The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are not dead yet. The Bombers defeated the Toronto Argonauts, 44-32, at Rogers Centre on Friday, October 19 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Here's a summary of how they did it in the team's CFL report card for week 17.
Offence -- The Bombers (5-11) marching 89 yards on 17 plays in 8:46 for the game's first points. Alex Brink added a one-yard touchdown run, after Buck Pierce led the team down the field, to make it 14-0. In the second quarter, Winnipeg zipped 96 yards on five plays, the last one a 14-yard TD run by Chad Simpson, who rushed for a game-high 136 yards. So where was this all season? Well, Buck Pierce, who threw for 200 yards, started and finished the game -- the Bombers are 13-1 in such games -- and the offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage as Winnipeg rushed for 260 yards. Grade: A
Defence -- After the Argos (7-9) went scoreless in the first quarter, Ricky Ray (383 yards passing) burned the Bombers for three touchdown passes in the second quarter. He connected with Andre Durie for a 37-yard TD and found Jason Barnes for back-to-back majors to give Toronto a 21-17 lead. But the Bombers regrouped in the third quarter and allowed just a single. Furthermore, the Bombers forced a pair of fumbles, including a strip of Ray late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Grade: C+
Special Teams --The kick coverage team gets a big bonus for pouncing on a Chad Owens fumble in the first quarter to set up a short touchdown. The kick coverage team was solid all the way around, as Toronto didn't have a return of more than 24 yards. Moreover, Justin Palardy made five converts and all three of his field goal attempts, the longest from 45 yards out. Grade: B+
Coaching -- I wasn't a fan of moving Demond Washington to SAM from the start. Ray took advantage of the out-of-position defensive back in the first half by throwing over the top. Additionally, I thought Tim Burke could have thrown a challenge flag on what should have been ruled a fumble in the first half. But the offensive play-calling was outstanding and the Bombers were prepared to play. Grade: B
Next Marking Period -- The Blue Bombers visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday, October 27. The Bombers have defeated the Ti-Cats twice this season and six times in a row dating back to last season. Winnipeg won its last meeting with Hamilton, 34-12, at Canad Inns Stadium in week 13.
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter and supporter of all Winnipeg sports teams. The coldest sporting event he ever attended was the 2011 East Division final between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium. Adam follows back Bombers fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.