Blue Bomber Report Record: 6–10–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No way Willy was leaving game... stretcher aside

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NOTES, quotes and anecdotes left over from the Labour Day Classic weekend:

  • BOMBER NATION held their breath Sunday when QB Drew Willy, who entered the game with concerns about his throwing hand, went down in a heap early in the second half after having his ankle twisted while being sacked.

Said Willy afterward: "It would take a stretcher for me not to come back in. I love competing against that team more than anything in the world. It's one of those things where once I could plant (my foot) a little bit off it, and (head athletic therapist) Al (Couture) said if I can plant on it I can go back in. I told him I could plant on it, and we did some good things there in the second half. I just wish I could've done more."

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Willy finished the day making 15 of 23 passes for 171 yards with zero TDs and one interception. He also ran for one TD. It marked the third straight game the he has been held to 200 yards passing or less (193 vs. Toronto; 200 vs. Montreal and 171 vs. Saskatchewan.).

"The guys were all coming up to me on the sideline, saying 'Stick in there' and 'We need you out there,' " said Willy. "I never want to let any of my teammates down. They mean so much to me. I just really wish I could've done more to get the win for those guys because they play so hard. We did a lot of good things out there, but I'm sure we'll look at the film and there's going to be mistakes and we need to correct them, because we have this team next week as well."

  • TWO QUOTES from Bomber head coach Mike O'Shea. First, on the Bomber run defence, a crew which surrendered 160 yards along the ground Sunday for a two-game total against the Riders of 346:

"I'm sure that people aren't going to agree with me, but I'm not concerned about it," O'Shea said. "No, I'm not."

Asked to explain further, he added:

"Because we're here and we're in the game and I understand what's going on more than what people see on (TV). That's it. I'm not worried about it."

And O'Shea on his decision to kick a 41-yard field goal with 2:58 left -- it put the Bombers ahead 30-28 -- rather than attempt to keep the ball on third-and-one.

"You take the points. They're there for the taking, go ahead and take them. You always second guess yourself. You gotta go back and look at everything. I had no problem kicking the field goal at that juncture. If you get points on those drives you're doing well."

  • GROWING PAINS? Veteran OL Glenn January on the Bombers' 10th-straight Labour Day Classic loss:

"If anything I hope some of the young guys take confidence out of this. They are a bit naive as to how hard it is to come in here and play Saskatchewan tight. I hope everybody in this locker-room is pissed off right now because that's a game everyone has to expect to win. It was there for the taking.

"There's a lot of young guys on this team and it should be a good learning experience for us."

  • NOTABLE: Former Bomber Henoc Muamba, who was named to the Indianapolis Colts 53-man roster on Saturday, tweeted this out: 'Big thanks to everyone who showed love on this blessed day! Much love! #Godisgood #ColtsNation.'

Interestingly, Muamba will become the first graduate of the CIS AUS Conference -- he is a product of St. Francis-Xavier University in Nova Scotia -- to play in the NFL since current Bomber Steve Morley (St. Mary's) played special teams for the New York Jets in 2005.

Meanwhile, former Bomber receiver Chris Matthews was added to the Seattle Seahawks practice roster on Sunday.

  • NUMBERS GAME: Bomber receiver Aaron Kelly has now gone two games without a catch... Clarence Denmark, who entered the Classic second in the CFL in receiving yards, was limited to one catch for six yards... The Bombers did an excellent job on CFL sack leader John Chick, who did not register a sack or a tackle.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 2, 2014 D2

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