Bombers Win on Final Play Again
WINNIPEG, MB – It’s a bit of a cliché to call the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, “the Cardiac Kids.” It’s a term that’s been done far too many times.
This year, there is probably a better description of this football team: “The final play Bombers.”
For the second straight week, the Bombers came back from a deficit in the final minute to win a football game on the final play. Friday night in Ottawa, Justin Medlock kicked a 38-yard field goal with no time left on the clock as the Bombers beat the defending Grey Cup champion Ottawa RedBlacks 33-30.
The Bombers trailed by seven points with three minutes remaining, but Ryan Lankford’s speed was a key as the brilliant return artists got his team into decent field position.
Medlock kicked a 35-yarrd field goal with 2:55 left to play to make the score 30-26 and then booted a long single on the kickoff to cut the Ottawa lead to 30-27 and give the Bombers some hope.
After the defense held and Bombers QB Matt Nichols hit Darvin Adams for 13 yards, Medlock kicked a 40-yard field goal to tie the game with 57 seconds remaining to play.
Then the Bombers defense held the RedBlacks again and with one final short drive, Medlock came through in the clutch once again, nailing his sixth field goal of the game, this one at the gun, to get the win. For the second straight week the Bombers came back in the final minute because of a combination of tremendous, gutsy defense and Nichols ability to move the football just far enough to get into Medlock’s range.
The loss drops the defending Grey Cup champs to 1-5-1 while the Bombers improved to 4-2 on the season. The RedBlacks have Trevor Harris at quarterback this season – not Henry Burris – but that’s not the reason they lost on Friday night.
It was a rain-soaked game that Ottawa controlled for most of the second half and yet head coach Rick Campbell – a genius with a lucky horseshoe last season — had nothing left in his repertoire in the final three minutes. His offence was terrible and his defense was just slack enough to allow Nichols to move the football into Medlock’s range. His special teams were also weak when it counted most and despite outscoring Winnipeg 18-6 for the first 27 minutes of the second half, they couldn’t close out the deal when it mattered.
Ottawa scored first on a beautiful drive to open but Winnipeg battled back and grabbed a 17-12 lead at the half. Ottawa then scored on its first possession of the third quarter and built a 23-20 lead after three quarters and a 30-23 advantage at the three-minute warning.
But Ottawa was done. After the teams came out of the three-minute break, it was all Winnipeg down the stretch.
Nichols was the leader for the “The Last Play Bombers,” once again as he completed 25-of-38 pass attempts for 319 yards and a touchdown – a beautiful 79-yard pass-and-run play to Lankford in the Bombers’ first possession of the game.
Andrew Harris carried seven times for 43 yards and caught three passes for 20 more. Timothy Flanders got his first taste of CFL action this season and carried three times for 40 yards. With Weston Dressler out for six games, Lankford led the receiving corps with two catches for 82 yards and a touchdown Julian Feoli-Gudino had six catches for 73 yards.
Ottawa’s Trevor Harris completed 27-of-39 pass attempts for 263 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions (neither quarterback threw an INT). William Powell carried eight times for 85 yards and a touchdown while Brad Sinopoli caught 10 passes for 98 yards, Greg Ellingson caught five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown and Joshua Stangby caught two passes for 19 yards and a touchdown.
However, Medlock was the story of the game, making six of seven field goal attempts in the rain, the longest from 45 yards. His only miss was from 52.
He also kicked two singles – both on kickoffs.
The big defensive play of the game was made by Chris Randle, who icked up a Powell fumble and brought it back 25 yards for a touchdown to give Winnipeg its first lead of the game – 17-11 in the second quarter.
The Bombers are red-hot. They’ve won two huge games with big plays at the final gun and have turned a 2-4 record into 4-2. This Blue Bombers team is right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the West and will head to Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton next Saturday night to take on the winless Tiger-Cats (0-6-0) at 6:30 p.m. on TSN.
Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photo by Jeff Miller