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Collaros leads Bombers past Lions for 5th straight win

VANCOUVER — Zach Collaros passed for 417 yards and two touchdowns to help the Winnipeg Blue Bombers claim a dominant 30-9 win over the BC Lions on Friday night in Vancouver. The division-leading Bombers are now 7-1 on the season after winning their fifth straight.

The 33-year-old quarterback completed 28-of-33 passes on the night (85%), and he now leads the league with 12 touchdown passes and 2,148 passing yards.

Touchdown catches by Kenny Lawler and Rasheed Bailey helped give Winnipeg a 17-6 lead entering the third quarter, and the Bombers closed the game out with a pair of field goals by rookie kicker Ali Mourtada and a QB sneak touchdown by Sean McGuire.

Lawler finished with a game-high 205 receiving yards on 12 catches, including 126 yards in the first half alone. He now leads the league with 45 catches for 703 yards.

Michael Reilly finished with just 177 passing yards while being sacked five times.

Lions’ leading receiver Lucky Whitehead left the game in the first half with an injury before returning in the third.

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The Bombers set the tone early on with a defensive stop on the game’s opening drive, as defensive lineman Steven Richardson dragged Reilly down for a big sack to force a quick two-and-out.

But the Lions’ offence rebounded on their very next possession to open the scoring. Reilly rolled out to the right to evade the Winnipeg pass rush before launching the ball to Bryan Burnham for a 44-yard pickup to get the drive going. The Lions receiver made an outstanding play to secure the catch in traffic above defensive back Nick Taylor, extending his consecutive reception streak to 90 games.

Reilly followed it up with a 21-yard completion to Keon Hatcher to move the ball inside Winnipeg’s 20-yard line, but the drive stalled from there and the Lions opted to take the early lead with a 13-yard field goal by Jimmy Camacho.

The Bombers had to settle for a field goal of their own at the end of the first quarter after the Lions’ defence shut down a promising drive in the redzone. Mourtada kicked the 13-yard attempt through the uprights for his first career CFL field goal.

But Winnipeg’s offence kept rolling in the second quarter with a quick scoring drive that resulted in the game’s first major.

Collaros put the Bombers in scoring position with a 20-yard pass to Lawler, and the Bombers’ top receiver followed it up one play later with a 27-yard touchdown grab — high-pointing the jump ball in front of rookie defensive back Bejour Wilson. Mourtada kicked the extra point to give Winnipeg a 10-3 lead.

 

Lawler came through with another key play later in the quarter when he beat Garry Peters for a 44-yard catch to help set up Winnipeg’s next score. Lawler burned the BC defensive back on a go route before coming back to the ball to make the grab, setting the Bombers up at the Lions’ 20-yard line.

Collaros finished the long scoring drive off two plays later with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Bailey on a play action rollout, and Mourtada added the extra point to give Winnipeg a two-touchdown lead.

The Lions managed to respond with a 49-yard field goal by Camacho to cut into Winnipeg’s lead just before halftime.

BC’s defence notched a turnover early in the third quarter when Wilson knocked the ball out of Andrew Harris’ grasp. Obum Gwacham recovered the fumble for BC, but Winnipeg’s defence ultimately forced a punt to prevent the Lions from capitalizing.

A big 37-yard pass from Collaros to Drew Wolitarsky led to a 29-yard field goal by Mourtada later in the quarter, giving Winnipeg a 20-6 lead.

The Lions’ defence recovered another turnover in the third quarter when Lawler fumbled the ball as he tried to secure a catch and turn upfield. Boseko Lokombo was there to scoop the ball up for BC, but a big sack by Willie Jefferson on the ensuing drive forced the Lions to settle for a 43-yard field goal.

Collaros’ big day continued in the final minutes of the quarter when he connected with Nic Demski for another huge play down the field. Demski beat Anthony Cioffi in tight coverage to make an incredible catch before eluding multiple defenders to move the ball inside the Lions’ 30-yard line.

BC’s defence stood strong to prevent another touchdown, but Mourtada added a 23-yard field goal to give Winnipeg a 23-9 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Bombers closed out the scoring with a QB sneak touchdown by McGuire, which capped off a long drive that was highlighted by a 39-yard catch-and-run by Lawler.

Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke came in to finish the game at quarterback for the Lions, but he was intercepted in the end zone by Mike Jones on a deep pass intended for fellow Canadian Jacob Scarfone.

Winnipeg will host Edmonton next Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET, while BC will have a bye week before hosting the Calgary Stampeders in Week 11 on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. ET.

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