Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

-1°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Latest News

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Alouettes come back to beat Bombers 38-33

Posted: 06/27/2013 9:16 PM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 06/28/2013 12:25 AM | Updates

Advertisement

  • Print

It started inauspiciously enough for the home side – imagine a ship christening where the champagne bottle swings right through the hull – but in the end the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes did up the debut of Investors Group Field in style.

The two clubs served up an absolute dandy in the first-ever game in Winnipeg’s spiffy new stadium Thursday night, the only flaw – at least for Bomber faithful – was the result in the Canadian Football League season opener: Alouettes 38 Bombers 33.

Down 14-0 before the game was five minutes old, the Bombers rallied in the second half, only to sputter when it mattered to Anthony Calvillo & Co.

Indeed, the Bombers overcame a 23-13 deficit at halftime by out-scoring Montreal 20-1 in the third quarter, but then had no gas left to take it to the finish line.

Calvillo, the 40-year-old Bomber killer, connected with S.J. Green on a 42-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Sean Whyte added a pair of late field goals and the Als defence then stymied the Bomber attack until the final gun.

As a result, Winnipeg opens at 0-1 and the Als go to 1-0. These same two clubs meet next Thursday in Montreal.

"We got down in the first half by turning the ball over," said cornerback Jovon Johnson. "But we bounced back and put ourselves in position to win and that’s all you can ask for. We shocked a lot of people... I don’t think nobody even expected us to be in the game after being down 14-0. We know we can beat that team, it’s just a matter of us limiting our mistakes and hopefully we get some breaks next time.

"(Coach Tim Burke) just told us to stay on course, stay on track. That’s a good football team we played against but we can’t turn the ball over. We’ve got to put ourselves in the position to win because the margin of victory is that small."

The Bombers got TDs from Clarence Denmark and Chris Matthews on passes from Buck Pierce with Demond Washington providing a spark with an 80-yard punt return score. Justin Palardy was a perfect three for three in field goals, with a long of 48.

Calvillo wasn’t perfect, but he was deadly when it mattered, completing 20 of 35 passes for 264 yards with one TD and one interception. Montreal forced five Bomber turnovers, including three interceptions by Pierce, who finished 19 of 34 for 258 yards.

The game started disastrously for the home side, as Pierce was intercepted on the Bombers very first play from scrimmage by Geoff Tisdale. Three plays later Chris Jennings was dancing into the end zone for a three-yard score, the first touchdown in IGF history. It got worse less than two minutes later when Mike Renaud’s 39-yard punt was returned 78 yards by Tyron Carrier for another TD and a 14-zip lead for the visitors less than five minutes into the game.

But to their credit, the Bombers came to life on their next possession as a Pierce-to-Denmark 45-yard strike set up a Palardy 35-yard field goal. Winnipeg would cut into the Als’ lead late in the quarter when a Calvillo pass bounced off Brandon Stewart’s foot into the arms of Washington, who returned the gift 49 yards to the Montreal six-yard line.That mistake was capped off two plays later when Pierce hit Matthews, playing on a bum ankle, for a three-yard TD.

After the emotional roller-coaster start, things slowed considerably in the second quarter. Montreal got 36 and 35 yard-field goals by Whyte to jump ahead 20-11 and then conceded a safety that cut the gap to 20-13. That’s when Calvillo went to work, driving the Als 78 yards on 11 plays down to the two-yard line before having to settle for a Whyte nine-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

The Bombers would roar back into the contest in the third quarter, out-scoring the Als 20-1 as Pierce hit Denmark and then Washington returned the punt for a TD that gave the Bombers their first lead of the game.

But as fans have seen so many times before, that’s when Calvillo and the Als defence went to work. The Als pivot did just enough to move the club – he connected with Green for the one score while driving Whyte into position to two of his fourth-quarter field goals. All told, Whyte was a perfect five for five.

"We really killed ourselves in the first half. We had three big turnovers in the first half that spotted them 14 points real early. We were battling from behind. We came out and put up a lot of points early in the third but we’ve got to continue to do that.

"We got stuck down there in our own end in the fourth quarter and never could get out of there and gave them point after point. We’ve got to get better."

Before the kickoff the pre-game ceremony was done up right by the dignitaries and legendary players.

A half hour pre-game show to open the new facility, co-hosted by Chris Walby — one of the greatest to ever wear Bomber colours – and Laura Lussier, was capped by a very cool moment for the club’s long faithful:

Legendary receiver Milt Stegall catching a perfect spiral from Matt Dunigan and then racing to midfield to bust through a gold ribbon.

