WINNIPEG — Defensive back Jonathan Hefney feels his Blue Bombers showed resilience in getting their first five-game win streak in eight years.
Buck Pierce threw a pair of touchdowns and Justin Palardy booted three field goals as Winnipeg won its fifth straight with a 30-27 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.
It gives the Bombers a CFL-leading 7-1 record, matching the 7-1 start of the 1984 squad.
Winnipeg was ahead 17-3 in the second quarter Friday, shared a 17-17 tie at halftime and then overcame a 24-20 deficit and 27-27 tie in the fourth.
“We kind of struggled a little bit, but at the same time at the end of the game (the defence) did what we had to do and the offence did their thing as well” Hefney said.
“It just shows how relentless we are and it shows the pride that we have and holding what we’ve got and holding our home-field advantage.”
Hamilton, which had won four of its last five games heading into the game, goes to 4-4.
Pierce completed 19-of-34 pass attempts for 293 yards with no interceptions in front of a sellout of 30,338 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.
“We were able to put some drives together and the defence really stepped up at the end of the game,” Pierce said.
Ticats quarterback Kevin Glenn was 22-of-34 for 351 yards, two TD passes and one interception.
Glenn said the loss was tough to swallow because his team handed the win to the Bombers.
“We gave it to them – flat out” he said. “They made plays when they had to, but we still gave them a lot of plays.
“You play your heart out down to the last snap and it’s tough when you give them points like that.”
Glenn was only sacked once by a Bomber defence that led the league with 29 sacks heading into the game. Hamilton’s defence sacked Pierce three times.
“I think we did a good job,” Glenn said. “To sum it all up we gave them points and plays.”
The teams were tied 27-27 at 2:51 of the fourth quarter after Bombers receiver Terrence Edwards caught his sixth touchdown pass of the season.
Winnipeg went ahead for good with Palardy’s third field goal from 21 yards at 9:08. He also connected from 22 and 27 yards.
The Bombers also got TDs from a 67-yard interception return by defensive back Jovon Johnson and a 17-yard catch by Clarence Denmark.
Hamilton got its first TD off a 49-yard reception by Chris Williams, who was bumped out of bounds by Johnson while running down the sidelines, but got back onto the field to snag the pass from Glenn.
A CFL rule change this year states that if a player is pushed out of bounds by an opponent, he can return to the field of play and make a play. If he goes out of bounds on his own, or is bumped out of bounds by a teammate, he can’t legally participate in the play.
Hamilton rookie receiver Bakari Grant also notched his first CFL TD with a 33-yard reception, while back-up quarterback Quinton Porter came in for a one-yard TD plunge.
Ticat kicker Justin Medlock was good on two of four field-goal tries, connecting from 28 and 39 yards and missing from 54 and 52.
Williams looked like he was going to score again early in the third, but after a 64-yard catch he fumbled at Winnipeg’s one-yard line and Hefney recovered the ball.
Winnipeg couldn’t do anything with the turnover, but they regained a 20-17 lead at 7:36 of the third with Palardy’s second field goal.
“You can go look back at all the things that we did, threw a pick six, I did my thing on the one, you can’t do those things in professional football if you want to get wins,” Williams said.
Williams later caught a break when Hefney was called for pass interference on him, giving the Ticats the ball on the one-yard line that led to Porter’s TD and a 24-20 lead at 12:38 of the third.
The attendance was boosted with 500 temporary seats and 305 people in end-zone tents, marking the team’s third straight sellout. The Sept. 11 home date against Saskatchewan is also a sellout.
The Bombers got some sad news after the game when the team announced the sudden passing Friday of former board chairman Ken Hildahl from an apparent heart attack. He spent 10 years on the board, including five years as chair, the last in 2009.
NOTES: Hamilton QB Kevin Glenn moved past Tom Burgess (30,308 yards) into 13th place on the CFL all-timing passing yardage list. Glenn now has 30,635 career yards.