Redblacks sick to their stomach as Bombers remain undefeated

By JC Abbott

It wasn’t hard to find a perfect metaphor for Winnipeg’s 31-1 beat down of Ottawa.

Down 21-1 in the second quarter, running back John Crockett provided the team’s lone offensive spark, rattling off back to back runs of 16 and 19 yards respectively. He promptly emptied the contents of his stomach onto the turf on his next carry and was forced to the sideline.

Much like Crockett’s dinner, the Blue Bombers offence spewed forth suddenly and without respite throughout the evening.

An initially sloppy first quarter changed abruptly when Winston Rose picked off a Jonathon Jennings pass and took it 71 yards to the house for the opening score. From there the floodgates opened, with Matt Nichols leading a nine-play, 75-yard drive on the Bombers’ next offensive series and capped it with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Harris on a wheel route.

After Willie Jefferson forced another Redblacks’ two-and-out with a stripe sack, Nichols delivered a 54-yard strike to Kenny Lawler, who broke free of the tackler and scampered in for the score. Nichols would lead yet another massive drive to end the first half, 99 yards down the field in 12 plays to set up Chris Streveler for a two-yard touchdown run.

Justin Medlock added a 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, as the Bombers played mostly mop up duty throughout the second half.

The Redblacks’ lone point of the evening came off a 75-yard Richie Leone punt single at 3:33 of the first quarter. Ottawa failed to generate any traction against a stout Richie Hall defence that allowed just 205 total yards all night and recorded three sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, including Rose’s pick six.

In his first start since leaving BC, Ottawa quarterback Jonathon Jennings was just 6-of-15 for 45 yards and a pick, remaining a shadow of the player who passed for 5,226 yards in 2016. He was relieved by William Arndt in the fourth quarter, who went just 4-of-13 for 57 yards and an interception.

The Bombers’ offence remained a model of efficiency under Paul Lapolice, getting touches from 10 different players throughout the game. Matt Nichols was nearly perfect, completing 86.2 per cent of his passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Workhorse running back Andrew Harris contributed 131 combined yards to go along with his touchdown.

With the victory, Winnipeg moves to 5-0 to start a season for the first time since 1960 and remain the league’s lone unbeaten team. Ottawa drops to 2-3 and recorded their third straight loss since their Week 3 bye.

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