MONTREAL - When things were falling apart for the B.C. Lions in the CFL East Division semifinal, defensive back Jerald Brown made some Montreal Alouettes team history.
Just after the Lions had something positive happen, a Tim Brown kickoff return to the Montreal 12-yard line, Brown scooped up a fumble and ran a team-record 103 yards for a touchdown to put the Alouettes at the half-century mark in what would be a 50-17 victory.
That, and the stellar play of a Montreal defence that held B.C. to 102 passing yards, earned Brown CFL defensive player of the week honours on Tuesday.
He'll try to keep up the strong defensive play when the Alouettes face the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton in the East final on Sunday.
"That's cool, but it's about our team," said Brown. "I accept it and I appreciate it, but it's just another week for me.
"We've got to go out and win. That's all we're focused on. It's not about individuality. We've got to get it done as a team."
The Alouettes are looking to stay on the roll that saw them rebound from a 1-7 start to the season to finish 9-9, good for second place in the East. Then they beat the 9-9 Lions to get a shot at still another 9-9 club in Hamilton.
The Alouettes and Ticats met in the regular season finale for both clubs on Nov. 8, with Hamilton getting the 29-15 win and first place based on points differential between the teams this season.
Now they are set to meet again, with rainy but relatively warm 8 C weather in the forecast. The Alouettes have not won an away game against Hamilton in four years.
In their last meeting, played in wind, snow and cold, the Ticats dominated while ending the fumble-prone Alouettes's six-game winning streak. It left the Ticats unbeaten in six games at the new Tim Hortons Field.
"This is a new ballgame," said Brown. "You win and you move on and you lose you go home. Anything prior to this game is irrelevant."
The Alouettes will be boosted by their best offensive display of the season against B.C. They scored six offensive touchdowns, including a pair of TD passes by Jonathan Crompton, the awkward but effective pivot who took over as a starter just when the team turned its season around.
Brown said it was a matter of time before the Alouettes put together a top effort from the offence, defence and special teams at once.
"I've been saying all year that once we get going on all phases, it's going to be a problem (for opponents)," said Brown. "It's nothing we're overly excited about because we have another game to play this week.
"We knew what we were capable of and we went out and did it. If you look at our roster, we have all the pieces in place."
Coach Tom Higgins said having played a game in Hamilton's windy new park will help on their visit.
"We learned a lot about how to handle the wind and I think we're looking forward to getting back there," he said. "My biggest challenge is make sure the guys aren't too excited.
"A lot of lessons were learned and it's still fresh in their minds why we didn't win that game."
A question about the importance of the coin toss had Higgins smiling. Winning it could be key because it would determine who plays with the wind at their backs in the fourth quarter.
As the visitor, "we get to call heads or tails," he said. "We will call tails.
"That's what we've called all year. We made that determination before the start of the season and we've won more often than not. I know we're above 50 (per cent) mark with tails."
Higgins will have a decision to make at running back. It appears that Tyrell Sutton, who missed the semifinal with an ankle injury, will be back when practices resume on Wednesday. Brandon Rutley ran for 95 yards on 15 carries in his absence.
"We came through the game relatively healthy," said Higgins. "I think everyone who played in the game will be able to practice."
Defensive end John Bowman left the game with a rib problem, but Higgins said "he'll still be sore, but I don't imagine he'll miss one snap of practice."
Centre Luc Brodeur-Jourdain was wearing a sheepish expression and a University of Montreal Carabins T-shirt. The Laval U grad lost a bet when the Carabins beat the Rouge et Or in the Quebec Conference championship on Saturday.