Bombers crush B.C. Lions in QB Matt Nichols’ season debut

Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Matt Nichols’ wallet is going to be a lot lighter this week.

After the quarterback guided the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-2) to a convincing 41-19 victory over the B.C. Lions (1-2) in his season debut on Saturday, Nichols said he’s planning to show his appreciation to the offensive line.

“They did an unbelievable job tonight and I’ll make sure that they’re taken care of and well-rewarded for games like that,” Nichols said.

“They have a deal when we win with no sacks that they get a nice steak dinner so we’ll figure that out and maybe sweeten the pot with something on top of that, too, ’cause you don’t get many games like that.”

Nichols, who injured his right knee during a practice at training camp last month, didn’t get sacked once as he completed 16-of-29 pass attempts for 162 yards with one touchdown toss to Darvin Adams and no interceptions.

He said he felt “great” to get back in the huddle, but missed a few throws that he wanted back in the first game of a home-and-home series.

Bombers running back Andrew Harris said he was hoping to go along for the dinner for contributing some blocks. He also benefited from the offensive line, rushing 12 times for 109 yards with a four-yard touchdown. He added four catches for 22 yards.

“I wouldn’t really call it a breakout,” Harris said of his performance. “We just got in a rhythm. Those five guys in front of me were doing their job. I was able to make some guys miss and accumulate yardage. It was a great game all round.”

Nichols shared the scoring spotlight with rookie backup Chris Streveler, who started the first three games of the season. Streveler ran in a pair of one-yard touchdowns.

“It adds another dynamic,” Nichols said of Streveler’s skills.

Streveler was 3-for-5 passing for 45 yards and ran five times for 33 yards, including a 26-yard romp in front of 26,567 fans, who viewed the game under sweltering conditions at Investors Group Field. It was 34 C at kickoff, but 44 C with the humidity.

The Lions could have a different starting quarterback when the teams play the rematch next Saturday in B.C.

Jonathon Jennings was 15-for-24 for 105 yards with two interceptions, both to former Lions middle linebacker Adam Bighill, who ran the second pick 54 yards for a touchdown. It was the 10th interception of Bighill’s seven-year career, but his first pick-six. He played for the Lions from 2011-16.

Jennings hasn’t thrown for more than 200 yards in a game this season.

“Our passing game has to be a lot more efficient than it is right now. It’s not very efficient at all,” Lions head coach Wally Buono said.

B.C. veteran pivot Travis Lulay, who had off-season knee surgery, dressed as a backup but didn’t see any action.

Buono said the team’s difficulties don’t stem from just one player, but he’d consider a quarterback change for the rematch.

“That’s obvious, right?” he said. “It depends on who’s out there and who’s available.”

Will Lulay be ready to start next week?

“I’m not going to say he is or isn’t,” Buono said. “He made a lot of progress this week and I’m hoping that he makes a lot more progress next week.”

Jennings said the game was disappointing “through and through.”

“We just know we’re better than that,” he said. “I know I’m much better than that. It’s frustrating when you don’t go out there and do it so we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and figure it out.”

Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock made five converts and hit field goals from 31 and 21 yards out.

Lions running back Jeremiah Johnson pushed in two yards for a touchdown and backup quarterback Cody Fajardo added a one-yard TD run with 13 seconds left in the game. A two-point convert failed. Kicker Tyler Long was good on his one convert and booted field goals from 19 and 42 yards.

B.C. opened the scoring with a 19-yard field goal from Long, but Winnipeg responded with four straight touchdowns on the way to a 28-10 halftime lead.


33 Comments on Bombers crush B.C. Lions in QB Matt Nichols’ season debut

  1. Stampeding // July 8, 2018 at 12:12 am //

    There is no doubt who the best team in this league is.

  2. ARSE 51 and ManyHandles MUST be BANNED // July 8, 2018 at 12:17 am //

    How come you do not realize what a pain in the backside you are. If people hated me as much as they hate you, I”d be too embarrassed to show up here.

