Winnipeg Blue Bombers complete last-minute comeback against Stampeders for 3rd win

WINNIPEG — Marc Liegghio nailed a 45-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining to give the Winnipeg Blue Bombers an 18-16 win over the Calgary Stampeders to close out Week 4 on Sunday night.

The back-and-forth battle saw multiple lead changes, and Calgary nearly stole the game on the final play — but Rene Paredes’ 52-yard field goal attempt fell short.

Reigning Grey Cup MVP Andrew Harris was triumphant in his return from injury. The three-time CFL leading rusher made his season debut, carrying the ball 17 times for 81 yards and a touchdown in front of the hometown crowd at IG Field.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros completed 16 of 25 passes for 243 yards to help the Bombers improve to 2-0 at home to start the season.

Stamps rookie quarterback Jake Maier started the game with 17 consecutive completions, including a perfect first half. The 24-year-old finished the game with 30 completions for 307 yards on 39 pass attempts.

The Stamps went up early on a 35-yard field goal from Paredes, but Winnipeg quickly responded when a 50-yard catch-and-run from Rasheed Bailey set up a two-yard rushing touchdown from Harris. The Stamps evened things up in the second quarter with a 39-yard field goal.

Winnipeg retook the lead later in the second on a 50-yard field goal from Liegghio, but Calgary went back on top with a five-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown run from Ka’Deem Carey. A review overturned a 76-yard Bombers touchdown from Kenny Lawler in the third, but Winnipeg moved within a point with a 42-yard field goal from Liegghio.

The Bombers took a 15-13 lead with six minutes remaining on a 37-yard field goal, but Calgary went up by a point with under two minutes to go with a 33-yard field goal. Liegghio’s field goal in the final minute put Winnipeg on top for good, with the Stamps’ offence unable to get close enough to make their game-winning kick.

» Boxscore: Bombers, Stamps by the numbers
» Through the lens: Calgary at Winnipeg
» Watch: Stamps make quick work for the TD strike


Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros Photo: Jason Halstead,

Harris’ first carry of the game went for a five-yard gain that drew loud cheers from the home crowd, and he followed it up with a seven-yard run two plays later. But Calgary’s defence kept the door closed on the opening drive and forced a punt.

Calgary got its own ground game started with Carey rushing for eight yards on the Stamps’ opening play. Maier’s first completion went to Huff for a 10-yard gain, and the young passer kept the offence on the field with back-to-back completions to Carey and Huff for gains of three and seven yards, respectively.

Maier continued to establish an early rhythm with his fourth-straight completion, an 11-yard pass to Markeith Ambles for a fresh set of downs. But the drive ultimately stalled against Winnipeg’s stout defensive front, and the Stamps settled for a 35-yard field goal from Paredes — his 14th straight.

The crowd exploded with excitement on the Bombers’ ensuing offensive drive when Harris surged down the field for a 20-yard run, but the gain was negated by a roughness penalty on offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais.

Winnipeg quickly regained the lost momentum when Bailey stormed down the sideline on a 50-yard catch-and-run, nearly scoring before being dragged down by DaShaun Amos at the two-yard line.

Harris took over from there and found the end zone on a tough run up the middle to give Winnipeg the 6-3 lead, which remained the same after Liegghio’s extra point attempt went wide to the right.

Maier remained efficient in the second quarter, with his eighth consecutive completion went for a 16-yard gain to receiver Hergy Mayala. Maier then completed back-to-back passes for minimal gains against the stingy Bombers defence, and Paredes kicked the 39-yard field goal to tie the game a six points apiece.

Calgary opted to go for it on third down on its next drive, and it appeared to pay off as Maier completed a 41-yard strike to Huff. But the Stamps receiver was then stripped of the ball by Winnipeg defensive back Mike Jones, and Adam Bighill scooped up the fumble to secure the turnover.

The linebacker returned the fumble 15 yards, and Winnipeg converted the turnover into points when Liegghio nailed a 50-yard field goal  — his first in the CFL. But Calgary responded with a long scoring drive that started with a 14-yard run from Carey, and a 15-yard catch-and-run from Ante Milanovic-Litre.

Maier followed it with a 20-yard pass to Huff, and Carey capped the drive off with a 17-yard touchdown run that saw him accelerate up the middle past the Winnipeg defenders. Paredes kicked the convert to put the Stamps up 13-9.

The Bombers appeared to regain the lead in the third quarter on a huge 76-yard touchdown from Lawler, but the play was reversed to a 33-yard gain after a review ruled him down by contact. Calgary’s defence held strong from there, forcing Winnipeg to settle for a 42-yard field goal from Liegghio.

Winnipeg’s defence stepped up to slow down Maier and company in the second half with relentless pressure. The Bombers extended a fourth-quarter drive when backup quarterback Sean McGuire moved the sticks on third down, and Winnipeg went back on top with a 15-13 lead a couple plays later on a 37-yard field goal from Liegghio.

Maier recorded his first career CFL reception on Calgary’s next drive. The quarterback pitched the ball to Ambles after taking the snap, and Ambles threw the ball across the field to Maier near the left sideline. Calgary finished the drive by taking a one-point lead on a 33-yard field goal from Paredes.

An eight-yard gain from Harris moved Winnipeg into field goal range on the ensuing drive with just over a minute to play,

Winnipeg will travel on the road to face the undefeated Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-0) next Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, while Calgary will host the Edmonton Elks (1-2) the following Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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