December 15, 2018

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Record: 10–8–0

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Blue Bomber Report (10–8–0)

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Pesky Ticats defence had Nichols struggling

Matt Nichol’s stat line wasn’t much to brag about after Winnipeg’s narrow 29-23 triumph over the pesky Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night, but win was still a satisfying outcome for the Blue Bombers quarterback.

The win improved Winnipeg’s record to 5-3, good for a second-place tie with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL’s tough West Division. Nichols is now 4-1 since returning to active duty following a pre-season knee injury.

“Honestly, there were times in the game where I was a little frustrated with how things were going with the offence, obviously,” said Nichols, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

“(Quarterbacks coach) Buck (Pierce) did an unbelievable job of keeping me calm... a lot of wins are ugly. (There were a) couple of blowouts we had the previous weeks and there’s wins like this where you kinda gut it out and make the plays you need to come away with the win.”

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Matt Nichols and Nic Demski celebrate Demski's touchdown during the second half of Friday's game against Hamilton. Nichols completed 13 of 24 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

Matt Nichols and Nic Demski celebrate Demski's touchdown during the second half of Friday's game against Hamilton. Nichols completed 13 of 24 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. (John Woods / The Canadian Press)

Matt Nichol’s stat line wasn’t much to brag about after Winnipeg’s narrow 29-23 triumph over the pesky Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night, but win was still a satisfying outcome for the Blue Bombers quarterback.

The win improved Winnipeg’s record to 5-3, good for a second-place tie with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL’s tough West Division. Nichols is now 4-1 since returning to active duty following a pre-season knee injury.

"Honestly, there were times in the game where I was a little frustrated with how things were going with the offence, obviously," said Nichols, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 180 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

"(Quarterbacks coach) Buck (Pierce) did an unbelievable job of keeping me calm... a lot of wins are ugly. (There were a) couple of blowouts we had the previous weeks and there’s wins like this where you kinda gut it out and make the plays you need to come away with the win."

Nichols was sacked twice and felt pressure from Hamilton’s formidable defence more often than in his previous four starts in 2018.

"Team effort all the way down to the end," said Nichols. "Some wins are different that others. I mean, we scored more points than them — we’ll take the win."

The Ticats’ D, led by linebackers Larry Dean and Simoni Lawrence, kept coming even after the Blue Bombers built a 19-7 halftime lead.

"We kinda knew it going in," said Nichols. "They’re a fast, physical team and especially their defence is that way. They played well tonight; they did a bunch of different stuff to us and I felt like I missed on a couple of throws and a couple of plays we had dialled up, we were kinda there. Especially earlier in the game, I got hit on two of them as the ball was leaving my hand, which could’ve been big plays for us. That’s how it goes sometimes."

While Nichols was struggling, Ticats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli had another good statistical outing, going 17-for-27 passing for 271 yards while also rushing for 80 yards on seven carries.

In the fourth quarter, Nichols led the offence on two important drives — one capped by a Justin Medlock field goal.

"It was a bit of a frustrating one on offence at times but I was proud if the way the guys just stuck to it," said Nichols. "We had a couple of drives toward the end of the game where we cut a lot of clock off to that polint. Especially that last one, it made the difference in how the game ended up. Overall, there’s a lot of thing we have to clean up but I loved how the guys were able to play through some frustrating times in the game."

Winnipeg lost veteran slotback Weston Dressler shortly after he scored on a 10-yard pass from Nichols and although he continued to hold for Medlock’s field goal and conversion attempts, Nichols admitted Dressler’s absence was difficult to overcome.

Rookie Canadian Daniel Petermann filled in admirably, catching two passes for 29 yards.

"He filled in great for us," said Nichols. "Obviously, we do a decent amount of multiple things on offence and moving guys around. There’s a lot of things we kinda have for Dressler. It took us two or three drives to really figure it out."

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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History

Updated on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at 10:57 AM CDT: Fixes halftime score

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