Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Montreal Alouettes, July 11, 2014 Photos by: The Canadian Press
Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 11/7/2014 (2531 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
MONTREAL — Thirteen plays. Seventy-five yards. One minute, 49 seconds. Two third downs.
And one perfectly thrown 18-yard touchdown pass from Drew Willy to Julian Feoli-Gudino.
That was the 11th-hour recipe the Winnipeg Blue Bombers conjured up in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter Friday night to turn what was looking like it was going to be Winnipeg’s first loss of the 2014 season into its most dramatic victory instead — 34-33 over the Montreal Alouettes.
And just like that, Willy — a man who had started just four games in his entire professional career prior to this year — has now won all three of his regular-season starts since taking over as the starting QB for the Bombers this season.
And Feoli-Gudino — a Montreal native who grew up watching the Alouettes at Stade Molson and who was pressed into a starting role Friday night only because non-import slotback Cory Watson was hurt — is suddenly the most unlikely of Bombers heroes.
"It feels great — at home and on a third down. It was amazing," Feoli-Gudino said of his game-winning catch, which came in the final minute and with the Bombers down to their last gasp at third and 10.
"It was a big team effort and I had to make a play at the end like all the guys did during the whole game. It’s a big win for the team."
Down 33-28 with 2:18 to play, the Bombers took over at their own 35-yard line and were looking at a long and daunting field on a night they had mustered just 199 yards of net offence to that point
But with the game on the line, Willy used the run — a 15-yard scramble got the ball to the Bombers 50 — and then short passes to Feoli-Gudino, Rory Kohlert, Nic Grigsby and Nick Moore to get the ball to the Montreal 18.
The 11-yard pass to Moore — the big-money free agent the Bombers acquired in the off-season — was particularly big, coming as it did on a third-and-five.
But after back-to-back incomplete passes from the Montreal 18 and the Bombers the game ultimately turned on Willy finding Feoli-Gudino, who was a bit special-teamer on the Toronto Argonauts last year and signed as a free agent over the winter with the Bombers, who saw something in him as an offensive threat the Argos never recognized.
Willy said he had no hesitation in entrusting Feoli-Gudino with the biggest catch of this young Bombers season.
"That’s kind of where the read took me," Willy said. "And Julian — he’s been making plays all season. I didn’t know him before this season but he’s been very, very reliable for me. Just like the other guys have been as well.
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"Everybody kind of had their moment as well. It was just one of those things — the defence kept us in it and we were able to make a play on that last drive."
The Bombers lost the net offence yardage battle decisively — 385-274. Moore led the Bombers in receiving yards with seven catches for 84 yards, including an absolute beauty in the second half that saw him go fully extended to haul in a 49-yarder.
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.
Bombers QB Drew Willy made the best out of what little time he had Friday to actually set his feet and throw, finishing the night 24-for-38 for 256 yards and one game-winning touchdown that came with just 28 seconds remaining.
Bombers DE Jason Vega had a sack and forced a Troy Smith fumble in the second quarter that led to a 70-yard TD return for LB Desia Dunn. Honourable mention to CB Chris Randle, whose 28-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter set the stage for the last-minute heroics.
The Bombers had a rough night on special teams, with place kicker Lirim Hajrullahu getting a convert blocked and returner Demond Washington fumbling two punt returns. Give the edge on an otherwise ugly night to rookie Paris Cotton, who returned six kickoffs for 157 yards, including a 51-yarder, in his CFL debut.
12/120: Penalties and yards penalized by Montreal in the first half.
11/113: Penalties and yards penalized by Winnipeg in the first half.
4: Consecutive wins in Montreal by the Bombers.
Former NFLer Chad (Ocho Cinco) Johnson made his first CFL touchdown a memorable one for Alouettes fans, pulling down a 46-yard pass from Troy Smith in traffic at the goal line midway through the first quarter — and then jumping back up and hugging a nearby official in celebration.
Als GM Jim Popp on Friday afternoon tweeted a photo of Als backup QB Tanner Marsh, along with the caption: ‘4 hours until Marsh Madness hits the field.’
That prompted speculation Montreal might be going with backup Tanner Marsh instead of projected starter Troy Smith. In the end it was all much ado about nothing.