Cody Fajardo and the Montreal Alouettes are unlikely Grey Cup champions.
Fajardo's 19-yard touchdown pass to Canadian Tyson Philpot rallied Montreal to a thrilling 28-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday in Hamilton.
It earned the Alouettes their first CFL title since 2010 and came after an uncertain off-season that saw the franchise taken over by the league in February before it was sold the following month to businessman Pierre Karl Peladeau.
Fajardo's toss capped a stellar seven-play, 83-yard march. It included a clutch 31-yard completion to Cole Spieker on third-and-five before a Tim Hortons Field sellout of 28,808 as Montreal ended 2023 with eight straight victories.
Winnipeg had one last possession to try the game-tying field goal. Zach Collaros completed a pass to punter Jamieson Sheahan, who then tried to boot the ball into the endzone but it was short and Montreal recovered to end the game.
The Blue Bombers, in the Grey Cup for a fourth straight year, suffered a second consecutive loss after beating Hamilton in 2019 and '21. The Toronto Argonauts edged Winnipeg 24-23 last year.
Fajardo finished 21-of-26 passing for 290 yards with three TDs and an interception to secure his first Grey Cup title as a starter. He earned a ring with Toronto in 2017 as a backup.