Winnipeg – It was a night unlike any other that I have witnessed in my 40-plus years of covering the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Never before have I seen a 2 and a half hour weather delay as lightning engulfed Investors Group Field and the surrounding area. And once the game started at 10pm, rarely, at least in recent times, have I seen a Blue Bomber team so thoroughly dominate a strong opponent in the way they manhandled the Hamilton Tiger Cats. 21-0 after the first quarter and then 34-0 at the half. I’m sure some Bomber fans had to repeatedly pinch themselves to believe they were actually seeing what they were seeing. The second half was predictable with the Bombers taking their foot off the gas a bit and the Ticats fighting for at least a semblance of respectability, resulting in a final score of 37-11.
Turnovers were a big story with the Ticats committing 6 and the Bombers none. Winnipeg’s defence gave up a bunch of yards when they went into prevent mode in the second half, but when you only surrender 11 points, you have had a very good night. And Bomber quarterback Matt Nichols was quietly efficient in his second straight start, throwing for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Nichols hasn’t thrown an interception in the 2 games he has started. Winnipeg’s special teams were also superb, keeping the dangerous Brandon Banks under control all night.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the teams was the spirit, and emotion and passion that the Bombers played with in that first half. From CJ Roberts pick-6 just two minutes into the game, to the end of the opening 30 minutes, the Blue Bombers played with much higher intensity, dominating every aspect of the game.
It was the first home win of the season in four starts, it was the Bombers second win in a row, the first time they have won two straight in over two years. And in my opinion, it sent out a very firm signal that these 2016 Blue Bombers, although still only 3-4, are a team that will be a definite factor in the CFL West Division race.