The Winnipeg Football Club has 90 years of history to celebrate, dating way back to the days of leather helmets and the Great Depression.
Over that time there have been countless great plays authored by superstar players… and average Joes, too. There have been memorable games featuring iconic moments and, dating back to 1930, this franchise has captured a Grey Cup championship 11 times.
Each week bluebombers.com cracks open the record book, dusts off the archives and dives deep into our collective memory banks for our Top 10 Exclusive list.
This week: TOP 10 SINGLE-GAME VIRTUOSO PERFORMANCES
It stands to reason that over 90 years of existence, several members of the Blue Bombers would have some spectacular games where the statistical numbers pile up and the record books get rewritten.
Here’s a totally subjective look at the Top 10 single-game virtuoso performances – regular season version – in Bombers history…
1. Matt Dunigan throws for 713: It’s a CFL record that may stay untouched for decades or, dare we say, forever. On July 14, 1994 – 26 years ago this week – Dunigan completed 33 of 52 pass attempts for 713 yards in a 50-35 win over the Edmonton Eskimos. In the process, he broke Danny Barrett’s CFL single-game passing record of 601, set a year earlier. Just to put that number into perspective, consider this: dating back to 2005 there have been only five 500-yard passing performances by any CFL QB over that span.
2. Bob McNamara goes six for six: It’s a CFL record that dates all the way back to October 13, 1956. That day, Bob McNamara of the Bombers found the end zone six times in a win over the B.C. Lions at old Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The last time a CFL player had five TDs in a game was 1995 when Eric Blount, then of Edmonton, in a game against the Bombers.
3. Ernie Pitts comes close with five: The McNamara record seems untouchable, but less than three years after setting the record another Bomber came close when Ernie ‘Zazu’ Pitts scored five touchdowns in a win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on August 29, 1959
4. Rod Hill’s handful of picks: Time for a salute to the defenders… on September 9, 1990 Bombers cornerback Rod Hill set a CFL record that still stands with five interceptions in a home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
5. Dieter Brock finds a groove: It was October, 3, 1981 at Lansdowne Park in the nation’s capital when the Bombers QB set a CFL record with 41 completions in a win over the Ottawa Rough Riders. Brock finished 41 of 47 for 449 yards that day in establishing the record, later tied by Kent Austin of Saskatchewan in 1993, then broken by Anthony Calvillo of Montreal with 44 in 2008 and Henry Burris of Ottawa with 45 completions in 2015.
6. Fred Reid cranks out 260: Back on August 21, 2009 at B.C. Place in Vancouver Reid set a new Bombers record with 260 yards rushing in a win over the Lions, breaking Blaise Bryant’s old mark of 249 set in 1994. That total ranks third all-time in CFL history, behind Ron Stewart’s 287-yard effort in 1960 and George Reed’s 268 in 1965.
7. Alfred Jackson’s 308-yard night: One of the subplots to Dunigan’s 713-yard passing night (#1 on this list) was Alfred ‘Action’ Jackson setting a Bombers record with 308 yards receiving in that game. That total remains third on the CFL’s all-time list behind Montreal’s Hal Patterson, who had 338 in a game against Hamilton in 1956 and Curtis Mayfield of Las Vegas, who had 319-yards receiving in 1994.
8. Ken Ploen uses his legs: The Bombers’ legendary QB was always a dual threat during his hall of fame career. But on August 28, 1958 in a game against B.C. at Winnipeg Stadium, Ploen carried 10 times for 168 yards – an astonishing 16.8 yards per carry – to set a CFL rushing record for quarterbacks. That mark stood for 35 years before Damon Allen rushed for 170 in 1993. That record was then broken again by Edmonton’s Nealon Greene, who had 180 yards in a game against Saskatchewan.
9. Eugene Goodlow’s busy afternoon: Goodlow made history in the Bombers’ final regular season game of the 1981 season when he pulled in 15 passes in a 44-6 home win over Calgary. That tied the CFL record, first set by Saskatchewan’s George McGowan in 1973. Since Goodlow’s game in ’81 four CFL players have pulled in 16 receptions in a single game – Toronto’s Terry Greer in 1983, Calgary’s Brian Wiggins in 1994, Derrell Mitchell of the Argonauts in 1998 and Hamilton’s Arland Bruce III in 2010.
10. James Jefferson strange and productive day: The Bombers cornerback set two CFL records in a home game against Hamilton on October 4, 1987 that still stand. Jefferson scored three return touchdowns that game on a fumble recovery, an interception return and a punt return – a mark since matched by Toronto’s Vernon Mitchell in 2000. Jefferson and Earl Winfield also both share the CFL record for most different types of TDs in a single game.