The Winnipeg Blue Bombers got the job done on offense, defense and specialty teams in a convincing 41-19 victory over the B.C. Lions Saturday night at Investors Group Field.
“It was a good effort,” said Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea in his post-game media scrum. “They needed that. They needed a good effort.”
Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols completed 16-of-29 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in his 2018 CFL debut.
“Felt great,” commented Nichols who suffered a knee injury in practice just over a month ago and missed the first three weeks of the season. “Felt like I missed a few throws that I usually don’t miss. I guess that comes with not playing for a few weeks. I didn’t feel like I should have missed some of those throws but I’ll just continue to get better and make sure you’re better the next week.
Nichols competed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Darvin Adams late in the first quarter.
Backup quarterback Chris Streveler added a pair of one-yard touchdown runs and Andrew Harris also found the end zone from four yards out.
Harris finished the night with 109 yards rushing on just nine carries.
The pass protection was outstanding as the offensive line and running backs did not allow a sack in Nichols’ first game of the season.
“We knew this was his first game back and we wanted to do everything we possibly could to make sure he could stand back there and make the throws that he needed to for us to be successful,” said guard Patrick Neufeld.
Adam Bighill had a stellar game with five tackles and a pair of interceptions.
The former Lions middle linebacker returned a Jonathon Jennings pass 55-yards for pick-six 3:21 into the fourth quarter which extended the Blue Bombers lead to 38-13.
“It’s bragging rights for the week,” answered Bighill when asked how it felt to face his former teammates. “It’s a game that obviously I had circled on my calendar from all my relationships back there and I’m sure they felt the same way about playing me. At the end of the day it’s a lot of fun to compete against the guys you were around for so much of your career. It was fun.”
Defensive back Chris Randle also had an interception and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat record a pair of quarterback sacks.
Justin Medlock added a pair of field goals and was good on all five convert attempts.
The Bombers and Lions will meet again next Saturday in Vancouver.
photo courtesy Winnipeg Football Club