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Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Bombers Blown Out in Season Opener

The CFL season kicked off with a rematch of the 2023 Grey Cup. The loss puts the Winnipeg Blue Bombers below .500 for the first time since 2018.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost 27-12 to the Montreal Alouettes in a rematch of the 2023 Grey Cup.

Zach Collaros started the day 1 for 6 passing and had a below average day overall. He ended the day completing 20 of 33 passes for 209 yards and 1 interception.

His primary option on the day was Dalton Schoen who he targeted 9 times. Schoen had 5 receptions for 62 yards. Nic Demski was targeted 7 times for 3 receptions, 27 yards. Kenny Lawler was targeted 5 times for 3 receptions and 26 yards.

Most of Collaros’ passes were under heavy pressure or on the run. Many of his passes were off target throughout the night. In the first half Collaros had 4 passes to the endzone which were off-target, one of which was picked off.

Winnipeg fans are excited to see the tandem of Chris Streveler and Zach Collaros reunite. The duo, who together helped win the 2019 Grey Cup, tagged in and out on several drives, creating a multitude of options for the Bombers offense.

On third down with 2 yards to go in the first quarter 30,140 fans in Princess Auto Stadium erupted when Chris Streveler stepped onto the field to charge ahead for the first down.

Streveler came out for short yardage plays 5 times. On 5 rush attempts in short yardage he was only stopped short once on second down. He stayed in and carried the ball 12 yards the next play and nearly took it to the house, stopped by a shoestring tackle. He started two drives and threw 0 passes on the day, finishing with 7 rushes good for 32 yards.

Brady Oliveira only had 11 rushes for 38 yards. On a 6-yard pickup in the second half Oliveira Surpassed 3,000 career rushing yards. Oliveira also made 3 catches for 17 yards.

On one drive in the fourth quarter Johnny Augustine had 15 yards on 2 carries good for 1 touchdown on their last drive of the game.

Princess Auto Stadium ahead of the season opener Photo by Matthew Harrison May 6th 2024


Willie Jefferson still has strong support up front after Jackson Jeffcoat retired. The Blue Bomber defensive line looked strong throughout, with Jake Thomas and Celestin Haba keeping the Montreal run-game to just 73 yards on 23 attempts. The Bombers had only 1 sack by Devin Adams but Fajardo was under pressure much of the game.

On Montreal’s second drive Fajardo was under heavy pressure from Celestin Haba and threw an interception to third-year Bomber Brian Cole who brought it back 30 yards. The subsequent drive ended with the only Winnipeg field goal of the game. Cole led the team with 6 defensive tackles.

In the first half Montreal had 14 points and the Blue Bombers held them to 82 yards of net offense with only 48 passing yards. Fajardo was able to somewhat figure out the Blue Bombers in the second half, finishing the game 20 for 28 with 254 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The biggest play of the game came in the fourth on a 76-yard pass off a flea-flicker from Fajardo to a wide-open Tyson Philpot. Philpot had an extraordinary game, finishing with 10 receptions on 11 targets going 141 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns.


The score card shows the Bombers took 5 penalties for 65 yards in the game. The 4th punt from Jamieson Sheahan to midfield was moved up 15 yards from point of foul on a no-yards call. The Blue Bombers gave up 29 yards in penalties leading to a Montreal touchdown, on which play an offside call against Winnipeg was declined.

Nothin-Special Teams

Myron Mitchell fielded 7 punts for just 37 yards. On one punt return Mitchell fumbled at the Blue Bomber 14-yard line which led to the first Montreal touchdown on the ensuing drive. Mitchell returned 4 kickoffs for 71 yards, his longest being 25 yards on the opening kick of the game.

Sergio Castillo was good for 1 of 3 field goals, missing from 38 and 40. On the only Bomber touchdown of the day Castillo missed the extra point kick, instigating a chorus of boo-birds. Much has been said by kickers of the new chip placed in CFL balls. Some argue the chips effects accuracy and can cause bruising.

How much is this game a real indictment of what many believe is still the top team in the CFL? The Bombers benched a vast majority of their starters through the preseason making this the first game many have suited up for in 2024. It’s too early to hit the panic button but the Blue Bombers know their opening night performance wasn’t anywhere near where they want need to be. It’s still early in a long season, leaving plenty of time to work out the many kinks seen last night.

author avatar
Matthew Harrison
Since my I attended my first Blue Bomber game at Canad Inns Stadium in the very early 2000s, I have been a passionate follower of the CFL. Watching from home week in and week out or spending an evening losing my voice at a game, I have always loved this league. This year I'll be covering the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts, two promising teams, each with a chip on their shoulder coming into 2024. Follow me here to stay up to date with what you need to know going into gameday.
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