The Winnipeg Blue Bombers now control their destiny going forward from now and the end of the regular season.
Before Saturday's game against the Montreal Alouettes, the two teams had split their previous contests with each team winning at the other team’s house.
For Montreal, a win would secure them another Eastern Final playoff date, while a win for Winnipeg would put them in control of their own future.
A combination of Montreal losses or Winnipeg wins will have Winnipeg finish first in the East and their first playoff bye in many years.
Winnipeg started the game off strong with their defense bringing their game once again when cornerback Jovon Johnson picked off Montreal's Anthony Calvillo on the opening drive.
That turnover allowed Buck Pierce to drive the field and pass to Greg Carr in the end zone for the major and a quick 7-0 lead. On the very next Montreal possession–on the first pass–free safety Ian Logan picked off Calvillo once again. That drive would lead to a missed field goal and single for an 8-0 lead.
Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice made changes to his offensive line this week but the end result was no different than before–although it was no worse. On the other hand, the offensive line for Montreal on the day was unable to keep Anthony Calvillo standing upright and for the better part had him running the field.
At the same time, LaPolice also stated that Jamie Boreham would take over the punting duties from Mike Renaud and ultimately the kick-off duties from Justin Palardy.
That resulted in Winnipeg netting a few singles that came in hand down the stretch but LaPolice certainly would have rather had the coffin corner punts that has been missed all too much this season.
Running back Chris Garrett was again filling the void left by Fred Reid and has done notably well this campaign. Through the last four starts, Garrett has rushed for 353 yards and three touchdowns, including Winnipeg’s first 100 yard rushing game.
The slow offensive start by Winnipeg in the second quarter did not allow the team to take control of the game like they should have, committing six two and outs during the game.
It would be up to Chris Garrett to keep the Bombers afloat with a pair of touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to put the Bombers up 26-25 with under a minute left.
Buck Pierce had two interceptions, both on tipped balls that led to six points for Montreal. Chris Garrett added a fumble to the list but nothing drastic came of it. The receiving core for the most part was quiet as Terrence Edwards was the only player to hit the century mark. The closest player would be Greg Carr at 32 yards, with one touchdown.
Defensively, the team has done what they’ve done all year and that was keeping the team in the game and hope the offense can do just enough to get the win.
Defensive end Odell Willis left the game in the third quarter with an apparent rib injury but was limited in his reps this week. Jason Vega filled in amicably, recording four tackles and two sacks. Fernand Kashama contributed with two of his own sacks and three tackles. Clint Kent and Bryant Turner each contributed another sack on the day.
With the recent results from around the league, one could say that the remaining schedule favours Winnipeg, who play Toronto and Calgary while Montreal plays Calgary and B.C., but each game and team is different from the last.
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