Bombers crash the planned Calgary bash

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

The Bombers put any plans of a hometown Grey Cup on ice for the Calgary Stampeders.

Winnipeg wanted the cold and snow which played into the strength of the best rushing team in the CFL. Just the presence of Zach Collaros kept the Stamps honest while Andrew Harris, Nic Demski and Chris Streveler went to work.

“Especially the way we ran the ball when I was in, that’s a lot of the offensive line. If fear is the word you want to use, it’s those guys getting so much movement and push up front,” Streveler said.

“It makes life a lot easier for guys like myself and Andrew and Nic running the ball. Those guys take a lot of pride in what they do and inflicting fear in guys I guess.”

Creative offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice called for the versatile University of Manitoba product to come into the backfield as a running back. Streveler handed it to Demski who flipped the momentum in the favour of the visitors real quick slashing up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown.

Collaros capitalized on the momentum. The veteran quarterback threw a perfect deep ball to Darvin Adams down the sideline in between two defenders and Adams did the rest, covering 71 yards for the major. Adams caught two balls for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Then it was Streveler faking a pitch to Harris, bouncing it to the outside and diving into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown run. Strevler did not throw a single pass, but it wasn’t needed as the banged up signal caller ran 13 times for 82 yards and the final major.

“He’s damn good. It certainly gives a different feel to the offence and helps the running game overall. With Andrew too it helps open that up. Sticking with the run game is very important. I don’t know that there’s enough I could say about Chris Streveler,” head coach Mike O’Shea said.

Harris produced 57 yards on 14 carries. Winnipeg totalled 195 rushing yards on 31 carries — 6.3 yards per attempt. Collaros completed 11-of-21 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown. The Bombers held the football for nearly 34 minutes, which kept the defence fresh.

While Willie Jefferson was the focus for Calgary, the Stamps rendered the freakish defensive end quiet on the stats sheet, but it allowed other players the opportunity to step up. Mike Jones, Nick Taylor and Mercy Maston intercepted Bo Levi Mitchell during a frustrating outing. The reigning CFL MOP barely threw for 100 yards and completed less than 50 percent of his passes.

“We just weren’t honestly on the same page. He lost his eyes, he didn’t trust the guys. Ultimately, your quarterback’s gotta be better than there’s in order to win. Ours has to be a lot better than there’s, that’s how we’ve been winning a lot of games. It just didn’t happen,” head coach Dave Dickenson said.

Winnipeg’s stout defensive effort combined with a strong run game send the Bombers to the Western Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s the first time since 2011 the Stamps won’t be playing in the second last weekend of the CFL schedule. The party will be for a different franchise in Cowtown.