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This article was published 15/6/2017 (1678 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Matt Nichols wasn't crazy about a 38-38 tie with the Edmonton Eskimos Thursday night, but the Winnipeg's No. 1 quarterback was pleased to have his offence operating at a fairly efficient clip in the club's final pre-season game.
Nichols played the entire first half at Investors Group Field, completing 19 of 24 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also finished the night interception free and drove the Blue Bombers for a 40-yard TD pass to Darvin Adams to tie the game at 17-17 heading to the locker room.
"The plan was probably (to play) the first half, depending on how things went," said Nichols. "But overall, I felt like we put some good drives together on offence and we had the ball backed up against our goal line a couple of times and got it out of there. We had some long drives out of our own end and put up some points.
"The other guys came in the second half and did the same thing. Overall, a good performance. Obviously, there's some things we need to clean up and penalties were huge for us tonight."
After a less-than-impressive performance in Winnipeg's 25-25 pre-season tie with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, Nichols found his rhythm playing with most of the club's first-team offensive players.
"We knew we just had to get that initial first down and get our no-huddle groove and make some plays – that's what ended up happening," said Nichols. "You can never be too satisfied when you come out with a tie because we kinda felt we had that game in hand and let it slip away from us," said Nichols.
The Blue Bombers (0-0-2) have 15 days before they open their regular season July 1 in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They have an unusual Week 1 bye, which could be a blessing or a curse.
Nichols prefers to see the glass as half full.
"We have two weeks to kinda figure it out, who's going to be where," said Nichols. "But whoever the coaches decide to put in there, I have all the faith in the world in."
The extra prep time, he said, will be valuable. He expects to spend time ironing out problem areas with his teammates.
"For me, it's going to be me making sure I have these guys in here, without the coaches, and just running through some things we can work on as players," said Nichols. "And keep that chemistry going. It'll be nice for us, honestly, to have a game film on Sask before we play them, which is always nice. Because the first week is always a toss-up with what you're gonna get. I think we'll get a good idea what their plan is gonna be before we actually have to play them."
The Blue Bombers got some good work from their two veteran backup quarterbacks.
Dominque Davis played the third quarter and went 6-for-8 for 101 yards and also ran for a major. Dan LeFevour came on for the fourth quarter, completed all three of his passes for 27 yards and ran for a TD as well.
The Bombers must cut down to their 46-man active roster, practice roster and injured players by 9 p.m. Saturday. Since they start their regular season on July 1, they do not need to announce their injured list until June 30.
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.