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July 30, 2018

Game Recap: TOR 14 | WPG 40


Attention Canadian Football League West Division clubs: that object in the mirror is not just closer than it appears, it is a hard-charging beast all decked out in blue and gold.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers pummelled the Toronto Argonauts 40-14 in front of 27,116 on a spectacular Friday night at Investors Group Field, winning their second straight and third in the last four to improve to 4-3 and get back into the West Division derby.

And the four-quarter barrage came with contributions from just about everybody in a Bombers uniform, as the defence forced seven turnovers and registered four sacks, the offence cranked out 361 yards while the special teams chipped in with a punt block touchdown.

Translation: there was a lot to get amped up about from a Bomber squad which now heads into the first of three bye weeks this season. Asked what he liked, quarterback Matt Nichols offered this:

“I mean… everything, honestly,” said Nichols. “Going into this back-t0-back (with Toronto) we knew it was going to be tough and you want to go into the bye week feeling good about where you’re at as a team.

“I feel like we’re hitting our stride a little bit and we’re seeing what kind of team we can be as long as we stick to what we’re being coached to do and playing clean football. Really, aside from two or three plays total, in the last couple of games we’ve played pretty complete games as a three-phase unit.

“We’ve realized when we play our brand of football and do what we’re coached to do, we can play with anyone. We’re a good football team.”

The Bombers got 13 on their first three possessions, and with the Argos game-planning to limit the damage done by Andrew Harris, worked some other weapons in the attack as Nic Demski hauled in a perfect strike for a 42-yard score and then tip-toed down the sideline for a 28-yard run to paydirt.

The Oak Park High School/University of Manitoba product finished with 116 yards offence – 34 on the ground on just three carries and 82 through the air on five catches.

“Three carries… five catches… I mean, however they want to get the ball into my hands, I’m down for it,” said Demski with a grin. “I just want to be versatile, I just want to make plays, if I’ve got to block, if I’ve got to catch, if I’ve got to run. I want to do it all. It’s fun out there, especially with eight touches in a game and two touchdowns. I’ll take it.”

The Bombers also got TDs from Drew Wolitarsky on an eight-yard catch and from Ian Wild after Mike Miller absolutely stuffed a Ronnie Pfeffer punt, with the block then returned 18 yards.

But it was the defence who had its fingerprints all over this one again, as they kept an opponent to 20 points or under for the fourth consecutive game. Kevin Fogg, Chris Randle and Brandon Alexander all picked off James Franklin passes while Jovan Santos-Knox had a juicy stat line with 10 tackles and three sacks.

“Guys were flying around,” said Santos-Knox. “Toronto came out very intense and we matched their intensity.”

That much is evident with Santos-Knox on almost every snap as he is a spinning Tasmanian devil of pure emotional joy.

“Hey man, I like to have fun out there,” said Santos-Knox. “I really get into this. I love doing this. I love what I do. Hopefully it brings some guys up. It gets me excited.”


 

THE BIG STAT

7: Turnovers forced by the Bombers – three interceptions, twice on downs and two forced fumbles. Over the two games against Toronto, the Bombers forced 10 turnovers and finished with a +7 turnover ratio in the back to back.

FYI

The Bombers two inactives were OL Manase Foketi and DB Brendan Morgan… Toronto RB James Wilder Jr. had been doubtful earlier in the week, but suited up and had a solid game with 81 yards rushing and another 51 receiving after being ineffective last week with minus-2 yards rushing and 42 through the air… QB Matt Nichols came up hobbling at one point during the game, but did not leave the game until late when he was replaced by Chris Streveler. “The knee is good,” he said. “I got the right ankle rolled up on a little bit and then the left one later. It was just a couple little ankle tweaks.”

NUMBERS GAME

9-117: The penalty total by the Argos, while the Bombers were nailed six times for 60 yards.

119: Weston Dressler extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 119, dating back to August 12th, 2010. That streak is the eighth-longest in CFL history. Dressler finished with four catches and is now just three short of becoming the 13th player to reach 700 career receptions.

28: Yards rushing for Andew Harris, ending his streak of consecutive 100-yard games at three. The only other Bombers player to rush for 100 yards or more in four straight games is Willard Reaves, who had eight straight in 1984.

THE COACH SAYS

“It was a good game, a good way to go into the bye week. Our players and coaches need the rest. They’ve been going at it hard all through training camp and right through. It’s nice to go into it that way, that’s for sure.” – Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea.