December 11, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Our condolences to pivot Max Hall's ribs, as the offensive line looked more turkey than trusty. But in the spirit of the holiday, there was still much to be thankful for in the Bombers' attack. Running back Will Ford bookended the show, building on his dynamo performance in Calgary by hustling for 113 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on 15 touches. Imagine what he could do if he had a line that could open some more tempting holes.
Kudos too, to receiver Clarence Denmark, who made plays happen all game, including that glorious 40-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter.
Still, the Bombers' season-long offensive woes were evident. Alouettes penalties bailed Hall out of two interceptions, but his tendency to throw high burned Aaron Kelly in the second, when the 6-5 receiver leaped to catch a sky-high ball. Then came a gut-crunching hit by Alouettes defensive back Jerald Brown, and Kelly landed awkwardly on his shoulder. Credit to Kelly for trying to redeem the play, but it's not a move he should've had to make.
The Bombers' bulwark was certainly helped by some lifeless offensive play by the Alouettes, but give credit where credit is due: Alex Suber had himself an afternoon, getting right up in receivers' business and sometimes at their feet, as when he dove in front of Arland Bruce III for a fab second-quarter interception. Later that frame, he batted down Brandon London's attempted touchdown catch, forcing the Alouettes to settle for three points.
Other bright lights on the defensive side included Ian Wild, who continued to buy himself a ticket to 2014 with nine tackles and a pair of knockdowns.
Special teams didn't see as much action as usual, as Montreal punted only twice. In the end, the teams were pretty evenly matched on that side of the battle, except for that messy second-quarter play, where Renaud's punt was partially blocked and returned 34 yards by Montreal linebacker Shea Emery. It didn't count as a blocked punt because the ball crossed the line of scrimmage by 13 yards but still, it was ugly. Happily, while Bombers fans feared that announced the start of another gong show, the Blue 'n' Gold recovered from the gaffe to take control of the game.
2 Offensive yards for the Bombers through the first eight minutes of the second quarter, as they struggled to stop Montreal's march
77 Yards they gobbled up in just 1:14 to end that quarter with a touchdown strike to Clarence Denmark
309 Net offensive yards for the Bombers, the first time they've broken 300 since Aug. 16 against Hamilton
1 Where this game ranks in the Bombers' season for points scored, eking out the 33 scored in the Week 1 home loss against Montreal
Only in Montreal: at every game at the McGill stadium, a handful of Quebec nationalists pointedly sit for the Canadian anthem.
Timing is everything: halfway through the first quarter, the TSN broadcast aired a pre-taped interview with head coach Tim Burke talking about how the Bombers were weak at pivot going into the season. Almost on cue, Max Hall threw a pick. That one got walked back thanks to a pass interference penalty to Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox, but hey, it was still pretty funny.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2013 C4