Matt Nichols was being given an opportunity to get starting time behind centre in Winnipeg and he certainly ran with it in the last game, getting the Blue Bombers a much needed win against Edmonton. Hamilton came into this game off a bye week and seemed ready and raring to go, or so we thought.
A heavy storm passed through the Winnipeg area with heavy lightning, forcing the game into what became a two-and-a-half hour storm delay before proceedings finally got under way, well past 10:00pm EST. There was no word on whether the league had thought about rescheduling the game or not.
The Bombers did not score on their opening possession of the game, but that would quickly be ruled irrelevant. A CJ Roberts intercept on Hamilton’s first play from scrimmage of the game returned the ball 19-yards to the end zone for the pick-six, and after the convert by Justin Medlock the score was suddenly 7-0 Winnipeg.
Matt Nichols and the Blue Bombers offense looked sharp early, quickily finding Clarence Denmark on a 12-yard pass for yet another early Winnipeg touchdown. After the convert by Medlock, on what was only the 13th play of the game, the Blue Bombers were already up 14-0 on an out of step Hamilton team.
Not too long after that play, Matt Nichols found Thomas Mayo deep in the endzone for a 12-yard strike that had Winnipeg 20-0. After the convert it was 21-0 and the game wasn’t even a quarter old. Winnipeg had come out like a firing squad early and carried that 21-point lead into the second quarter.
Constantly frustrating Hamilton’s offense, the Bombers offense was then on the field for long stretches and generated yet another touchdown, this time a three-yard run from Andrew Harris; after the convert it was a 28-0 lead.
After yet another Hamilton two-and-out, the Bombers got a 16-yard field goal from Justin Medlock to extend their lead to 31-0.
On the next Hamilton series, Jeremiah Masoli threw yet another interception, this one picked off by Taylor Loffler which set the offense up again with a 31-yard return. Four plays later and the ball was through the uprights again from the foot of Medlock, this time a 31-yard field goal to make it a stunning 34-0 score line that the two teams would carry into half time.
Half time was abbreviated due to the weather delay. A ceremony, however, was still held as Milt Stegall’s number was added to Winnipeg’s ring of honour. Stegall retired as the league’s all-time receiving yards and touchdown receptions leader among his many accomplishments, and is widely considered one of the best players to ever suit up in the CFL.
Hamilton punted on their first possession of the second half and were able to force the Bombers to do the same on theirs.
Hamilton was finally able to put something together offensively in this game, they drove deep into Winnipeg territory and got a touchdown from Jeff Matthews on a one-yard run. The Ti-Cats went for two and got a successful convert to Andy Fantuz to make the score 34-8.
It was gonna take a lot more than that if the Ti-Cats were to have any hope of making yet another huge comeback. But Blue Bombers defense wasn’t having any of it.
In the fourth quarter, a 45-yard field goal made it a 34-11 game as Hamilton just couldn’t muster any meaningful offense beyond that on this night.
A Justin Medlock 19-yarder closed out the scoring at 37-11 in what was an emphatic win for the Blue Bombers.
The Bombers have now won consecutive games and are starting to look very good on offense. Their play in this game was lights, punishing the Tiger-Cats in any way they possibly could in the first half, whilst playing stellar defense in the second half to secure an important win – vaulting them ahead of the defending Grey Cup champions. Matt Nichols was 23/31 and threw for 246-yards with two touchdowns in the win.
For Hamilton, this is almost as bad a game as a team can have. The team looked a step behind the pace for the majority of the night and only had 78 passing yards going into half time. Jeremiah had a forgettable 27/46 with three interceptions but still managed 335 passing yards. The best thing for Hamilton to do is to forget this game even happened as there are not many things to build on from this performance. Zach Collaros inches closer and closer to a return for Hamilton and can hopefully spark what has been a wildly inconsistent seven weeks. Hamilton only sits two points up on the Eastern Division’s last place team, the Montreal Alouettes.
Hamilton heads to B.C. to end a long road trip which began all the way back on July 7 as they take on the Lions on August 13 at 10:00pm EST. The Blue Bombers will head down to the Golden Horseshoe region to take on the Toronto Argonauts at B.M.O Field on August 12 at 7:30pm.