Air Show: Blue Bombers showcase aerial attack in win over BC Lions

WINNIPEG — Zach Collaros and the Blue Bombers launched deep strike after strike against the BC Lions on Thursday at IG Field on way to a 50-14 victory.

Collaros started the game with two deep passing touchdowns to wide receivers Kenny Lawler and Dalton Schoen to give the Bombers a lead they would never relinquish.

Winnipeg’s pivot finished 19-of-27 for 369 yards and three majors, the final one to receiver Nic Demski in a reverse script from the first meeting between the two teams in Week 3.

Lawler finished with 200 receiving yards and a score on seven catches to go alongside 137 yards and two majors for Schoen.

Running back Brady Oliveira added two majors on the ground and defensive backs Demerio Houston and Brandon Alexander picked off quarterback Dane Evans in a dominating effort for a now 6-2 Blue and Gold squad.

Backup Dru Brown also threw a late touchdown to Schoen to round off the score for Winnipeg.

Evans finished 12-of-21 for 113 yards and a pair of picks and was replaced by backup Dominique Davis after suffering an injury in the second quarter.

Linebacker Bo Lokombo added a major for the visitors on a fumble return in the fourth quarter of the losing efforts as BC dropped to 6-2.

» Depth Chart: WPG | BC

The Bombers fittingly started the game with an aerial attack. Collaros connected deep with Lawler down the right sideline before launching a second missile to Schoen who took it all the way to the end zone for a quick 7-0. Winnipeg’s pivot got 105 passing yards in only two plays to announce to everyone that this game would be a different affair from the first time these two teams met this season.

Evans and the Leos were trying to roar back with a drive of their own but Winnipeg’s defence raised the wall on third down to force a turnover on downs and get the crowd going at IG Field.

The bombs kept on coming. Collaros glimpsed Schoen behind BC’s defence once more and sent another long one to extend the lead to 14-0 for the home team with only 4:18 elapsed in the first quarter. The score made it three-of-three for 162 yards and two touchdowns for Winnipeg’s pivot in two drives worth of work.

BC added a rouge after getting stunned early by the Bombers aerial raid as balls kept flying all over the field. Evans also tried going deep to receiver Alexander Hollins but instead found Houston for an acrobatic interception. The turnover continued a dominating first quarter for the home team.

Winnipeg used a different approach to score in the second quarter. Collaros navigated the pocket and released the ball short to Schoen and Lawler to steadily push the ball into Lions’ territory. Oliveira then crashed into a sea of BC defenders on second down and kicker Sergio Castillo extended the lead to 17-1.

Whyte added a field goal to cut the lead to 17-4, but it was all Blue and Gold in the first half as Oliveira ran one in to make it 24-4 with under three minutes left in the first half.

Alexander picked off Evans for the second turnover of the game to give the Bombers another chance to strike before half. Castillo made it 27-4 to cap off a dominating first two quarters for the home team.

After scoring only six points over four quarters in Week 3 against the Leos, the Bombers more than tripled that in only a half of play with 27.

The second half began much like the first, with Collaros going deep for another passing major. This time the target was Demski who hauled it in for his fourth touchdown of the season, 34-4.

After another rouge by the visitors, Castillo added his second field goal of the game with 5:54 left in the third quarter to make it 37-5.

Whyte also added his second three-pointer of the evening as BC struggled to finish drives against Winnipeg’s defence. They only found the end zone after Oliveira fumbled a screen pass and Lokombo ran it in to make it 37-14 as the Lions failed to convert the two-point attempt.

The running back redeemed himself the very next time he touched the ball, running for a 27-yard touchdown to add to the lead. With the Bombers holding a comfortable lead, Brown took the field in relief of Collaros and threw a major of his own to Schoen.

BC hasn’t won in Winnipeg twice in the same season since 1988 as the Blue and Gold has won eight of the last 10 matchups at home against the Leos.

The Lions had allowed only five touchdowns in 99 opponent possessions this season and had not allowed a single major in 44 straight drives heading into the game before allowing two majors in the first two drives.

The third and final matchup between the two teams is scheduled for Oct. 6 in Vancouver in Week 18.

The Bombers are back in action on Thursday, Aug. 10, as they travel to Edmonton to face the Elks. The Lions meanwhile return home to face the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday, Aug. 12.

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