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Alouettes hand sloppy Blue Bombers 27-12 loss to open CFL campaign

Montreal Alouettes' Joshua Donovan (65), quarterback Cody Fajardo (second right) and Philippe Gagnon (53) look on as Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Brian Cole (41) intercepts the pass during first half CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, June 6, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods Montreal Alouettes' Joshua Donovan (65), quarterback Cody Fajardo (second right) and Philippe Gagnon (53) look on as Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Brian Cole (41) intercepts the pass during first half CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, June 6, 2024.THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
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Tyson Philpot caught a pair of touchdown passes and the Montreal Alouettes continued their success against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a 27-12 victory in the season opener on Thursday.

The Grey Cup rematch comes after the Alouettes upset the Blue Bombers 28-24 in last year's championship game with Philpot's winning TD grab in the dying seconds.

On Thursday, Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo threw touchdown passes of 14 and 76 yards to Philpot. Backup quarterback Caleb Evans ran in a TD in front of 30,140 fans at Princess Auto Stadium.

Fajardo completed 20 of 28 pass attempts for 254 yards and one interception.

Winnipeg struggled in all three phases of the game.

Quarterback Zach Collaros threw an interception, receiver Nic Demski had a fumble, rookie kick returner Myron Mitchell coughed up the ball on a punt and Sergio Castillo missed two field-goal attempts.

Collaros connected on 20 of 33 passing attempts for 209 yards with one pick.

 Montreal kicker David Cote was good on field goals from 19 and 22 yards and made two of three converts. Joseph Zema added a punt single.

Running back Johnny Augustine scored Winnipeg's lone TD on a one-yard run with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter.

Castillo booted a 17-yard field goal for Winnipeg, but missed attempts from 38 and 40 yards, and went wide on a convert.

Montreal led 7-3 after the first quarter, 14-5 at halftime and 18-5 heading into the fourth.

Turnovers gave each team their first points of the game.

Fajardo was intercepted by Bombers linebacker Brian Cole, leading to Castillo's 17-yard field goal 8:35 into the game.

Montreal punted on the following drive, but Mitchell fumbled and Alouettes defensive back Bryce Cosby recovered the ball at Winnipeg's 14-yard line.

Fajardo used the gift to toss a pass to Philpot, who slipped by two Winnipeg defenders and ran into the end zone at 10:48.

The Alouettes took at 14-3 lead six minutes into the second quarter with Evans' one-yard TD plunge.

The Bombers turned the ball over again, but this time a Collaros pass picked off in the end zone by safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy ended with a Montreal punt.

Winnipeg's offence finally started marching toward the end zone late in the half, but two attempts to score failed.

Bombers receiver Dalton Schoen was about to snare a pass in the end zone, but defensive back Dionte Ruffin got his hand on the ball.

Castillo's 38-yard field-goal attempt then went wide left.

Winnipeg netted a safety after James Letcher Jr. ran the ball out over the goal line but then turned around and went back into the end zone.

Winnipeg's woes continued with its first drive of the third quarter.

A pass-and-run play by Demski ended with him fumbling and Ruffin recovered the ball at Montreal's 46-yard line.

The turnover ended with Cote's 19-yard field to make it 17-5 at 4:49, and Zema added a single four minutes later.

After a single from Castillo's missed 40-yarder, Cote booted a 22-yard field goal.

Fajardo then aired out the ball to Philpot, whose catch-and-run covered 76 yards. Cote missed the point after to make it 27-6.

BITTEN BY INJURIES

Bombers receiver Kenny Lawler left the game midway through the second quarter with what appeared to be a hand or arm injury after making a catch. He didn't return.

Alouettes linebacker Reggie Stubblefield left the field on a cart with 35 seconds left in the third quarter after injuring his right leg.

UP NEXT

Bombers: Travel to Ottawa to play the Redblacks on June 13.

Alouettes: Play the Elks in Edmonton on June 14.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2024.

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