On Sunday November 13 the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the BC Lions 28-20 to advance to the Grey Cup.
This was a hard fought game by both teams but this time they had something to play for – unlike last time these two teams met.
Since 1977 these two teams had played each other 7 times in the playoffs with Winnipeg only winning once. However in this eight meeting the Bombers would get their second win.
*While there were not a lot of throws from the sure to be Most Outstanding Player – Zach Collaros – those he did throw were on the money. That is why most of his receivers have a good reception/attempt ratio. So you could consider Zach or the receivers for a game-ball.
*You could consider giving Janarion Grant a game-ball for his punt return, but since he bobbled a punt earlier which led to a BC touchdown that is essentially a wash.
*Winston Rose as well as other Bomber defenders had great games. It was Rose and Lawrence with an interception each, then Jeffcoat and Darby each with quarterback sacks! Other Bombers’ players in the secondary had really good pass knockdowns without drawing a pass interference call. You could give a game-ball to the whole defense.
However, I am going to give out 2 game-balls and they are fairly obvious.
Brady Oliveira had a great game carrying the ball 20 times for 130 yards! That is a 6.5 average yards per carry. When everyone knew the Bombers were going to run the ball the opposition defense could not stop them. Does that sound familiar? It should. That was the story in 2021…but it was not Oliveira, it was Harris – more on that later this week.
Brady also caught 4/5 balls thrown his direction for 37 yards…36 of those were yards after the catch!
For having a whale of a game, for making people forget about the beginning of the season, for making Bomber fans forget about Andrew Harris for one more week, Brady Oliveira you get the game ball!
The Fans At IG Field
A game-ball absolutely has to go out to the fans that were at the game. It was chilly, some say it was cold, it was snowing, yet 30,319 rabid fans came and made life miserable for BC! This was seen by BC taking 1 time count violation – having to call a time out to not get a second time count violation on the very next play – 1 procedure call, and 1 offside penalty.
While it was loud at multiple times during the game, the fans really amped it up when it mattered the most! With 33 seconds remaining on the clock the BC Lions receivers could not hear the play call in the huddle. Nathan Rourke had to go out to his receivers and line them up. This play took almost the whole 20 second play clock and a total of 26 seconds to run. After that BC only had 6 seconds left, and with the fans on their feet the fans knew the game was over!
The Bombers have a number of contenders for this award this week.
As previously mentioned Janarion Grant could be a recipient for his bobbled punt return which led to a BC touchdown – or the next punt return that he bobbled again before finding the handle.
You could give the award to Marc Liegghio as he missed 2 of his point after attempts – one of them being returned by BC for 2 points. But Liegghio did go 3/3 on field goals.
Essentially, the Bombers winning took both of those players out the conversation for the jock.
Do not get me wrong, Rourke is a good quarterback, but is he great? I am yet to be convinced as most of his wins this year have come against not great teams, and when he did face Winnipeg playing their starters they made him look average. He probably will be great, but that is an assumption not a fact.
Even if you do not like the title of the article you should check and see who Rourke actually did beat.
I know, some are going to point to the 300 yard game again…but he was 54.1%! Zach Collaros would have easily broke 300 yards as well if Winnipeg decided not to play the run game as much.
Winnipeg heavily relied on the run game throwing the ball only 22 times and running the ball 31 times. While Zach Collaros did not look fabulous he did go 14/20 (70%) compared to Rourke who went only 20/37 (54.1%). Yes, Rourke threw for 300 yards and Zach only for 178 but that was a result of play calling – the Bombers went with the run game.
What matters most, yards or completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio? The only category that Rourke had over Collaros was yards.
However, I will give Rourke-Mania a pass this week.
*The final play for BC
The jock should go to the play calling, but it will go to an individual player on this play.
BC has a terrible time getting the second last play off, and now they are down by 8 with 6 seconds remaining – essentially 1 play left – and what do they do? They throw a short pass and run some type of hook-and-ladder play!
Are you kidding me?!
Yes I understand that all the Bomber defenders are playing back so BC will get some yards. But do you really think you are going to outflank a whole Bombers’ defence? Every time that ball gets lateralled to another player the success rate of that play plummets.
There is only one correct play call with 6 seconds left and down by 8…and BC had the weapons to pull it off. That play is a deep shot to the end zone. Rourke can make that thrown. BC has receivers that can make that catch – Hatcher, Burnham, Rhymes all good enough receivers to come down with it. If the ball is not caught then BC hopes for a pass interference penalty which would put the ball on the 1 yard line with one final play. A successful touchdown and BC lines up for a 2 point convert. That is how you extend the game.
Nevertheless, BC decided as hook-and-latter play would be best even though their run game as abysmal all night.
If that were not bad enough, that play is essentially over the moment that BC Lions Sukh Chungh takes a cheap shot on Winnipeg’s Malik Clements. There are now 0s on the clock and even if BC somehow takes that ball to the house the touchdown will be called back. Rhymes was the player with the ball at that point and once the flags flew, he pretty much gave up on the play. He knew it, it was over!
For completely taking any slight change your team had to pull out a win by taking a cheap shot on a defenseless player, Chungh, you get the jock!
Make sure to re-live all the highlights!
Stay tuned for Grey Cup articles all week long as I make my way to Regina on Thursday!
Maybe you think I completely missed the mark on all of this.
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
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Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
Stay with CFL News Hub for the 2022 season. Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1