Als head coach Maas on victory over Stampeders: 'I thought that was the best we've played'
The Montreal Alouettes corrected course in a big way on Saturday: breaking a four-game losing streak with a 28-11 victory over the Calgary Stampeders.
Though it was far from their biggest margin of victory on the season, Alouettes head coach Jason Maas was impressed with the performance.
"I was very proud of the guys, I thought that was the best we've played," Maas told TSN690 on Wednesday morning. "I felt like we played a really solid football game in all phases and when we do that, it doesn't matter who we're playing."
The win got the Alouettes back to even on the season, improving their record to 7-7 and giving Montreal firm control of the second seed in the East Division.
"When you don't [win] for four weeks in football, it weighs on you mentally and physically ... it sure feels good to win after you go through something like that," said Maas.
A major revelation for the Alouettes offence has been the emergence of wide receiver Tyson Philpot.
Philpot, 23, struggled early in the season, his second year with the Alouettes. After catching 19 passes for 155 yards through his first seven games of the year, Philpot has come alive for 13 catches, 192 yards and a touchdown in the past two contests.
"Philpot's been making the most of his opportunities," Maas said. "This is the Tyson that I remember watching film of all off-season. The last two weeks, he's been spectacular for us."
Quarterback Cody Fajardo has also elevated his play over the past two games, completing over 75 per cent of his passes (up from his 69 per-cent mark for the entire season).
"It's nice to have the weapons around on the offensive side when you want to throw the ball," Maas said of his pivot. "The offence is meant to have the weapons around to where the quarterback can look at the defence, decipher where he's going to throw, have the time to do that, step up in the pocket, accurately throw the ball ... it's going to put [the ball] in someone's hands and they're going to do something with it."
On the defensive side of the ball, Maas has been impressed with the play of Marc-Antoine Deqouy. Deqouy finished Saturday's game with six tackles, one forced fumble and a crucial interception in the red zone that was a turning point in favour of the Als.
"He practices hard, he comes to compete every single day, he's a joy to have in the locker room, he's a leader, he's got a big voice, I think you can see he's the evolution of a player with confidence," Maas said of the 29-year-old defensive back.
Saturday's win was the first game Maas felt confident with the performance of his team in all three phases of the game, and he hopes that this performance can be replicated down the stretch.
"Deqouy forces the big turnover after our offence's lone turnover and we go down and score a touchdown - that's complimentary football," he said. "That's not something we've been doing consistently, so if that can be more of our norm, then we'll be pretty tough to beat down the stretch."
The Alouettes travel to Ottawa to take on the Redblacks in the first game of a home-and-home on Saturday. With just four games left on the schedule, Montreal leads the Hamilton Tiger-Cats by one game in the East Division.