  3. Johnny Jennings is an absolutely atrocious QB.

    As I’ve explained numerous times, Jennings has ZERO ability to read coverage and is hopelessly inaccurate with his throws.

    Three games so far this year and Jennings hasn’t managed to pass for more than 200yds even once. Tonight he was so pitiful that he barely put up 100yds passing.

    Lions Fan promised us everything was the fault of OC Khari Jones and assured everyone that having Jarious Jackson as the OC would “fix” everything.

    Jarious is a good coach but he can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

    And that’s exactly what Johnny Jennings’ game is.

    • Such a bad quarterbacking performance by John Jennings over the first three regular season games; reminds me very much of the old days when Paul Brothers was the QB of the Lions and the Lions were UNWATCHABLE. The Lions will not get any fans as long as John Jennings is the QB as the Lions have NO hope with Jennings the starting QB. Expect a deserted stadium at BC Place next week. Braley will wish that he sold the Lions two seasons ago. The only good thing that the Lions HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO is that with Buono gone NEXT season Jennings WILL be to. Hearvey will not put up with Jennings SHIT play after this season; Hearvy will instead lure Rielly away from the Eskimos when he becomes a free agent during the off season. Then Jennings can go and play (and lose) for the Eskimos whenever he starts there. There is only one QB is the CFL WORSE then Jennings and that is Drew Willey.

  4. Stampeding // July 8, 2018 at 12:30 am //

    You could make a strong case that Winnipeg is the best team in the league. Probably the best QB duo in the league, and great Canadians.
    But since rider fans felt the need to come on here for no other reason than troll me unprovoked,I will say the riders aren’t in the conversation.

    • Puck Hog // July 8, 2018 at 12:49 am //

      Reading things that aren’t there, Red. There must be someone else in Calgary who can help you.

    • ARSE 51 and ManyHandles MUST be BANNED // July 8, 2018 at 1:00 am //


      • Stampeding // July 8, 2018 at 1:04 am //

        “There is no doubt who the best team in this league is.”

        That’s my comment, what the hell is that to you Yup???

        • Touchy this evening little man. You have to make your own soup ?

          • MR. Green // July 8, 2018 at 1:27 am //

            He’s just upset. He likely made the rounds to visit family, when he drove up he swears the light were on,but when he walked to the door and knocked it was dark and quiet, so he left.

          • Ya…and no Rider game coming up so he’s completely lost.

  5. Lions were officially eliminated from the playoffs before the season ever began, so let’s not get too excited about the Bombers victory tonight.

    As long as the inept scrub Matt Nichols is starting, that streak of 27 consecutive failures will continue.

  6. The best quarterbacks are Reilly, Mitchell, Harris, and Masoli.Mitchell has the best team behind him on offence and defence that will make them difficult to defeat this season.

    • Unless you play Calgary in the Grey Cup. Then you are almost certain to win.

    • We’ll see if Calgary decides to spend Grey Cup week hitting the bars every night again this year.

      You’d think they would have learned from that after the 2016 debacle.

      Or at least the coaches would have reigned them in a bit instead of taking them to the bar the night before the 2017 Grey Cup.

      Did they get rid of enough pisstanks in the off season?

  7. MR. Green // July 8, 2018 at 1:25 am //

    Tough season so far. Seems teams are catching teams every game at the right time.
    Lulay needs to get playing so . Looks like he will be ready next week since he dressed. Bighill, 1st star of the week.
    Winnipeg fans, I can get with your frustration on Hall’s defence, but I think they will be a top 3 D after game 18. When he was here seemed every second season he put it together. So next year they will be like last year.

  8. BlueBomberChris // July 8, 2018 at 1:28 am //

    Hot humid night for football in the Manitoba capital. You can see BC was trying to send a message for the grudge match next week with all the late game shenanigans; I’m a little disappointed our guys indulged.

