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2023 Grey Cup review: Montreal Alouettes end wait for title glory

The 110th Grey Cup is complete, and the Montreal Alouettes are the 2023 CFL champions.

It was an action-packed season, and the Alouettes, who were deemed as underdogs for most of the playoffs, are taking home the Grey Cup. 

They took down the West Division’s best team in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and we will be discussing what was a great game in full detail, as well as what the results mean for each team.

The 110th Grey Cup game

The fun took no time in getting started in this game. 

In the first quarter, the Blue Bombers started with a field goal, and added a touchdown from running back Brady Oliveira a little later on. The Alouettes scored a touchdown of their own in the quarter from a William Stanback rush, cutting Winnipeg's early lead to three points.

In the second quarter, the Blue Bombers added a second touchdown after a costly punt-return turnover by Montreal, resulting in a 17-7 lead. It would remain that score heading into the half where Green Day performed the Grey Cup Halftime Show.

It seemed unlikely Montreal could overcome and surpass a 10-point deficit against such a well-rounded team like Winnipeg, but they did just that. 

They were the only ones to score in the third quarter, off a very early receiving touchdown from Cole Spieker, narrowing the game to 17-14 in favour of Winnipeg.

The fourth quarter was by far the most exciting. 

Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo rushed in for a touchdown early into the quarter, giving Montreal their first lead in the game. However, the Blue Bombers answered six minutes later, regaining the lead at 24-21. 

Then, with 11 seconds left in the game, Fajardo threw a dime to receiver Tyson Philpot, giving the Alouettes a four-point lead. In the dying seconds of the game, Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros and the Blue Bombers were not able to make a miraculous play.

As a result, the Alouettes officially became the 2023 Grey Cup champions, winning their first Grey Cup win in 13 years.

Blue Bombers fall short yet again

Winnipeg has established themselves as a perennial threat, reaching the Grey Cup each of the past four seasons. They have two wins in those four recent appearances, but they have now lost two straight.

Their championship window may be closing. This is a point that Zach Collaros softly referred to in his post-game press conference, as he mentioned there are guys who won’t have this chance again.

When looking at the bigger picture, Winnipeg now has just two Grey Cups since 1991, with nine Grey Cup appearances in those 32 years. They now have losses in 2023, 2022, 2011, 2007, 2001, 1993 and 1992.

They have far more Grey Cup success than many CFL teams overall, but the fact remains that this has been an opportunity they would have loved to take more advantage of.

A storybook season for the Alouettes

Montreal got on a hot streak to finish the regular season, and they carried it all the way to a Grey Cup victory. 

As of the morning of September 23rd, 2023, these Alouettes sported a 6-7 record. A regular season road win that night against the Calgary Stampeders kicked off a five-game winning streak to close out the regular season with an 11-7 record.

They entered the playoffs and took down the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the East Division Semi Final. Their next game was the East Division Final against the Toronto Argonauts, who finished with a 16-2 record which was best in the CFL. 

As major underdogs, the Alouettes took care of business in convincing fashion by a score of 38-17. This is when people knew Montreal could be a threat, but even after that major win, they were pegged as significant underdogs in this Grey Cup.

They rode the wave with excellent defense and maxed out confidence, and were able to win this game without leading until the fourth quarter. They were resilient and embraced the role of the underdog in this championship effort.

It was a dramatic and exciting season in the 2023 CFL campaign, and the Grey Cup helped capture that intensity.

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