Bombers nab first victory at new home
WINNIPEG—The Winnipeg Blue Bombers not only finally won at Investors Group Field, they did it by smothering the league’s leading offence with a 25-13 defensive upset of the Saskatchewan Roughriders yesterday.
The Riders couldn’t score a touchdown and were held to a single point in the second half.
Saskatchewan won that one 48-25 last Sunday.
“I took my headset off a few times just so I could just relish the crowd noise,” said a smiling head coach Tim Burke.
After the game, the Bombers announced they had traded veteran quarterback Buck Pierce to B.C. for non-import receiver Akeem Foster.
“Buck has been a true warrior and a consummate professional during his time in Winnipeg and we sincerely thank him for his four years of service to our organization,” Bombers’ acting general manager Kyle Walters said in the release.
They might not have wanted the news to overshadow what was for the struggling team (2-8) a major accomplishment as it tries to rescue this season.
“When you’re playing against the No. 1 team in the league and defensively we come out and play like that, it just speaks [volumes] about what we can do as a defence,” said cornerback Jovon Johnson.
“I said this on Week 2, this could be one of the best defences in the league if we just stick together and play and we showed that tonight, man,” said Demond Washington, who recovered a fumble and had one of Winnipeg’s sacks.
Will Ford and quarterback Justin Goltz scored touchdowns for the Bombers while Sandro DeAngelis added a field goal and picked up a single on a miss.
It was a complete reversal of last week’s 48-25 loss in Regina, with the Riders’ (8-2) only points coming from four Chris Milo field goals and a single.
Goltz and the offence struggled in the first half, but found more life in the second and Burke gave new offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille credit for some halftime adjustments.
For Goltz, making his second-straight start after last week’s 48-25 loss in Regina, it also was sweet.
“We needed this so bad—our city needed it and our fans needed it,” said the quarterback, who Burke said likely will start the next game, as well.
For Durant, it was a crushing loss after what has up until now been a tremendous season.
“You’ve got to give those guys a lot of credit; they played at a level that we just didn’t match today,” said the veteran.
“In front of their home crowd, a game they really, really wanted, and they went out and got it.”
As for how the Winnipeg blitz seemed able to shred the Riders’ offensive line, Durant said they will dissect what went wrong by looking at video of the game.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to [defensive co-ordinator] Casey [Creehan],” said Burke.
“He came up with a really good blitz plan against these guys.”
Burke also praised his secondary, which has received a lot of criticism lately.
He said he knew the defence was tired because of the time they spent on the field in the first half. The Bombers had the ball for only about three minutes in the first quarter.
“In the fourth quarter, we just asked them to gut it out,” Burke remarked.