    So was Jennings just a one season wonder? Is it a confidence thing? Certainly doesn’t look like the QB from a couple seasons ago. Bighill had a great game against his former team, that pick six to quell any comeback hopes was probably a nice topper for him.

    Here’s to more of the same next week! 😉

    • Good game tonight BBC.

      • BlueBomberChris // July 8, 2018 at 2:01 am //

        Thank you Yup it was. Tip of the cap to your win the other night as well.

        Every week we match results just adds more weight to our annual September slugfests. Those games are always more enjoyable when the Bombers are in the west and both teams are good/playing well.

        • At this stage I’m giving the edge to your Bombers. Set up at QB and Harris ran for over a hundred at the half. D looked pretty good too.

    • The problem with Johnny Jennings is that he’s incapable of making accurate throws in the short to intermediate range.

      The first INT to Bighill was an embarrassingly bad pass. Should have been benched immediately but because he’s Buono’s favourite pet, Jennings was allowed to continue making a fool of himself by trying to play QB.

      It was obvious as soon as he came into the league that Jennings’ only real ability was to throw the ball as high and as far as he possibly could then hope Arscenaux or Burnham could win the jump ball.

      • Bomber Fan In The Stands // July 8, 2018 at 2:33 am //

        Maybe he could benefit from a little “pop gun” offence….?

        • Did you not read my previous comments?

          “The problem with Johnny Jennings is that he’s incapable of making accurate throws in the short to intermediate range.”

          Impossible for Jennings to succeed in a pop gun style of offence that Winnipeg runs.

    • Yes, another ASS KICKING by the Bombers next week, if Jennings starts next week. Guaranteed “WIN” night for the Bombers (and every other team in the CFL except the Alouettes if Jennings is the starter. Third straight game Jennings has thrown for under 200 yards, just will NOT result in ay wins for the Lions (except against the Alouettes)….Buono bench Jennings for the next game…he does NOT deserve to start.

  9. Congrats Bombers on a one-sided victory against B.C. Your team is looking pretty darn good.

  10. The Lions are an embarrassment to watch. BC Dave how did Jennings play tonight? Are you still going to come on here and say he “started slow and played okay after a slow start like you did when the Lions beat the Alouettes”. As soon as Lulay is healthy Jennings should be benched. I agree with A51’s assessment of Jennings as a QB. Jennings cannot throw the long ball and is also very inaccurate throwing short passes, as is evident with Bighill’s 2nd interception when Jennings threw the ball behind the receiver and into coverage (Biggie had tight coverage on the play). Jennings appears unable to be able to “read” a defense (coverage). The Lions, like the Alouettes, will be lucky to win three games (with Jennings at QB); it is obvious that the only team the Lions are capable of beating IS the Alouettes…too bad we only play them twice this season…LOL.

  11. Dan Bombers // July 8, 2018 at 9:47 am //

    Big win big 2 points

  12. Nicholas Babyck // July 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm //

    I am not here to be “that rider fan” I thought Matt Nichols was amazing, I thought both sides of the bombers were spot on and it really was a synphony of football for them last night. I heard the commentary talking last night thou how Matt nichols could have just down his rehab come in at 9 am watch some tape and leave but he didn’t he was there at 5am every day just as if he we’re starting which I think shows true leadership but to take it back to the rider game this week, did anyone see collaros anywhere at the stadium? Was he even there for the game? He’s supposed to be our Matt Nichols but I don’t think anyone talked about him once that night. Furthermore this open competition with Jones needs to stop cuz it’s not working and all it is doing is pissing fans and players alike off. Again don’t mean to be that rider guy but I look at the bombers and I see the team the riders used to be. I see the trust I see the friendships I see the fun they have. Jones has sucked all of that out of our team and made it the joke of the CFL so congrats on your win bombers it was great to watch players not only play well but have fun playing to.

  13. The Lions may soon challenge the Riders and the Alouettes as the WORST team in the CFL judging by their play on both offense and defense.

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