Bombers close season on a high note, down Alouettes
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers closed out Canad Inns Stadium in style, downing the East Division-winning Montreal Alouettes 19-11 on Saturday afternoon.
In a game that saw little action on the offensive side of the ball, it was Bombers third-string pivot Justin Goltz who stole the show, completing three of his five passes for 30 yards, while adding 32 more yards and a touchdown on six carries in less than a full quarter of action.
Goltz took over from Alex Brink in the fourth quarter, after the latter threw for 144 yards and an interception.
Brink was starting in place of the injured Buck Pierce and Joey Elliott.
The Als also went with their backup this afternoon, handing Adrian McPherson the ball for his first start since 2010.
The decision to name McPherson Week 19’s starter was made earlier this week, as Head Coach Marc Trestman chose to give starter Anthony Calvillo an extra week off in preparation of the Eastern Final which is just two weeks away.
McPherson came into the game having thrown just five passes all season, one of which was a touchdown.
On his first drive, McPherson nearly matched his season total, throwing three passes – two of which found the hands of Jamel Richardson and SJ Green for first downs.
However, the drive would eventually stall, with the Als being forced to settle for a 17-yard field goal by Sean Whyte.
Brink’s first drive wouldn’t breed the same results as McPherson’s, as he played to a quick two-and-out, throwing just one pass in the process.
The 27-year-old entered today’s outing hoping to prove to Head Coach Tim Burke and GM Joe Mack that he is worthy of a roster spot in 2013.
McPherson continued to roll on his second possession, as he displayed a solid mix of arm strength and the speed out of the pocket that he’s become known for throughout his five years in the league.
The Florida native orchestrated an 11-play, 73-yard drive, in which he completed three passes for 41 yards and registered 16 yards on three carries, the last of which he took five yards into the endzone for the game’s first touchdown.
It was McPherson’s ninth rushing touchdown of the season, which is good enough for third in the league.
But Brink and the Bombers would eventually settle down.
With the second quarter barely underway, Brink would lead the Blue and Gold offence into Montreal territory by completing five of his next six passes for a total of 57 yards.
However, the Als defence stood tall and kept Winnipeg out of the endzone, as the Bombers settled for a 24-yard field goal by Justin Palardy.
Palardy has been nothing short of automatic for the Bombers in their last seven games, as he’s connected on his last 13 field goal attempts.
However, Palardy’s streak would soon come to an end, as the Bombers would eventually tack on two single points prior to the end of the half, with Palardy missing a 49-yard field goal attempt, while punter Mike Renaud cut Montreal’s lead to just five with a 45-yard Rouge.
McPherson finished the half with respectable numbers, completing seven of his 11 passes for 93 yards, while adding on 42 more yards and a TD on six carries. Brink, meanwhile, completed 11 of his 15 passes for 117 yards.
The second half got underway with both offences failing to generate much traction with the ball.
Momentum seemed to be at a standstill, as regardless of what the defences were able to accomplish, the offences weren’t able to translate them into results.
But a 42-yard punt return by Jovon Johnson would set the Bombers up at Montreal’s 40 yard line with a fresh set of downs.
However, the offensive blackout would continue, as the Blue and Gold were unable to produce a first down, opting to send out Palardy for a 41-yard field goal, cutting the Als’ lead to two in the process.
The Als would extend their lead to a field goal, however, as Whyte’s 53-yard punt would bounce into the endzone, with the Bombers recovering it in the endzone and failing to run it out.
In the early stages of the fourth quarter, special teams would continue to take centre stage.
Hoping to give the Bombers offence a surge of momentum, Johnson would again turn a Whyte offering into a big gain, returning it 70 yards inside Montreal’s 10-yard line.
From then on, it was all Winnipeg, as the Montreal offence continued to have trouble on the offensive side of the ball.
After Palardy split the uprights for the third time of the afternoon to extend the Bombers’ lead to a touchdown, Goltz would do his best to keep the Als offence off the field, taking two minutes off the clock on what would be his final drive of the afternoon.
Following another single by Renaud to give the Bombers an eight-point lead, the Als offence took over with just 27 seconds left.
McPherson, however, would be unable to generate much traction, giving the Bombers and their fans one final win at Canad Inns Stadium.