The opening ceremonies featured all the usual pomp and circumstance, including a historical video montage accompanied by the University of Manitoba orchestra and bag pipes, and some of the folks instrumental in getting the facility built like David Asper and Mayor Sam Katz. There was a video message from former Bomber head coach Mike Riley from his office at Oregon State and a number of ex players, including Lyle Bauer, James Murphy, Bob Cameron, Trevor Kennerd, Paul Bennett, Wade Miller, Rod Hill, Paul Robson and Pepe Latourelle were all on hand at centre field, along with Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon.

The loudest cheers came with Ken Ploen, wearing his old No. 11, entered the stadium with the game ball, capping up the Kickoff Run that weaved through the province and for Stegall, who had the place hopping as he bounded down the field in full uniform.

And, predictably, the Alouettes received a chorus of boos as the entered the stadium. But most important for the visitors, they exited with a ‘W.’

Ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

  • Investors Group Field was the scene of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' season-opener against the Montreal Alouettes Thursday.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Investors Group Field was the scene of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' season-opener against the Montreal Alouettes Thursday.

  • Fans take in the action at Investors Group Field.

    Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press

    Fans take in the action at Investors Group Field.

  • A packed house waves towels at Investors Group Field.

    Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

    A packed house waves towels at Investors Group Field.

  • Winnipeg Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce yells instructions to teammates during the first quarter.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce yells instructions to teammates during the first quarter.

  • Montreal Alouettes' Tyron Carrier (35) returns a punt 78 yards for a touchdown during the first half.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Montreal Alouettes' Tyron Carrier (35) returns a punt 78 yards for a touchdown during the first half.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Chris Matthews (right) celebrates the team's first-ever touchdown in the new stadium with teammate Jade Etienne.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Chris Matthews (right) celebrates the team's first-ever touchdown in the new stadium with teammate Jade Etienne.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Chris Matthews (13) celebrates his touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during the first half.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Chris Matthews (13) celebrates his touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during the first half.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle JT Gilmore takes a break during second-quarter action.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle JT Gilmore takes a break during second-quarter action.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce takes a break during the second quarter.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce takes a break during the second quarter.

  • Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo (13) throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half.

    John Woods / The Canadian Press

    Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo (13) throws against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during the first half.

  • Montreal's Noel Devine (5) sails through Alex Suber (21) and Desia Dunn (23) of the Bombers Thursday.

    Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

    Montreal's Noel Devine (5) sails through Alex Suber (21) and Desia Dunn (23) of the Bombers Thursday.

  • Chris Matthews of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is taken out of the play by Byron Parker (20) and Chip Cox (11) of the Alouettes in the second quarter.

    Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

    Chris Matthews of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is taken out of the play by Byron Parker (20) and Chip Cox (11) of the Alouettes in the second quarter.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke scopes out the action during second-quarter action.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke scopes out the action during second-quarter action.

  • Montreal Alouettes' S.J. Green (19) is taken down by Winnipeg Blue Bomber Demond Washington in the second quarter.

    Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

    Montreal Alouettes' S.J. Green (19) is taken down by Winnipeg Blue Bomber Demond Washington in the second quarter.

  • Blue Bombers Chris Greaves (left) and Chris Matthews celebrate the team's first touchdown against at Investors Group Field.

    Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press

    Blue Bombers Chris Greaves (left) and Chris Matthews celebrate the team's first touchdown against at Investors Group Field.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers Brandon Stewart (8) up-ends Montreal Allouettes' S.J. Green (19) during third-quarter action.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers Brandon Stewart (8) up-ends Montreal Allouettes' S.J. Green (19) during third-quarter action.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce scrambles with the ball during the third quarter.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce scrambles with the ball during the third quarter.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce scrambles with the ball as Kyries Hebert of the Montreal Alouettes gives chase during the third quarter.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce scrambles with the ball as Kyries Hebert of the Montreal Alouettes gives chase during the third quarter.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce throws the ball during the third quarter.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce throws the ball during the third quarter.

  • Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo throws during fourth-quarter action.

    JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

    Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo throws during fourth-quarter action.

History

Updated on Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 9:44 PM CDT: updates at halftime

10:16 PM: fixed caption

10:18 PM: Fix cutline

10:42 PM: updates after third quarter

11:27 PM: updates with game-over write thru.

11:34 PM: adds slideshow

12:25 AM: adds post-game quotes, video

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.