MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2014 following a 21-17 victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.
Vernon Adams Jr. returned from a one-game suspension and went 18 for 29 passing for 206 yards and a rushing touchdown for the Alouettes (8-6). Mario Alford returned a punt for a TD in his Als debut.
Bo Levi Mitchell completed 31-of-43 passes for 464 yards, a touchdown and an interception as the Stampeders (9-5) saw their winning streak snapped at four games.
Down 21-17 late in the fourth, Mitchell attempted to orchestrate a game-winning drive that ended when Alouettes linebacker Boseko Lokombo batted a pass on third down with 49 seconds to play, sending the 18,454 fans at Percival Molson Stadium into a frenzy.
Montreal is guaranteed to finish no lower than second place in the East Division.
Mitchell had little to show for his 464 passing yards as five Calgary drives were cut short due to turnovers — three fumbles, an interception and a turnover on downs. Montreal only managed to score three points off turnovers.
The Alouettes took a 7-0 lead with a touchdown on their opening drive. Calgary penalties for accidental pass interference and offside kept the drive alive before Adams punched the ball in from the one — his 12th rushing TD of the season.
Calgary answered right back with an 81-yard drive. Mitchell found Eric Rogers for three big pass plays to move down the field before Don Jackson scored on a five-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 12:41 of the first quarter.
The defending Grey Cup champions took a 10-7 lead on a 12-yard field goal from Rene Paredes, who missed a 40-yard kick a few minutes later.
Mitchell made quick work of Montreal’s defence late in the second quarter. The Calgary QB found Hergy Mayala for 27 yards before spotting Josh Huff in the end zone 28 yards from scrimmage for the 10-point lead.
A Boris Bede field goal made it 17-10 at halftime following Ryan Brown’s interception.
After a Calgary two-and-out to start the third quarter, Alford returned the punt 85 yards for the score to tie the game at 17-17.
Bede scored a single late in the third quarter as the home team took an 18-17 lead into the fourth. Bede added a 25-yard field goal with 2:14 left in the game.
The Alouettes lost two players to injury in the first half.
Linebacker Tevin Floyd left the game with a lower-body injury in the first quarter and did not return. Starting left tackle Tony Washington needed to be carted off the field when Adams fell on his right leg in the second quarter.
Notes: The Stampeders dropped to 1-5 at Percival Molson Stadium since 2013.