Friday, June 22, 2018

BOMBERS DOMINATE ALL PHASES, CRUSH ALOUETTES 56-10

Any questions surrounding rookie quarterback Chris Streveler‘s ability to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were answered on Friday night, as the 23-year-old pivot threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a dominant 56-10 win over the Montreal Alouettes.
Streveler’s gaudy half-time numbers told one part of Friday’s contest: 18 completions on 22 attempts, 196 pass yards, two touchdowns. With 55 rush yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The other story of Friday’s one-sided game at Percival Molson Stadium?
Tristan Okpalaugo with two of Winnipeg’s three first-half sacks, as part of a larger effort by the Bomber defence to limit Montreal to just 95 yards of offence in the first half.
In other words: At 34-7 after 30 minutes of football, the front end of Friday Night Football’s doubleheader was decided.
The Bombers opened the scoring on the first drive of the evening, as a Streveler-led drive set up a 13-yard Justin Medlock chip-shot field goal.
Okpalaugo and the Winnipeg defence then set the tone on Montreal’s first offensive snap of the ballgame, as the 28-year-old brought down Als quarterback Drew Willy for a loss of eight yards.
Paul LaPolice’s Bomber offence then mixed it up on its next possession, with Streveler lateraling across to Darvin Adams to set up a flea-flicker pass to Andrew Harris in the end zone. Medlock’s convert gave Winnipeg a 10-0 lead.
The Bomber defence then got to Willy again, as Drake Nevis levelled the Montreal pivot with a crunching sack.
Montreal showed some life early in the second quarter, as a powerful 44-yard Tyrell Sutton run set up a Willy-to-B.J. Cunningham touchdown connection. Boris Bede‘s convert cut the hosts’ deficit to just three points.
Winnipeg’s offence roared in response, with a number of Streveler completions setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nic Demski; Medlock’s convert gave the Bombers a 17-7 lead.
Things began to unravel for the Alouettes later in the second quarter; the strong field position earned by a Stefan Logan kick return was negated by a monster sack from Okpalaugo — his second of the night — on Willy.
After that two-and-out, Streveler marched the Bombers back inside the red zone and proceeded to find his former college roommate Drew Wolitarsky in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. Medlock’s convert extended the Bombers’ lead to 17 points.
The second quarter went from bad to worse for the Alouettes on the ensuing drive.
A Willy pass was intercepted by Okpalaugo, only to be brought back on an offside penalty against the latter; Winnipeg defensive back Anthony Gaitor then sacked Willy heavily on the next play for a loss of 12 yards; Boris Bede’s subsequent third-down punt was blocked by Rashaun Simonise and recovered by the Bombers inside Montreal’s 5-yard line.
Two plays later, Streveler punched it in from the goal line himself; the following Medlock convert and a final-play field goal from 40 yards out sent Winnipeg to the locker room with a 34-7 lead.
Medlock and Bede traded third-quarter field goals, and a further Medlock boot from 33 yards out pushed the lead to 40-10.
Two second-half hits from the Alouettes — Jermaine Robinson‘s low tackle on Harris, and then Henoc Muamba with a high tackle on Streveler — resulted in tempers flaring, and when Streveler found Wolitarsky in the fourth quarter for the duo’s second touchdown of the night, emotions ran high. Medlock’s convert made it a 47-10 ballgame.
Montreal’s offence continued to struggle, and Bede conceded a safety.
Winnipeg, meanwhile, continued to show off its quarterback depth; Bryan Bennett relieved Streveler — who started in place of injured regular Matt Nichols — in fashion with three completions for 71 yards and an electrifying 31-yard run.
Bennett’s debut drive culminated in Kienan LaFrance’s first rush touchdown as a Bomber; Medlock’s convert rounded out the scoring on the night and brought the score to 56-10.
Chris Streveler’s final line read 22 of 28 passes completed for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
Montreal linebacker Henoc Muamba registered a game-high 11 tackles in the defeat; nine different players hauled in a catch for Winnipeg.
With the win, the Bombers improved to 1-1 on the young season and now face a Week-3 trip to Tim Horton’s Field to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday Night Football (7 p.m. ET).
The loss dropped the Alouettes to 0-2 on the campaign; Mike Sherman’s team will head west in Week 3 for a date with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday evening (9 p.m. ET).

