Blue Bombers down Montreal Alouettes for 9th straight win

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers finished their regular season undefeated at IG Field with their ninth straight win in beating the Montreal Alouettes 31-21.

After trading possessions and points in the first half, the Blue Bombers took control in the fourth quarter, shut out the Als and didn’t let go.

In his first start for the Alouettes coming off his appearance in last week’s game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Trevor Harris threw for 162 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

On the opposing sideline, Zach Collaros connected on 63.6 per cent of his passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns.

William Stanback assumed the rushing duties on the evening and made the most of them, rushing for 106 yards and averaging 6.6 yards-per-carry.

In his first game of the season since his 2019 season with the BC Lions, Sergio Castillo went 3/4 with his longest coming from 47 yards.

Photo: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

» Through the Lens: Montreal at Winnipeg
» Boxscore: Als, Bombers by the numbers 
» Watch: Als scoop and score ties things up early 

After the Als established some offensive rhythm early in the game on offence, the game’s first turning point came on special teams as a costly high snap for the Als provided the Bombers with excellent field possession.

Winnipeg’s opportunistic offence capitalized in mere minutes as  Collaros connected with Nic Demski for a 10-yard reception who then broke a pair of tackles for 10 additional yards on his way to the endzone.

After an Als’ 48-yard punt pinned the Bombers deep in their own territory, Montreal’s defence generated a spark.

Collecting the handoff from Collaros, Brady Oliveira plunged between his centre and guard but was met by Nick Usher who dislodged the ball. Jamal Davis scooped up the fumble and returned it 19 yards in the other direction back to the Bombers’ end zone to tie the game.

Castillo reclaimed the lead for the Bombers on their next drive as he sailed a 22-yard field goal attempt through the uprights on his first attempt of the season.

Castillo’s second attempt later in the second quarter did not garner the same results as he missed a 40-yard attempt wide right.

Looking to respond, the Als called William Stanback‘s name.

In rushing for 40 yards in the span of two plays, the Als capped off a four-play, 75-yard drive with Harris connecting with Reggie White in the back corner of the endzone for his first CFL touchdown.

Following a collected punt by the Bombers, Collaros and the Bombers worked their way down into Montreal territory. Keeping the drive alive from a Sean McGuire QB sneak, the Bombers would be forced to attempt a field goal after a pass from Collaros intended for Rasheed Bailey fell incomplete. Castillo’s 34-yard field goal sent both teams to the locker room deadlocked at 14.

The start of the second half would provide a different outcome than the first for the Alouettes.

After Harris connected with Quan Bray for a 39-yard reception on the first play of their drive, he found Jake Wieneke two plays later in the back of the endzone for a seven-yard touchdown.

Winnipeg, who was held pointless for the first 10 minutes of the third quarter, began to find themselves gaining chunks of yardage against the stifling Montreal defensive line. With their new adjustment, the Bombers found success attacking the sidelines. Back-to-back completions to Darvin Adams and Demski got the offence in a groove before Collaros found a wide-open Drew Wolitarsky crossing through the middle of the field for a 24-yard touchdown.

On their next possession, Winnipeg went back to the air.

Following a completion to Kenny Lawler for a gain of 44 yards, Collaros found Bailey on the next play for 13 more. Knocking on the door looking to make it back-to-back scoring possessions, McGuire came out for the Bombers short-yardage package.

In his first snap under centre, the Alouettes expected a run, but McGuire faked the handoff and rolled out to his right but was unable to complete the touchdown pass. His second snap was a QB sneak that put the Bombers back on top 28-21.

Castillo found himself with a chance to make it a two-possession game later in the fourth quarter but a procedure call on the Bombers forced them out of range and into a punting situation

With two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, an offside call on the Bombers allowed Montreal to reconsider punting. In opting to put the ball in Harris’ hands with the need for only three, Harris overthrew his intended target and found the hands of Adam Bighill for his first interception on the night.

Castillo drilled a 47-yard attempt and DeAundre Alford picked off Harris to put the game out of reach for the Alouettes.

The Bombers and the Als will meet again in just a week’s time at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium for a 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff.

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