November 11, 2023

Home sweet Home: Bombers continue playoff dominance at IG Field

Jason Halstead/

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have done it again.

The Blue and Gold are headed to their fourth straight Grey Cup after beating the BC Lions 24-13 in the Western Final at IG Field.

They did so by shutting down an explosive Lions offence, allowing only one major – on a Hail Mary play to end the first half – and registering three interceptions against quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.

The defensive performance opened up the way for a veteran offence to control the clock and do what they have been doing for years now: impose their physical brand of football at home to win another playoff game.

“A hard fought resilient win,” wide receiver Kenny Lawler told TSN’s Claire Hanna. “We always believed, there was no doubt in our mind. It’s just a hard fought win. The guys gave it all and this is the result.”

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Lawler finished with six catches for 83 yards and was Zach Collaros‘ favourite target in the absence of Dalton Schoen. The pivot completed 14 of 21 passes for 158 yards, playing a ball-control style of offence that saw West Division Most Outstanding Player Brady Oliveira rush for 109 yards and a major, adding 15 more yards through the air.

The defence pressured Adams Jr. all night and ended with nine sacks, with Willie Jefferson, Jackson Jeffcoat and Malik Clements combining for six of them.

Collaros is also headed to his fourth straight Grey Cup and knows that the road gets harder the closer you get to the ultimate goal.

“We have to win the last one,” Collaros told Hanna. “Montreal is a great football team. Unbelievable defence. It’s going to be a challenge but we’ll enjoy this one tonight. I’m so proud of everybody, defence had an unbelievable night.”

The Blue Bombers haven’t lost a Division Final at home since 1994, a testament to the synergy between fans and team in Winnipeg.

“It means a lot to win at home in front of our fans. They were unbelievable all night long,” added Collaros.

Head coach Mike O’Shea agrees.

“The fans were unbelievable all year long,” said O’Shea. “I can’t say enough.”

Winnipeg now travels to Hamilton to face the Montreal Alouettes who earlier on Saturday beat the Argonauts in Toronto to return to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2010. The game takes place on Sunday, Nov. 19, with kickoff set for 6:00 p.m. ET.

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