Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Game Balls

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OFFENCE

Well, for weeks fans have been clamouring for the Bombers to give Chad Simpson the ball and in Week 6, the team finally did. The running back blazed well, especially in the first half when he scampered for two yards to get the Bombers their first touchdown of the game. Simpson finished with 83 yards on 19 carries and added seven more yards on a single reception. That's the most touches he's had all year, though his presence -- not surprisingly -- dipped down as the offence struggled to move the ball on first downs in the second half.

 

DEFENCE

Here, as usual, what fire burns at the heart of the Bombers flickered up, though it wasn't quite enough. While Jovon Johnson looked sharper than he has of late, recording seven tackles, Alex Hall probably had the most obvious standout game. The defensive end and pass-rush monster nailed Lions pivot Travis Lulay with two key sacks, but his greatest play may have come when he knocked the ball out of the quarterback's hands in the first quarter. His defensive colleague JT Gilmore pounced on the pigskin, and that paved the way for the Bombers' first touchdown of the game.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

It was a mixed bag, as was every phase of the Bombers game. But here's a thought. While Lions hoofer Paul McCallum perfectly placed a third-quarter punt into the coffin corner, popping the ball down just under Winnipeg's one-yard line, Mike Renaud marred an otherwise good performance with two missed attempts at doing the same. Those bounced into the end zone for a pair of singles, but would the game have turned differently if he'd manage to pin the Lions deep? Ah well -- at any rate, he finished with eight punts for a rosy average of 51.3 yards.

 

CRITICAL NUMBERS

78

Justin Goltz' pass completion percentage when he nailed seven of his first nine throws, but then...

33

His pass completion percentage for the rest of the game

156

Yards difference between what Lulay (268) and Goltz (112) threw -- in other words, Lulay passed for almost 2.4 times what his opponent managed

1

Number of headsets head coach Tim Burke smashed while on live TV, after having to blow a timeout to fix some on-field confusion

FAN-O-METER:

It was a beautiful night in Vancouver, with the dome at BC Place wide open to the sky, but it may have felt a little hot in the stands as 29,856 fans sweated through the close and oddly nitpicky game. Finally, with 6:19 left to play, the Lions burst open the lead to nine points with a touchdown pass to receiver Courtney Taylor, and the crowd's nerves seemed to evaporate away.

 

-- Melissa Martin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 6, 2013 D3

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