CFL 2011 Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Defense Key to Victory Sunday

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CFL 2011 Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Defense Key to Victory Sunday
Harry How/Getty Images

The statement “Defenses win champions” will certainly ring true should the Winnipeg Blue Bombers find themselves hoisting the Grey Cup on Sunday evening.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers secured a trip to the 99th Grey Cup last Sunday with a 19-3 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Eastern finals.

In that game, the Winnipeg defense held Hamilton to just 153 yards passing and 39 rushing yards on slick field conditions.

That’s been Winnipeg’s motto all season long—win the defensive battle and win the game.

They are not a high-scoring offensive team being ranked fifth in the league for average points per game at 24. However, it was their defense that came through time and time again when all odds were against Winnipeg.

You could look at opening week in the CFL when Alex Suber intercepted Kevin Glenn and returned it to the house for the six points that helped Winnipeg to a 24-16 win.

Do not forget about the 33-24 win over the Toronto Argonauts in Week 4 that saw Winnipeg’s defense hold Toronto to just seven points in the three remaining quarters, allowing Buck Pierce to put up 33 points to win the game.

Then you have to look at Week 9 when Joe Lobendahn chased down Chris Williams and stripped him of the ball right at the goal line before Winnipeg recovered the ball and went on to win 30-27.

Those are just some of the examples of the Winnipeg defense that will need to do the same once again on Sunday should Winnipeg look to snap a 20-year Grey Cup drought.

There is no question that Buck Pierce and the Winnipeg offense can put on a clinic at times. Pierce and company have failed to put up the points needed and tend to rely on the defense to make plays.

The offense would only need to manage the game clock as they did Sunday against Hamilton, allowing Chris Garrett the opportunity to burst through holes.

If Winnipeg can find a way to take away Travis Lulay’s first and second reads while Buck Pierce uses his run game to his advantage like he did in the Eastern final and handle the ball, Winnipeg could just be 60 minutes away from hoisting the Grey Cup.

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