Bombers following their leader Matt Nichols in comeback wins
There can’t be many times in a football player’s life when his team is riding a roll quite like this one.
In the span of eight days, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won two games in exhilarating fashion, coming back late in the fourth quarter and saving the winning points for the final play on both occasions.
It’s still very early in the CFL season and the Bombers are only 4-2 and tied for third place in the tough West Division, but these past two weeks have to be an indication of what kind of character this team possesses.
To do it once — coming back with two touchdowns in the final minute to beat Montreal 41-40 at home — was impressive enough.
To follow that up by erasing a seven-point Ottawa Redblacks lead with under three minutes to play and winning 33-30 on a Justin Medlock field goal with zeros on the clock, was over the top.
“Win or loss, I’m happy to be on this team,” veteran cornerback Chris Randle said. “We have a bond and a chemistry that’s undeniable. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win games. To win them in this fashion just shows our resiliency and our determination in all phases, to put it all out there on the line when it matters most.”
When it was needed most in the past two weeks, the Bombers were a calm, collected and focused bunch.
They methodically shredded the Alouettes defence last week and this week used a combination of outstanding defensive play, good offensive production and Medlock’s stellar leg to engineer three field goals in the final three minutes and win by three.
“It was our most complete game of the season,” Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols said. “I feel like even in the first quarter, when they were going on some drives, the defence did a good job and held them to a field goal on the second one.
“Offence started the game off well. I don’t think that we had a two-and-out all night if I’m not mistaken. So I think that we moved the ball well, we kept the defence fresh and did everything we wanted to do in this game aside from the offence finishing off with a couple more touchdowns.”
It’s true, the Bombers red-zone offence wasn’t as good Friday as it had been the rest of the season. But their defence, particularly in the secondary, was vastly improved over last week, holding Trevor Harris and the Redblacks to just 263 yards through the air.
I’ve been saying all along that if this team gets it together on defence, watch out.
Their offence has been productive all season, averaging over 33 points per game. If the defence performs as well as it did late in Friday’s game, when it forced the Redblacks to two straight twoand-outs in the dying minutes, the Bombers are going to be very tough to beat.
Their offence was a thing of beauty on Friday night.
From the very first play, when Nichols hit Ryan Lankford for a quick-strike 79-yard touchdown, the offence looked sharp. Nichols spread the ball around to Darvin Adams, T.J. Thorpe, Clarence Denmark and Julian FeoliGudino and used both Andrew Harris and Timothy Flanders in the ground attack (they combined for 83 yards).
It was a play by Nichols at the beginning of the third quarter that, to us, defined his value to the Bombers right now.
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