For much of Monday’s CFL contest between the Ottawa Redblacks and Montreal Alouettes, defense was the name of the game. The Alouettes scored on their opening drive, but everything else until the final minute was field goals (four for Ottawa, two for Montreal) and safeties (two for Ottawa). And that looked to continue when Montreal quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. was hit and knocked out of the game with an arm injury (after previously taking a head shot), which led to him being transported to hospital postgame. But Alouettes’ backup quarterback Matthew Shiltz stepped in beautifully with his team down 16-13 inside the final three minutes.
Shiltz (seen above during training camp) took over with the Alouettes facing 3rd and 1 on their own 45 and 2:22 left, and he put together a masterful drive. First, he picked up a first down on a quarterback sneak, then threw a short pass to RB Cameron Artis-Payne that led to a gain of one. On second and nine, he hit Kaion Julien-Grant for a gain of 16. Artis-Payne then ran for four yards, and Shiltz then found B.J. Cunningham for 19 yards. Shiltz then ran for 17 yards himself, and then handed off for what would prove the winning touchdown from Artis-Payne:
— CFL (@CFL) October 11, 2021
That was a remarkable drive, and it proved to be enough for the win, with Montreal’s defense then shutting down the Redblacks for the 20-16 victory. And it was a great showing from Artis-Payne (a CFL rookie filling in for the injured William Stanback, he had 21 carries for 122 yards and that touchdown on the day) and Shiltz (who finished with three completed passes on three attempts for 36 yards, plus two carries for 18 yards).
Shiltz has been with the Alouettes since 2017 following a college career at the FCS level with Butler, but has usually been a backup. He got the chance to shine here, though. And he may get more chances in the days ahead if Adams is out for any length of time.