Blue Bombers coach Mike O’Shea says his rookie quarterback isn’t playing like a rookie at all.
QB Chris Streveler picked apart the Alouettes defence in the air and on the ground as Winnipeg walked all over Montreal 56-10 on Friday night. Streveler scored three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. The 23-year-old went 22 for 28 for 246 yards and ran for a team-high 98 yards.
“He’s shown that he has the ability to learn on a daily basis, and on a series-by-series basis,” said O’Shea of Streveler. “If he keeps that up, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch. He knows he has some work to do, but boy, he’s executing at a really high level.”
Streveler, replacing starter Matt Nichols (knee injury), shone in just his second Canadian Football League game.
With Winnipeg (1-1) leading 10-7 in the second quarter, Streveler took control of the match. He put together a 95-yard drive capped off by a 10-yard pass to Nic Demski for his first touchdown of the season at 7:34.
Five minutes later, Streveler connected with Drew Wolitarsky along the sideline and the receiver jogged into the end zone untouched as the Bombers took a 24-7 lead. That drive got started with a 30-yard punt return by Kevin Fogg.
“Just so many guys were making plays tonight,” said Streveler. “(Andrew) Harris was running the ball hard. Everyone was catching well in the offensive line. I don’t think I got sacked tonight. Just so much credit to everyone. We really spread the ball around and a lot of guys showed up and had a great game tonight.”
After another two-and-out for the Alouettes (0-2), Rashaun Simonise blocked Boris Bede’s punt deep in Montreal’s half. Winnipeg recovered the ball at the two-yard line as a chorus of boos rained down from the 19,498 fans in attendance at Percival Molson Stadium.
“Passing is obviously the first and foremost deal,” said Streveler. “If things break down and it’s necessary to move the chains by running, that’s something I’m willing to do. I want to take pride in my throwing and ability to move the ball through the air. The running stuff is just an added element.”
After field goals on both sides – three for Justin Medlock and one for Bede – Streveler put the game out of reach with 11:20 remaining in the contest as he found Wolitarsky again in the end zone for the 47-10 lead.
“(Streveler) knows how to run a huddle,” said Wolitarsky. “He gets hit hard and gets right back up. He was amped up tonight. He’s just a fun guy to play with. He has that energy.”
With an insurmountable lead for the Bombers, backup quarterback Bryan Bennett replaced Streveler in the fourth. He went 3 for 4 for 71 yards.
Kienan Lafrance added a rushing touchdown late in the game.
Wide receiver Darvin Adams also threw a TD pass to Harris on a trick play in the first quarter to set the tone for the encounter.
Alouettes quarterback Drew Willy, playing against his former team for the first time since being traded away two years ago, went 16-25 for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Jeff Matthews replaced Willy in the fourth quarter. He threw an interception on his first play.
B.J. Cunningham caught the only touchdown for Montreal, an eight-yard play at the start of the second quarter.
The Alouettes have lost a team-record 13 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season.
“Tonight was not a good night,” said Als coach Mike Sherman. “There cannot be a repeat of tonight. Hopefully it will be our worst effort of the year.
“We had a great crowd here tonight and that’s the most disappointing thing about this loss. I apologize to our fans who were here or at home watching the game. Hopefully they’ll never have to see this again.”
Notes: Medlock converted four field goals to reach 1,200 career points…Bede had one field goal for Montreal…Some former and current Olympians were at the game: freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau and speed skaters Charles Hamelin, Kim Boutin and Samuel Girard. Together they’ve combined for 12 Olympic medals.