OTTAWA — Vernon Adams Jr. has made three straight starts for the Montreal Alouettes at quarterback — and it's clear he's finding his form.
Adams, who continues in relief of starter Antonio Pipkin who was injured in Week 1, threw for a career high 327 yards and two touchdowns as the Montreal Alouettes defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 36-19 on Saturday.
"It's just reps. Practice is different but when you get in those game reps you get more comfortable each and every week," said Adams, who also ran in two TDs.
"I'm just here to do whatever I can to make my team better whether I'm backing-up or starting. I just want to be a team guy and win games."
Adams completed 23-of -30 passes for Montreal (2-2) and improved to 5-2 as a starter.
Dominique Davis was 23-of-37 passing for 268 yards for the Redblacks (2-2) and scored on a four-yard run with less than five minutes to play, but it wasn't enough.
Already up by 10, Adams scored on a 12-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give the Alouettes a 29-12 lead.
After Ottawa turned the ball over on downs on their own one-yard line Montreal got a one-yard touchdown run from Adams for the final score.
"They were the better team and we just come up with key plays when we needed them. I don't question our guys work ethic or desire, but we need to come up with key plays when needed and eliminate the negative plays," said Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell.
"We've got the makings of a good team but it's frustrating when you give up some freebies, but I'll give credit to the other team. I like to think that when we win a game we had a lot to do with it, but I'll give them credit and understand that we need to play better."
The Alouettes scored the game's first nine points, with six of those coming off turnovers, before the Redblacks mounted a comeback late in the first half.
Davis had his first pass of the day picked off by Tommie Campbell, who returned the ball to the Ottawa 16-yard line.
The Alouettes were unable to get a first down, however, but a 16-yard field goal by Boris Bede at 2:40 gave the Als an early 3-0 lead.
Bede booted a second field goal before the end of the first quarter, this time from 26 yards at the end of a 62-yard drive, to put Montreal up 6-0 at 12:21.
In the second, following a 16-yard reception, RJ Harris fumbled right into the hands of Campbell who then rumbled five yards to the Ottawa 43. That led to a 34 yard-yard field goal from Bede and a 9-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Redblacks were finally able to put some offence together later in the half and a 58-yard drive was completed with a 25-yard Lewis Ward field goal with just over three minutes to play in the half.
After a two-and-out by the Alouettes, Davis once again drove the ball down field completing passes of 42 and 18 yards to Harris, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by the quarterback with 49 seconds left in the half.
Following a penalty to the Alouettes, the Redblacks went for a two-point conversion from the Montreal one-yard line, but two offensive penalties on the play pushed the ball back to the Montreal 21-yard line. The Redblacks were forced to attempt another two-point conversion, which was unsuccessful and the teams went into the break tied 9-9.
Ward gave the Redblacks their first lead of the game at 3:35 of the third quarter with a 50-yard field goal, but the next play saw Adams connect with a wide-open Quan Bray for a 75-yard catch and run touchdown, and just 16 seconds after the Redblacks took the lead, the Alouettes jumped back in front 15-12 after a failed conversion attempt.
"That's football. That's the ebbs and flows of the game. We knew we were going to have adversity and we knew how to handle that," Bray said.
"Just take over the game. We had to come and make plays and we did that."
Late in the quarter Jake Wieneke caught a five-yard TD pass from Adams and the conversion gave the Alouettes a 22-12 lead they took into the fourth quarter.