VANCOUVER — The Bombers have even more believers this morning after last night’s convincing win over the B.C. Lions on their own turf.
They weren’t supposed to beat the high-flying Leos, but that’s exactly what they did thanks to Gary Etcheverry’s defensive game plan and Lirim Hajrullahu’s leg. Etcheverry, the veteran defensive co-ordinator, took Lions offensive co-ordinator Khari Jones to school, while Hajrullahu, the rookie Bombers kicker, was 5-for-5 in his fifth pro game.
Add it all up, and the Bombers are 4-1 for the fourth time since 1990. They made it to the Grey Cup in two of those three previous instances.
A few more thoughts on the game …
• The Lions actually finished with more yards of total offence than the Bombers, but that doesn’t mean much considering they scored only six points. They moved the ball, but they were starting so deep in their own territory because of Hajrullahu’s kickoffs and punts that they weren’t getting into scoring position.
• The Bombers got six sacks from six players, including safety Moe Leggett, who also had an interception.
• Winnipeg defensive tackle Bryant Turner said the defensive plan was to get “vertical” on Kevin Glenn, which basically means blitzing the living snot out of him and not letting him make his quick-release passes. Mission accomplished.
• Lowell Ullrich of the Vancouver Province reported Glenn was walking with a pretty good limp after the game.
• The last time the Bombers allowed so few points on the road was when they beat Hamilton 34-4 at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Sept. 15, 2007.
• When Glenn threw his first of two interceptions on the night, someone in a Bombers jersey who was sitting in front of the press box yelled, “That’s the Kevin Glenn I know!” Too funny.
• The most jarring statistic of the night wasn’t that Bombers running back Nic Grigsby had 15 carries for 19 yards. It’s that his longest run of the night was 17 yards. He lost yardage on six rushes and got back to the line of scrimmage on another. That’s on the offensive line, which still needs to get better when it comes to run blocking. Head coach Mike O’Shea wasn’t too concerned afterwards: “Yeah sure, we want to run the ball better, but we came to B.C. and won. That’s a tough place to win.”
• The pass protection improved after last week’s troubles against Edmonton, but Drew Willy could still use a little more time back there.
• Nick Moore did exactly what he wanted to do in his return to B.C. Place. He got the win, and he led all pass catchers with seven grabs for 99 yards. But again: It’s not like the Lions got rid of him. They wanted him back — just not at the price the Bombers were willing to pay him.
• Could it be that the Lions are the worst team in the West Division? Actually, the Riders have to prove they’re better than B.C. before we go there.
• Hajrullahu pretty much split the uprights on all five of his field goals, including his 51- and 49-yard bombs. The kid is cool as a cucumber.
• Former St. Vital Mustangs receiver Brett Carter got his first CFL start and made his first career catch in place of the injured Julian Feoli-Gudino. He was beaming afterwards and happy that it all happened in a win. Had they lost, he would’ve had to downplay his personal accomplishment.
• The pre-season predictions were that Etcheverry’s defence would work well in the early going, before other teams figured it out. I wonder if they meant it would still be doing so well five weeks in?