Anthony Calvillo stayed out of the bright sunlight at halftime in Regina knowing his day was done, wondering if he'd be well enough post-concussion to be able to even return the sideline for the 2nd Half.
He may be wishing he'd gone back into the dark with 1:45 remaining.
After Jerald Brown's long fumble return TD gave Montreal a stunner 21-14 lead over the Riders despite the loss of Calvillo and Brandon London to concussions, Josh Bourke and Ky Hebert to knee injuries, as well as long-snapper Martin Bedard dinged up as well, Rider fans quit on their team.
But Saskatchewan was not dead yet. Or more accurately the Als found several ways to bring them back to life.
Calvillo's headaches persisted after the game, but it is encouraging that he did not have to stay out of direct sunlight in the 2nd half. London's concussion does appear to be more serious than AC's.
Can anything else go wrong for the Alouettes?
The Als failed to move the ball in the final minutes, a bust in coverage led to a Saskatchewan touchdown, a short Sean Whyte punt led to a long return for Weston Dressler, and Montreal-native Christopher Milo cooly kicked the game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock.
There was a flag on the play---the only thing missing was a 13th man penalty against the Riders---but it was the Als guilty of the infraction and for all their fight they fall to 2-5 for the first time since the 1996 rebirth of the franchise.
Anthony Calvillo and SJ Green failed to connect for a touchdown pass with Green as wide open as any Als' receiver has been this season and Montreal had to settle for a FG and an early 3-0 lead.
"I didn't know he was that open," Calvillo told me after the game. "I thought I had to fire it in there."
Calvillo's day ended when hit by Ricky Foley on his left side early in the 2nd quarter. The future Hall of Famer's helmet smacked to the turf. The headache was at the front, not the back of his head.
AC started the game 4/8 for 85 yards but no TDs. Josh Neiswander came in and struggled to get completions, also throwing his first CFL interception i the 2nd half.
Things did not go the Alouettes' way on defense in the 1st quarter either. Only moments after a long Jerald Brown fumble return was denied after video replay review, Darian Durant threw an ugly duckling of a pass for a touchdown, his 16th of the season without so much as a single pick, and a 7-3 Rider lead.
Brown would bobble, then scoop up a loose ball late in the 4th quarter and dash down the Riders' sideline to apparent victory, Als players hoisting up Jim Popp in celebration.
"It's not about me, the guys in the room fought so hard," Popp said after the game. "We gotta find a way to win these games."
"It's not for me it's for us."
"We got a tremendous locker-room, they're great people and they believe in each other and they should. Eventually this thing will turn around for us and when it does we may take off."
"I'm proud of them," Popp said. "There's no moral victory...we're just as good as any team in this league. Our record doesn't show for it and if we can get going we're going to be a hard team to beat."
The Alouette GM and interim head coach appeared to have his first victory of the 2013 season just 2 days after Marc Trestman's first NFL pre-season win.
It would have been fitting: Popp started his CFL career in Regina as an assistant coach in the early '90's and was then getting scouting reports from a US college coach named Dan Hawkins.
Josh Neiswander had to be thrust into duty for Calvillo. The 3rd year Alouette had never even thrown a CFL pass in regular season.
The Alouettes made Ben Wells, ex-NFLer Scott Paxson, Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and Canadian d-lineman Bo Adebayo their healthy scratches from the 46-man roster. Like them, Anwar Stewart did not make the roadtrip to Regina---he's officially on the Als' practise roster.
The Als facing a short prep-week with little time for their injured and ailing to heal up against another tough opponent Thursday versus the BC Lions at Molson Stadium (Countdown to Opening Kickoff 7PM on CJAD 800).