REDBLACKS DOWN RIDERS, 40-17, ON THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

The Ottawa REDBLACKS shone on both sides of the football en route to a 40-17 win over the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday Night Football at TD Place.
Trevor Harris threw for 345 yards and a pair of touchdowns, William Powell found the end zone twice and Diontae Spencer showcased his dynamic ability in the win for Rick Campbell’s team, which was bolstered by a monstrous performance by its defence at-large.
On the flip side, the Riders lost starting quarterback Zach Collaros in the second quarter and managed just 345 yards of offence — 41 of which came in garbage time — on the night. Four turnovers proved costly for Saskatchewan, which never seemed to find its groove on either side of the football.
The REDBLACKS opened the scoring on the first drive of the night, when a handful of pretty Trevor Harris completions and an offside penalty set up a 26-yard field goal for Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward.
Zach Collaros and the Riders offence struggled on their first two possessions, with a pair of two-and-outs highlighted by a monster sack by Ottawa’s Michael Wakefield.
A second field goal from Ward — another chip shot from 23 yards out — then doubled the REDBLACKS lead.
The visitors woke up offensively late in the first quarter, as Collaros capped a five-play, 62-yard drive with a pinpoint 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Williams-Lambert — the latter’s first in the CFL. Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther drilled the convert, and the Riders led 7-6 after the opening 15 minutes.
The lead was short-lived, as Collaros’s first pass of the second quarter was picked off and returned for a touchdown by Ottawa’s Jonathan Rose; the pass was intended for Shaq Evans, but Rose jumped the route and returned it 55 yards to the house. Harris then found Greg Ellingson in the corner of the end zone for the two-point convert, giving the REDBLACKS a 14-7 lead.
Collaros responded with a 46-yard bomb to Caleb Holley, taking the Riders into the red zone. Two plays later, however, Ottawa forced an end zone interception as Corey Tindal deflected an end zone pass into the hands of teammate Loucheiz Purifoy.
Two plays later, however, Harris threw a pick-six of his own; enigmatic two-way Rider Duron Carter — exclusively playing defensive back on Thursday night — stepped up, snatched Harris’s pass and returned it 28 yards for a major before his trademark celebration in the end zone. Lauther hit the extra point to tie the game at 14.
The ridiculous back-and-forth play continued on the next drive, as the REDBLACKS marched down the field to set up a dashing 15-yard touchdown run by William Powell. Harris then found Ellingson for yet another two-point convert, and the hosts took a 22-14 lead.
Ward’s third field goal of the evening with 1:28 remaining in the first half sent Ottawa to the locker room with an 11-point lead, and it could have been more as the University of Ottawa product sent a 48-yard effort wide right as the clock expired.
After a two and a half quarters’ worth of chirping, REDBLACKS receiver Diontae Spencer got the best of Carter in their one-on-one matchup midway through the third quarter; Harris chucked up a bomb and Spencer sprinted past Carter on his way to a 56-yard touchdown. The Ottawa quarterback then sprinted the two-point convert in himself to extend the lead to 33-14.
The host defence continued to impress late in the third quarter, as Rico Murray hauled in his first interception as a REDBLACK with an athletic pick of Bridge in the Ottawa end zone.
A 35-yard field goal from Lauther cut the lead to 33-17, but it was as close as the Riders would come.
A handful of Duron Carter pass-interference penalties then gave the REDBLACKS a chance from short range, and Harris and co. did not miss; Powell proved the benefactor as he hauled in a four-yard touchdown reception. Ward’s convert then rounded out the scoring on the night, bringing the lead to 40-17.
The story of the night proved to be Ottawa’s defence, which limited Saskatchewan on offence and came up with four key turnovers — including two interceptions in their own end zone.
REDBLACKS receiver Greg Ellingson hauled in a game-high 104 yards, while Riders linebacker Samuel Eguavoen registered a game-high seven tackles in the losing effort.
With the win, the REDBLACKS moved to 1-0 and will now face the daunting task of travelling across the country for a date with the Calgary Stampeders (1-0) on the Week 3 edition of Thursday Night Football (9 p.m. ET).
The loss dropped the Roughriders to 1-1 on the young season; Chris Jones’s team will now have eight days off to prepare for a home date with the Montreal Alouettes (0-1) next Saturday (9 p.m. ET).