to a 28-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, making this CFL showdown a memorable moment in Canadian football history.
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