VANCOUVER—He’d insisted all week long that it was just another game.
But it wasn’t, of course - Nick Moore’s return here to BC Place Friday night was an extraordinary game for a slotback who spent his first three CFL seasons here as a member of the BC Lions before signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last winter as a free agent.
And in the end, Moore’s performance matched the moment as he hauled down 7 catches for 99 yards in a 23-6 Bombers win that represented Moore’s best performance yet as a member of the Blue and Gold.
"I had to hold my emotions back before the game. They got the best of me a little bit. I got a little bit choked up just being back here," Moore conceded Friday night in a jubilant Bombers locker room.
"It felt good. I have lifetime friends on that (Lions) team and we’ve talking junk back and forth, a little harmless. But now I’ve got the upper hand. We still play two more times but I get to mess with them a little bit now."
Moore said the Bombers win over BC was monumental, coming as it did in the most hostile stadium in the league for visiting CFL teams and just a week after a 26-3 shellacking at the hands of the Edmonton Eskimos at home.
"Absolutely -- it’s huge, especially after going on the road after a loss. It’s hard -- the one thing you don’t want to do in this league is lose two games in a row. And we got back to work this week, we worked hard and it showed today."
It’s not often that two CFL teams combine for just 1 touchdown in a game, but Drew Willy’s 37-yard TD pass to Clarence Denmark in the 3rd quarter proved to be monumental on a night when field goals and one single made up the balance of the scoring.
Most of the yards on Denmark’s major took place after he made the catch and Willy tipped his helmet to the work his teammates did to get the ball into the endzone on the play.
"It was a good play call," said Willy. "I think Nick Moore and Rory Kohlert got a couple of good blocks out there and then Denny took it over with his speed. If we can get yards after the catch, then we’re going to be dangerous."
Willy said he liked what a tough road win after a bad loss at home said about the grit in his team.
"It just shows the character of the guys," said Willy. "I thought guys really locked in and the O-line did a really good job tonight. We’ll look at the film -- I’m sure there was some mistakes. But anytime you can get a win that was pretty decisive, it was fun to be a part of."
Lost amidst all the jubilation of a hard-fought Bombers win Friday night was a monumental moment in the professional career of Bombers receiver Brett Carter.
The Winnipeg native hauled down his first professional catch Friday night, which history will record was a 13-yarder from Drew Willy with 3:14 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
"If I get to play, I’m going to catch what’s thrown in front of me," Carter beamed after the game. "I got that one throw to me and I wasn’t going to let that go through my hands.
"I was just glad I got that first catch and it’s over and done with and now we can move on and I can hopefully get some more catches...
"I was obviously really happy about it afterward. It’s been a long journey and process, but it’s all worth it for that moment."
With all eyes upon them - and in the face of what was a voracious BC Lions pass rush - the much-maligned Bombers offensive line had a pretty good night Friday.
While Drew Willy was sacked twice, he generally had time all night to plant his feet and make good decisions in the pocket.
It wasn’t perfect, but line play seldom is. "Hats off to B.C.," said Bombers centre Steve Morley. "At the end of the day, she wasn’t pretty but she was a winner. The coaches are ecstatic - and as long as the coaches are happy, I’m happy."
The O-line’s performance came in a week in which Dan Knapp and Cordaro Howard swapped positions, with Howard moving to right tackle and Knapp to left guard.
"We were able to cut down on the sacks and come together as a unit," said Bombers left tackle Glenn January. "We had some guys moving spots and so for a group that’s been under pressure, it feels special to come into a tough situation and get a victory."