While the start of the game was delayed by 30 minutes due to lightning and sever weather in the area, fans were treated to quite the game at IG Field on Friday night.
Maybe the Winnipeg Blue Bombers brought the weather upon themselves as they planned a white-out game in summer.
The Winnipeg Jets are traditionally known for white-out games. Back in 1987 when an NHL Team’s home colors were white, the Jet’s would plan white out games. It was quite the sight to see on television and in person, especially come playoff time.
So how did Friday night’s game between the Bombers and Ti-Cats become a white out? In 2019, and 2021 Winnipeg beat Hamilton in both those Gray Cups. Both times the Bombers wore their white jerseys. So with the Bombers meeting the Ti-Cats again for the first time since the 2021 Gray Cup, the Bombers decided to wear white. Was it more about reminding Hamilton who the champs are, or trying to keep the magic going? I do not know. But either way, I do know it worked!
For Friday’s game vs. Hamilton, the weather advisory was so sever, that tweets came out regarding the CFL weather policy thread (you might need to read the thread twice).
I can tell you that driving in from my home in Southern Manitoba I was shocked there was not any other delays! The skies looked nasty to the south as I headed to Winnipeg.
If you just want the stats, head here.
The first half of the game was somewhat stagnant as both teams traded some field goals. I did however love that the Bombers opened the game with a deep strike to Ellingson!
Winnipeg would find life near the end of the first half. With 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Bombers QB would hit Demski with a 40 yard toss. Demski got tackled just before crossing the goal line. On the ensuing play, OLIVEIRA would run it in from the 1 yard line for a touchdown.
Winnipeg owned the time of possession, having the ball for 36:24 compared to Hamilton’s 23:36. Additionally, Zach Collaros did go 21/32 and racked up 302 passing yards. However, I was not blown away by Winnipeg’s offence. To me, the Bombers offense still seems to be finding its way.
In the second half the Bomber’s defense played lights out! Good news for the fans, the lights stayed on at IG Field with the weather system looming.
Fans could feel the weather was looming, as the rain continued on and off all night. Also looming was Winnipeg’s defensive stars! While there were many great plays on the defensive side of the ball for the Bombers there are three guys I will highlight.
Jackson Jeffcoat showed up on the stat sheet four times. Three of those times were positive. In the first quarter, Jeffcoat met Erlington at the line of scrimmage and tackled him for no gain.
After a ridiculous penalty call on Winipeg’s Jake Thomas, Jeffcoat knocked down a pass intended for Hamilton receiver, Irons. Had the pass been complete, Hamilton would have successfully got out of the shadows of their goal post. However, the knockdown resulted in second and ten, with Evans throwing another incomplete pass, and Hamilton Punting.
In the third quarter, Jeffcoat read the play and met White in the backfield and drilled him for a four yard loss. At that point the score was 15-9 for Winnipeg and Hamilton was around mid-field. That series would end with Hamilton not getting any points and punting the ball.
Jeffcoat would make his presence felt on anther play that did no tend up on the stat sheet when he pass rushed at Hamilton’s Van Zeyl, knocking him down, and knocking him out of the game for some time.
Jefferson was in on the action providing heavy pressure on Hamilton quarterback Evans all game long! Officially he showed up on the stat sheet in the second quarter tackling Hamilton receiver Addison, keeping him to a measly two yard gain.
Erlington would not have any more success when he ran at Jefferson. Jefferson corralled Erlington in the backfield and dropped him hard for a one yard loss.
On the very next play, Jefferson was in the backfield again! This time he rocked Hamilton’s quarterback for a massive ten yard loss. Based on the amount of time Winnipeg was in the Hamilton back field, you would have thought they had bought a season pass and the guy at the gate just waved them through.
With just under nine minutes remaining in the game, Jefferson would bring the crowd to their feet. Like a grown adult reading a child’s book, Jefferson easily read the play and intercepted Evans. Without even kicking it into full gear, Jefferson outran would-be tacklers and scored a touch-down, which blew the lid off IG Field. (Winnipeg loves Jefferson interceptions…at least they do now that he does not play for the rectangular shaped province.)
While Adam Bighill was wreaking havoc all game with pressure and coverages, his stand out play was his annihilating hit on Dunbar. The hit was so vicious, that Dunbar lost the ball, and Winnipeg’s Nick Taylor plucked it out of the air. I could write more about it, but watching it far surpasses reading about it. You might need to watch it multiple times to fully appreciate it.
Notables: Marc Liegghio
After Week 3 I’m sure he’s more Liegghi-oh-ya, than Liegghi-oof, or Liegghi-oh-oh! Something that I was not yet convinced about coming into this game.
Going three for three on field goals, with a longest of 45 yards, and nine punts for an average of 54.6 yards, and along of 74 booming yards, Liegghio is bringing the practice field to the playing field. For more on what Liegghio can do on the practice field click here.
Those three players (Jeffcoat, Jefferson, and Bighill) really embodied the game and the game that the Winnipeg defense played. Yes, Winnipeg’s offence put up 19 points (the defence put up 7 points).Yes, the running game was starting to come together. Yet of those 19 points, 9 were field goals, 3 were singles, 1 was a point after, and there was only one touchdown. I get it, your offence must move the ball down the field to score touchdowns, so they were moving the ball. However, in 2022 we still have not seen the offence perform like they did in 2019.
Even though Winnipeg is 3-0 on the season they still have room to improve.
When listening to Game Day after Dark Week 2 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers, someone in the live chat summed up the 2022 Bombers best when they said something like, “The Winnipeg defense is winning games while the offence continues to find itself.”
Check back later this week for my Week 3 edition of Balls & Jocks – Who Stuck Out For All The Right/Wrong Reasons. For the Week 2 edition click here.
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
– Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans
Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1