The Winnipeg Blue Bombers benefited from a couple of lucky bounces on Thursday, July 26, as they defeated the Edmonton Eskimos, 23-22, at a rollicking Canad Inns Stadium. But a win is a win, and this was Winnipeg's first of the season. The Bombers (1-4) may have passed their first home test of 2012, but do they deserve high marks for the victory? Here's the team's week five report card.
Offence -- The Bombers' offence sputtered through the first two quarters as Alex Brink threw a pair of interceptions, but the first half ended with his 40-yard touchdown chuck to Chris Matthews. The offence improved a bit after the break. Brink (26-of-38, 294 yards) made better decisions in the second half and Chad Simpson, who rushed for 72 yards, darted his way into the end zone from four yards out late in the third quarter to bring the Bombers within 21-18. The return of Cory Watson (seven catches, 66 yards) provided a boost, but there's still room for improvement. Final Grade: C+
Defence -- Steven Jyles tossed for 244 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 47-yard strike to a wide-open Freed Stamps early in the third quarter to give Edmonton a 21-11 lead. However, the defence made the big play at the end of the game, forcing and recovering a fumble by Jyles at Winnipeg's 28-yard line with under one minute to play. Cory Koch hauled in a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but it's tough to blame the D, since the Eskimos (3-2) were working with a short field after picking off Brink. Hugh Charles rushed for 76 yards on 15 carries. Final Grade: B
Special Teams --The kickers did their jobs again. Justin Palardy, the CFL's Special Teams Player of the Week, went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts and Mike Renaud had another solid game with seven punts for 301 yards. There were no big returns either way, but Jeremy McGee made a key heads-up play late in the third quarter when he recovered a blocked punt and ran it for the first down. A few plays later, Simpson was in the end zone and the Bombers were back in the game. Final Grade: B
Coaching --No issues with the coaching this week. Simpson should get a few more touches moving forward, but the offence did enough to win. The team looked prepared and -- for the first time this season -- made the right adjustments at intermission. It's a good sign for the Bombers, who were a strong second-half team last season. Final Grade: B+
Next Marking Period -- The Bombers play their next three games at home starting with a contest against the Montreal Alouettes on Friday, August 3 (7:30 p.m. CDT). The Bombers lost to the Als, 41-30, in week two and were 2-1 against Montreal last season.
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.
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