Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Another nail-biter for Blue

Willy, Bombers snatch win with no-time-left touchdown pass

  • Print

Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press

Hamilton Tiger-Cats' quarterback Dan LeFevour, right, runs the ball past Winnipeg Blue Bombers' defensive tackle Jake Thomas, left, during the first half of Thursday's game.

HAMILTON — From dominant to desperate in one game, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers again needed a last-minute miracle Thursday.

And once again they found one, driving 94 yards in the final 100 seconds of the game for a two-yard touchdown catch from Nic Grigsby with no time left on the clock to power a 27-26 CFL win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

The game was played in Ron Joyce Stadium on the campus of McMaster University in the west part of the city, since the Tabbies’ new facility, Tim Hortons Field, is not yet complete.

The dramatic finish boosted the Bombers to 5-1 to start the season, only the second time that’s happened since 1987.

They have won three out of three on the road so far, including a nail-biter of a one-point win in Montreal in Week 3.

Hamilton, with three tight defeats of four points or less now this season, dropped to 1-4.

The telling moment

With second and goal from the Hamilton two, down 26-20, the Bombers walked to the line of scrimmage as the fourth-quarter clock ran out.

With the snap and one shot at glory, quarterback Drew Willy turned his attention to the left sideline and lofted a soft ball that running back Grigsby caught. Lirim Hajrullahu’s extra point then ended the game.

"It was man coverage and it was a designed play," said Grigsby, who rushed for a 16-yard major in the third quarter. "Willy was supposed to put the ball right on me but the defender went underneath us so he put it over the top.

"(The defender) tried to undercut the ball and Willy, he played great all game, he saw the back come underneath and he just put it over the top and I’m just like, there’s nobody back here, just please let me be in bounds. And it landed right in my hands.

"It was too good to be true but it was in the air too long. I didn’t know if there was somebody behind me or what but I didn’t want to jump. I just followed it all the way to the last moment and it landed in my hands."

All or nothing

The last play was everything, and Willy said he had two options to the far left sideline.

"I was looking at Denny (Clarence Denmark) in the corner and I knew I had Grigsby in the flat," Willy said. "I saw them both covered and I just wanted to give enough air so one of those guys could go up and make a play. Luckily Grigsby came away with the ball. I’m not going to say it was a skillful play because it wasn’t. It was just one of those ones — we practise it all the time and we just made a play."

Almost got away

The Bombers controlled the first half (245-22 in offensive yards) and surged to a 20-3 lead with Grigsby’s touchdown run on their first possession of the second half.

But the Cats roared to life after doing next to nothing in the first half, scoring 23 straight points on three touchdowns and a safety. One of the majors was a 66-yard punt return by Quincy McDuffie.

The teams then traded possessions until Winnipeg took over at its own 16 with 1:40 to go.

"We’ve been in this situation before so I think they were more prepared to handle it," said head coach Mike O’Shea. "Going a little deeper, they trusted each other, they rely on their teammates and guys made plays down the stretch when they had to to allow us to win.

"It was a great last drive, no time on the clock. It’s a good win for us. We don’t want to keep having to do it that way, that’s for sure. We recognize that we made some mistakes and it cost us and it looked like Hamilton was ready to take it but these guys just believed in each other and no one gave up.

"When you get guys who are going to stick with their teammates and stick together, it’s a great thing."

Up next

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in Winnipeg next Thursday.

 

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Live Blog Bomber game day
 
History

Updated on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 6:43 PM CDT: Updates first quarter score; changes headline.

8:37 PM: Updates score; changes headline.

9:00 PM: Updates with final score; changes headline.

9:26 PM: Replaces pre-gamer with Canadian Press post-game story.

9:31 PM: Replaces photo.

10:22 PM: Adds slideshow

10:56 PM: Replaces Canadian Press post-game story with Free Press post-gamer.

August 1, 2014 at 8:08 AM: Corrects spelling of McDuffie

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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this week - December 8-12

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......
  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google