They believed until the very end. This time, however, there has been no miraculous recovery. Vanquished 37-29 by the Edmonton Eskimos and a brilliant performance by Trevor Harris, the Alouettes saw their beautiful and inspiring season come to an abrupt end on Sunday afternoon.
Signed that the Alouettes' 2019 edition was tightly woven, the vast majority of players had red eyes in the small locker room at Percival Molson Stadium. The shock of defeat was great as the players circled and hugged each other.
"All season, when we were in positions like this, we managed to get back into the game and win it. But there was not enough magic in the end today unfortunately, "said center Kristian Matte. "I'm still a little shocked, because in my head, I still believe it. But I know it's over. "
Talking with the journalists gathered around him, the leader of the Alouettes' offensive line had to stop a few times to keep back tears. Several of his teammates lived their disappointment in silence, unable to say a word.
Like his players, Khari Jones was emotional in the minutes following the game.
"This team fought to the end and never gave up, and that's what makes me most proud. I think that several teams would have launched the towel, but I did not have to worry about that with this team. "
"We were used to finding ourselves in this position so we felt comfortable. We managed to win enough games to win similar games during the season, but that was obviously not the case today. "
The Alouettes pulled out early in the game and lost by a dozen points, 31-19, in the third quarter. Despite a commendable effort, the order was too big.
From the great Harris
The story of the match was very simple: the Alouettes' defense has never been able to get to Trevor Harris and bother him. E if he is not disturbed behind his protective pocket, Harris is a smuggler extremely difficult to stop.
The quarter Eskimos has managed his first 22 passes of the match! He completed 92% of his shots (36 in 39) for 421 total yards.
"It's not the first time I've seen Trevor play this way. We can not help but lift our hats, "said Jones.
"They had a very good game plan. We tried to be in his face quickly, but he did a very good job of reading our defense. They always had three or four receivers five yards from him and he always made the right decision, "said linebacker Henoc Muamba.
"Our defense has dropped the team, especially in the first half. We were not in good positions on the field, we missed tackles and we did not respect our assignments, "said John Bowman.
We already knew that the Alouettes' defensive line was not the most talented in the art of squeezing the quarterback. But, curiously, Bob Slowik did not help him and used the blitz very little, especially in the first half.
Jones did not want to blame his defensive coordinator. "We tried different things, but nothing worked. "
Overall, Slowik had a good first season in the CFL. But by the time the Alouettes needed the most original and inspired game plan, the coordinator failed.
Hard for Adams son
Thanks to the brilliance of Harris, the Eskimos had the ball for more than 36 minutes, while the Alouettes had it for less than 24. The attack was very difficult to find his rhythm.
Vernon Adams Jr. had a tough game (14-27 for 226 yards) and had three interceptions, including two in the final minutes of the game. It was Josh Johnson who managed all three.
The second was particularly painful. The Alouettes had scored a touchdown to narrow the Eskimos' lead to 34-29 minutes earlier and looked on the heels of a similar comeback as they did against Winnipeg and Calgary this season.
"I did a bad game play and I did not see the defensive back (Johnson) who was waiting in the area," said Adams son.
"It's very difficult to accept because we really thought we would play for a few more weeks," said the quarterback. "I will continue to work, we will all continue to work. "
"It does not detract from Vernon's season. He is at the beginning of his career and I am very proud of him and the work he has done. He had to carry this team on his shoulders several times this season, "said Jones.
Advocacy for Jones
It will now be interesting to see if the Alouettes succeed in reaching an agreement with Jones in the near future. His agreement with the team will end soon.
Certainly, this is what all players from first to last want.
"Khari is the man of the situation. He has done great work this season and I think it's important that he's back. We want to stay here for a few seasons and get things done, he and I, "said Adams son.
"He's a special coach. There is no doubt that I want him back next year, "said Matte, who gave much credit to Jones for the team's great season.
"Khari's message at the beginning of the year was to have fun playing and we all took it to heart. We had fun this season. I love football, but it's been a few years since it was a bit difficult to get back to work. Things have changed completely this year. When we love the guys we play with and our coach, it makes a big difference. "