August 25, 2023

Game Recap | MTL 17 WPG 47

1st Half - Dalton Schoen 83 - Kenny Lawler 89 touchdown celebration

There were some early nervous moments courtesy three glaring mistakes by the unlikeliest of characters – essentially akin to watching an experienced actor flub his lines – but by night’s end, Zach Collaros and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had recovered to deliver an absolute dandy performance.

Oscar worthy? Not quite. But call the Blue Bombers’ dominant 47-17 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in front of a sellout crowd of 32,343 at IG Field a four-star performance on a five-star Manitoba summer night.

The victory, Winnipeg’s fifth straight, improves the club to 9-2 and keeps it atop the Canadian Football League’s West Division. Montreal had its own four-game win streak snapped, meanwhile, and falls to 6-4.

The Blue Bombers overcame three first half interceptions by Collaros – two of them Pick-6s – to stomp the Alouettes, outscoring them 27-0 in the second half. And Collaros, seemingly unfazed by the errors, still threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns – two to Dalton Schoen and one each to Kenny Lawler and Brady Oliveira.

“Our defence was unbelievable,” began Collaros in his post-game media scrum. “We gave up three points. As a quarterback you can’t spot them seven and then spot them 14. And the other interception being in the score-zone area and taking points off the board… I can’t hurt our team like that.”

“The guys rallied around me. The defence was unbelievable, like I said, special teams was awesome all night and I though (the offence) played really well, too, if you take away the three mental mistakes – errors – by me.

“I saw Mr. Prukop, Dakota’s dad, after the game and he said, ‘It’s not every day you get to throw six touchdowns in a game.’ I thought that was pretty funny.”

And while the work of Collaros will be all over the highlight package, it was the Blue Bombers defence that was the backbone to the victory. Not only did the defence shut out the Alouettes in the final 30 minutes and limit their offence to three points, but Montreal’s second half yardage total was an astonishingly measly 21 yards. That’s 2-1.

And just for the record, the Blue Bombers have now gone nine quarters – 137 minutes and 17 seconds, to be exact – since last surrendering an offensive touchdown.

“Every single week we strive to be better than the week before and however that looks is how it looks,” said safety Brandon Alexander. “I know our defence cares about each other, we love each other and will do anything in this building for each other.”

“That next level for us… to be honest we still don’t know what that looks like. We’ve still got things to clean up. Nothing is ever as good as it first looks or as bad as it first looks. We’ll go over this film tomorrow and make some corrections. We’re looking forward to that.

“But right now, I just like how our guys communicated out there and how relentless we were on defence. And then our offence never gave up. We just kept going back out there and giving the ball back to them. All three phases may not have been as clean as we wanted, but we played team football tonight.”

More from our view in the press box on the Blue Bombers ninth win of the season…


The CFL’s reigning two-time Most Outstanding Player had an uncharacteristic and all-over-the-map first half. Collaros connected twice with Dalton Schoen for TDs while throwing for 172 yards, but also threw the two Pick-6s – the first coming on the very first offensive snap of the game by Tyrell Richards and returned 40 yards, the second by Marc-Antoine Dequoy and taken 57 yards to the house.

But veteran that he is, he kept attacking and finished with the four TD throws as the offence cranked out 441 yards net offence, including 196 along the ground.

“I thought we played well offensively,” said Collaros. “I need to clean some things up. We’ll watch the tape and I’m sure there will be some things that we can be better at but, again, just the perseverance and the resiliency of the guys around me to pick me up… to score touchdowns was awesome.”


We’re still about two months away before The Football Reporters of Canada and the nine head coaches will submit their ballots for the Most Outstanding Player Awards. Let it be said here that Brady Oliveira continues to build a compelling case in the Most Outstanding Canadian category.

Oliveira stacked another splendid performance on his first 10 games, rushing 18 times for 119 yards and a 26-yard touchdown, while pulling in one pass for a six-yard TD.

Oliveira is now at 902 yards rushing through 11 games and his 1,201 yards from scrimmage both lead the CFL.

“At the end of the day I want to go out there and show my teammates I truly do give it my all,” said Oliveira inside a raucous Blue Bombers dressing room. “I lay my body on the line every single week, whether that’s in the run game, me blocking, me selling the run and hitting people… I just want to go out there and honour my teammates. My teammates deserve that from me.

“There’s only one way to play this game and that’s ball’s out, physical, for the entire 60 minutes. I love that, man. At the end of the game you should be spent, drained and that’s exactly how I feel right now. That’s the sign you played the game the right way.”


Mark it down here: the last TD surrendered by the Blue Bombers defence was Kyran Moore’s 70-yard pass reception late in the third quarter of the win over Edmonton. Zero TDs last week in limiting Calgary to six field goals in the 19-18 victory, while the numbers against the Als were ridiculous.

Montreal finished with just 173 yards net offence, including just 142 through the air.

Asked if he had seen a better performance from his defence – and referencing the 21 yards allowed in the second half – head coach Mike O’Shea said:

“Now that you mention those numbers, probably not.

“It’s interesting… they’re still working. They get to the sideline, they pull out the iPad and JY (defensive backs coach Jordan Younger) has them going, Richie (Hall, defensive coordinator) has got ‘em going, DP (Darrell Patterson, D-line coach), James (Stanley, linebackers coach) they are still fully talking after every play and every series. They’re not just coming to the sideline and resting. They’re working. It’s nice for them to get rewarded like that.”


So many instances to pick from, but we’re saluting Winston Rose for his interception early in the third quarter. The Blue Bombers led 20-17 at the halftime and on Montreal’s second possession of the second half Rose stepped in front of a Cody Fajardo pass intended for Chandler Worthy to set the Blue Bombers up at the Alouette 26-yard line.

Five plays later Prukop was crashing into the end zone from a yard out and the Blue Bombers lead had grown to 27-17.


Touchdowns surrendered by the Blue Bombers in the last nine quarters.

The defence forced three turnovers – the Rose pick, a fumble recovery by Jackson Jeffcoat and a turnover on downs – and turned that into 17 points of their own on the Prukop score, a Sergio Castillo field goal and a TD strike from Collaros to Kenny Lawler.


The Blue Bombers defence – every single player on that unit seemed to step up and make something happen in choking out the Alouette attack.


Here we go…. The Blue Bombers now head into the annual Labour Day Classic/Banjo Bowl doubleheader with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on September 3rd and 9th. The Banjo Bowl, on the back-end of the double-header, is already sold out.