MONTREAL -- So, how much of what was one of the most impressive performances by a Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence in recent memory at Stade Percival Molson Thursday night was the work of new defensive co-ordinator Casey Creehan?
It depends who you asked following a 19-11 Bombers victory over an Alouettes team that mustered just 60 yards of net offence through the first three quarters and only 136 yards overall.
Bombers head coach Tim Burke -- who brought Creehan, his trusty old sidekick, back to Winnipeg the first chance he got last winter -- said this game had Creehan's imprint all over it.
"I thought he did a great job," said Burke. "We just got better as a defence."
True to form, Creehan -- who was the linebackers coach to Burke's defensive co-ordinator on the 2011 Winnipeg "Swaggerville" defence -- wanted nothing to do with the credit.
"We're a team here and we're about a team effort. Every coach on the defensive staff contributes to the game plan. They all did a great job," said Creehan.
"We're all very happy, but I'm sure when we look at the tape (on Friday) there will be some plays we left on the field. But their effort today was outstanding, and as a coach,I think that's all you can ask for."
Actually, Creehan asked for a lot more than that from his defence. With his team clinging to an 8-3 lead, Bombers cornerback Jovon Johnson said Creehan addressed the defence in the Bombers locker-room at halftime.
"He told us the touchdown the offence scored for us gave us enough points to win and the rest was up to us," Johnson recalled. "He gave us the challenge to go out and dominate the second half, and that's what we did."
While he wanted no part of the credit, the performance of the Bombers defence Thursday night was surely sweet personal vindication for Creehan, who was let go last winter after just one disastrous season as the defensive co-ordinator for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012.
The Ticats had the worst defence in the CFL by many different measures in 2012 and there were some who wondered during the off-season why Burke was so quick to hire Creehan.
If there was still any doubt about Creehan's creds as a DC, it's surely gone now after a defensive performance by the Bombers that had even the normally staid Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo nothing short of apoplectic following Thursday night's game.
Bombers cornerback Brandon Stewart said Creehan's defence performed exactly the way it was designed to.
"We went out there, played at a high level, executed and didn't give up the big plays," Stewart said.