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This article was published 11/7/2014 (1019 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MONTREAL -- They'd won easy in Week 1. They'd won hard in Week 2.
But the question here Friday night was could these new and improved 2014 Winnipeg Blue Bombers win on the road for the first time this season -- and do it against what just might be the best defence in the CFL right now?
The answer didn't come until the last possible moment at Stade Molson. But when it came -- in the form of a late fourth-quarter drive capped off by an 18-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Drew Willy to Julian Feoli-Gudino -- the answer was resounding:
This 2014 Bombers team is not only for real -- they have now won in every possible circumstance and done so in a fashion that is now approaching historic in proportions.
With a 34-33 win over the Montreal Alouettes Friday night, the Bombers have now started the regular season 3-0 for just the third time since 1987 -- and first time since 2003.
And what's more, they've now also now extended their winning streak at Stade Molson -- widely considered one of the toughest places to play in the CFL -- to a remarkable four games.
WHAT'S THE RUSH?
Yes, starting Bombers left guard Chris Greaves was injured and first-time CFL starter Cordaro Howard was lined up in his place.
But Winnipeg's problems on the offensive line Friday night ran much deeper than one man, with Willy under siege all night long by a Montreal pass rush that had their way along the line of scrimmage.
By night's end, Willy had been sacked four times -- and that actually flattered the Bombers on a night they were simply no match for the Als' pass rush.
But all that mattered in the end was Willy was still on his feet in the game's final two minutes to author a remarkable 13-play, 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive.
FLAG ON THE PLAY -- AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
The Bombers and Alouettes combined for a staggering number of penalties, racking up a combined 23 flags for 233 yards in the first half alone.
To put that number in context, the average number of flags in the CFL this season has been 23.5 per game. And even that number is high -- the 188 penalty flags thrown in Week 1 was the most in the CFL since 2007.
The teams finished the night with 33 penalties for a mind-boggling 328 yards.
A CHALLENGING SITUATION
Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea continues to make good use of the challenge flag.
He challenged a non-pass interference call in the first quarter on an incomplete pass from Willy to slotback Clarence Denmark in the Montreal end zone.
Replays clearly showed a Montreal defender with a mittful of Denmark's jersey and O'Shea won the challenge, putting the ball on the Montreal one-yard line and setting the Bombers up for their first touchdown of the game on a plunge by backup QB Robert Marve.
FROM HERO TO GOAT TO ESCAPEE
Bombers punt returner Demond Washington -- the CFL special teams player of last week and the hero of Winnipeg's win over the Ottawa Redblacks thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown -- fumbled punt returns twice in the second half and looked for a while like he was going to be wearing the horns for a loss.
But then Willy found Feoli-Gudino in the end zone in the final minute of the game to snatch a Bombers victory from what looked like certain defeat.
And just like that, Washington had the call from the governor he had been praying for.
"My teammates had my back tonight -- I can't say enough about what they did tonight," Washington said after the game.
"I've got to do better. And I will do better. I can't let that happen again, I won't let that happen again."