First off, let me start off with the fact that Pierce is out for this game with a concussion. This is not surprising if you’re a Winnipeg fan- or rather, a CFL fan. His absence in a Bombers jersey is not a new thing in his career. He has played 49 games for the Blue Bombers, starting and completing only 26, he has missed 23 due to injury and because of an injury, he could start but not finish 10. Despite these horrific numbers, he is known as one of the toughest players in the CFL today.
He just doesn’t know how to protect himself. That is his Achilles heel.
The ball game started with an impressive opening drive by Winnipeg, who struggles with their offense early on into the game. After a roadblock on a 15 yard Facemask against them, Elliot came back strong and worked the offence down the field, settling for a field goal. The team that has scored first has won 20 of the 24 games this year.
Calvillo and the Al’s seemed to not be on the same page on their first drive, Calvillo turned to his automatic receivers, like Richardson, and they failed to make the plays we are used to seeing from them. Evidently they settle for a 27 yard field goal by Sean Whyte.
A Quarter filled with Turnovers, it only seems fit it ends with one, Trent Guy, the Punt Returner for Montreal, fumbles the ball after Will Ford of Winnipeg knocks it loose and recovers. Then the first play after Winnipeg gets the ball back, Elliot connects with Terrance Edwards for 50 Yards and 6 Points, to make it a 9-3 lead, eventually a 10-3 lead for Winnipeg after the successful point after. However Trent Guy makes amends for the fumble on the Punt Return, as he returns it for 52 yards off of the kickoff, setting up great field position for Calvillo and the Allouettes for the start of the 2nd Quarter.
The great field position provided by Guy allows the Al’s to make a 7 play 2nd Quarter opening drive into the end zone, courtesy of a 1 yard Adrian McPherson run, tying the game up at 10.
The Back and Forward game did not stop there; Elliot was proving himself worthy to be a Quarterback in this league by hitting Chris Matthews, his favorite target in this game, for a massive 42 yard connection. On the next play, the Elliot-Matthews connection continues this time Matthews walks into the end zone, to give Winnipeg the lead back. 17-10 Winnipeg at this point with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
After a few possessions by both teams that did nothing but take up time, Montreal finally storms down the field and gets the ball into the red zone, however the tale of turnovers comes into play here yet again, when Calvillo throws to Brandon London, who tries to make a one handed grab for a touchdown, but he tips it up and Johnny Spears, the opposing defender, catches the football and drags his right foot to keep himself in bounds, giving the ball back to the Bombers.
Calvillo enters his 1 minute offense mode, trying to march the ball down the field, but the Bombers defense minimizes the yardage gained by the Al’s, who settled for a 39 Yard Field goal by Sean Whyte, making it 17-13 Winnipeg at the half.
Montreal gets the ball and gets to work after Winnipeg fails to answer, the biggest play of the drive a 20 yard Jamel Richardson catch, followed by 16 yards from Brandon London, getting the ball into the red zone, where the Allouettes have had their way all year, but not today, as Calvillo fails once more to get 6 points, settling for a 25 yard field goal by Sean Whyte, who is perfect inside the 40 yards this season. Ending the first half.
A big first half for Brandon London, who has made a positive and negative impact in the game so far. The first half saw him make 5 receptions for 88 of Calvillo’s 197 total yards.
After 12 minutes of scoreless third quarter action, Winnipeg finally hits the scoreboard with a 21 yard field goal by Justin Palardy. Both Anderson’s on both teams are making an impact in this game, as Winnipeg’s Isaac Anderson has the biggest play of the scoring drive by getting a 19 yard gain courtesy of an inside handoff. Winnipeg restores the four point lead, making it 20-16 in their favor.
That’s all the excitement that quarter had, but we started the fourth quarter with a little drama. A botched snap goes astray on the chip shot field goal attempt for Palardy, which would have made it a 7 point lead, but instead it is a turnover on downs and Montreal’s ball, who couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing drive.
Winnipeg gets the ball back after the failed Montreal drive, and puts up the first touchdown in the second half for either side, as Rory Kohlert gets his first career CFL touchdown with a 15 yard connection, swelling the lead to 27-16 for David over Goliath.
But it isn’t over yet. Montreal strikes back with one of their own touchdowns with just 3 minutes to play, with a 13 yard touchdown pass to Brandon London, yes, him again, to get the Al’s within 5. The 2 point conversion fails, keeping the score 27-22 Winnipeg.
The final drive for Montreal saw Calvillo appearing to make another classic comeback, however it falls short as Brandon Stewart intercepts Calvillo’s throw and that ends the game.
I think I speak for everyone when I say; who the hell saw this coming? The 3-10 Bombers come into Montreal, the eastern powerhouse, force turnovers, capitalize on opportunities, shut down Calvillo, the man who is the Gretzky of the Canadian Football League in the record books, and gets the win. What? Where were these Bombers all season? This game is a perfect example of why you should never underestimate your opponent, and that the leagues teams are generally on even ground year round, regardless of the record.
Calvillo: 21/39, 336 Yards, TD, 2 INT
London: 9 REC, 170 Yards, TD
Elliot: 17/25, 335 Yards, 3 TD
Matthews: 6 REC, 143 Yards, TD
Final Score: Winnipeg Blue Bombers: 27 Montreal Allouettes: 22