It wasn’t perfect, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are back in the win column.
The Bombers doubled up the Edmonton Elks 28-14 Thursday night in front of 28,512 fans at IG Field and moved to 5-2 on the season.
The Elks remain the only winless team in the CFL, dropping to 0-7.
After a forgettable first half which ended in a 6-6 tie, the Bombers took over the game in the second half, putting up 22 points and looking more like the team fans expect to see.
“It’s always good to win at home,” said quarterback Zach Collaros. “To be able to pick ourselves up in the second half was huge. I thought we really set the tone physically there early on with some big plays we were able to separate.”
The Bombers seemed to carry over much of their shaky play from last Saturday’s fourth quarter and overtime in Ottawa into this one, as they turned the ball over three times in the first 30 minutes, including two failed third and short quarterback sneaks.
And after kicker Sergio Castillo missed his first field goal of the season to end the first half, it was looking like nothing would go the Bombers way on this night.
But after Castillo redeemed himself with a field goal to put Winnipeg ahead by three early in the third, the Bombers hit on a massive offensive play as Collaros found Nic Demski for a 70-yard touchdown.
Demski led the Bombers in receiving with 115 yards on four catches.
The Elks kept hanging around, completing a deep touchdown pass of their own a short time later, as Taylor Cornelius hit Dillon Mitchell for an 80-yard score.
But the Bombers defence clamped down after that, recording a safety before the quarter was up. And then after another Castillo field goal, the offence put the game away in the fourth after a lengthy, clock-consuming drive was capped off when Collaros found Rasheed Bailey for a 6-yard touchdown.
Collaros was 20 for 24 on the night, throwing for 308 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception.
The Bombers run game found its groove once again after a rough outing in Ottawa as the CFL’s leading rusher Brady Oliveira rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries.
“That’s our O-Line (offensive line) working right there,” Collaros said. “Obviously, Brady hitting the hole and finishing the run, so, I’m sure Rasheed cleaned a couple guys up to. So, it was a total team effort.”
And in his season debut, receiver Kenny Lawler was excellent for Winnipeg, catching seven passes for 93 yards.
“He’s got a huge catch radius,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “He’s got terrific hands. You saw that catch on the sideline. He goes up and contorts his body and comes down with it. Yeah, he’s really good.”
The Bombers now head into their first bye week of the season and are next in game action Thursday, August 3 when they host the B.C. Lions, who blitzed the Bombers 30-6 back on June 22.
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