MONTREAL — Diontae Spencer returned a missed field goal for a touchdown as the visiting Ottawa Redblacks defeated the Montreal Alouettes 29-11 on Sunday to take top spot in the CFL's East Division.
Quarterback Drew Tate found Patrick Lavoie for a touchdown and kicker Brett Maher added three field goals as the Redblacks (5-7-1) leapfrogged the Toronto Argonauts in the East. Toronto has one game in hand.
Ottawa has won four of its last five games.
A mid-season coaching change did nothing to boost Montreal's struggling offence. The Alouettes (3-9) extended their losing skid to five games in general manager Kavis Reed's first game on the sidelines.
Reed took over as head coach on Wednesday after firing Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe.
Redblacks veteran QB Tate got the start, his first of the season, in relief of Trevor Harris, who separated his right shoulder last week.
Tate went 21 of 29 for 185 passing yards, including one touchdown and an interception, before leaving the game with an injury in the third quarter. His replacement Ryan Lindley went 7 for 14 for 76 passing yards.
Darian Durant started the game at quarterback for Montreal but was replaced in the second quarter by Drew Willy after failing to complete a pass in six tries.
Willy went 12 of 17 for 83 passing yards in relief.
It was more of the same for the third-place Alouettes, which have lost their last five games by a combined score of 174-70.
With fans still filing into their seats at Montreal's Percival Molson Stadium, Ottawa marched down the field on its opening drive. Tate completed eight passes to five different receivers, capped off by a 16-yard toss to Lavoie. A two-point conversion to Jake Harty gave the Redblacks an 8-0 lead.
The teams exchanged field goals as Ottawa went up 11-3 midway through the second quarter.
Spencer put the game out of reach with a 113-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown at 12:08 of the second quarter. Another two-point conversion put the visitors ahead 19-3.
Montreal showed signs of life when Tyrell Sutton's 43-yard rush led to a QB sneak by Willy for the touchdown. Willy then found Tiquan Underwood for the two-point convert to make it 25-11.
Maher added his third field goal of the game at 6:43 of the fourth quarter.
Notes: The Als had just 19 minutes of possession. … Attendance was 22,596. … Ottawa beat the Alouettes 32-4 two weeks ago. … Montreal added Kit Lathrop (defensive line coach) and Ken Miller (offensive consultant) to its coaching staff on Sunday.