Tonight was the biggest game of the year so far for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. After starting the season 6-1, the Bombers were coming off their bye to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, currently 4-3 and in third place in the CFL’s Eastern Conference. This would be the Bombers chance to put some real distance between themselves and the Ti-Cats.
The Bombers offense started slowly, going two and out. However, the defense made up for it, by intercepting Kevin Glenn and Jovon Johnson taking it back for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The Bombers built the lead to 17-3, but Hamilton came back with two touchdowns during the second quarter, during a stretch where the Bombers seems to lose their composure a little for the first time this season. Hamilton actually had a couple of chances to take the lead late in the first half, but missed out on a couple of long field goal attempts., including one where the single was wiped off the board by a Hamilton penalty.
Hamilton’s offensive performance continued to be fairly impressive in the third quarter, one that has been dominated by the Bombers this year. Meanwhile the Bombers offensive, which could be described as sporadic through the course of the evening, came back to life again in the 4th quarter, enabling the team to score the winning points and run some time of the clock when they needed it.
So, what to make of such a game. Well, on the positive side, it reinforced the idea that the Bombers have developed a never say die attitude. Also, while the defense struggled through the middle part of the game, when the game was on the line, they came up with the requisite number of big plays. Greg Carr, filled in quite nicely for Terrence Jefferts Harris, and Harris is going to have to pick his game up if he wants back in the line up. Although Pierce took some big hits, his ball management was quite good, and he through several away rather than taking unnecessary hits. Also, the Bombers showed they have big play capability that means they’re never out of game(that flea-flicker on the third series was sweet).
While Hamilton deserves credit for a solid effort, I wonder if the Bomber’s defense had their heads into the game from the start. Perhaps this game will take a little shine off of Swaggerville. That would likely be to the Bombers benefit. The Bombers also lost their composure a little bit in the middle of the game. While they got it back, they have to take care that they don’t allow a recurrence later on. The overall impression I had watching the game was that the Bomber’s players didn’t have their heads into the game for the whole game. Hopefully this is just the effect of two weeks off.
The next two weeks feature the home and home rivalry with the Riders. Here’s the thing about those games. It doesn’t matter how badly they are playing, they are going to be going flat-out to get the Bombers. With Montreal and Hamilton going head-to-head over the same two week period, this is another chance for the Bombers to cement their position in the Eastern Conference. A couple of slip-ups though and things could get interesting.
One parting thought for tomorrow night. Go Stamps, Go. I’d rather have Montreal two games behind than one.