Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bombers eke out win on last play

HAMILTON, Ont.—Drew Willy did it again.
Willy’s two-yard TD pass to Nic Grigsby on the final play rallied the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a stirring 27-26 comeback win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last night.

Grigsby’s catch capped an impressive 11-play, 95-yard drive that began with 1:40 to go and ended with Lirim Hajrullahu’s winning convert.
On July 11, Willy’s 17-yard TD pass to Julian Feoli-Gudino with 28 seconds left gave the Bombers a 34-33 road win over the Montreal Alouettes.
Feoli-Gudino had a hand in last night’s victory—his clutch 22-yard catch putting Winnipeg (5-2) at the Hamilton two-yard.
It was nice redemption after losing a fumble earlier in the quarter to end a promising drive.
“We did it before against Montreal so I was saying in the huddle, ‘Hey, we’ve been in the same situation before. Let’s just go down there and get a touchdown,’” said Willy.
“I think every single guy had a piece of that drive, it was impressive to be a part of.
“That’s everything a quarterback wants,” Willy added. “You just want the ball in your hands to give your team a shot to win.
“Guys were just making terrific plays out there.”
Willy’s winning pass was hardly a thing of beauty. It was a high, fluttering throw into coverage that hung up in the air seemingly forever before falling softly into Grigsby’s hands.
“I was looking at ‘Denny’ [Clarence Denmark] in the corner and I knew I had Grigsby in the flat, and saw both were covered,” Willy recalled.
“I just wanted to give enough air where those guys go up and make a play, and luckily Grigsby came away with the ball.
“I’m not going to say it was a skillful play because it really wasn’t,” Willy stressed.
“We practise it all the time,” he noted. “We just made a play and sometimes that’s how it goes.”
Willy finished 31-of-41 passing for 361 yards and a TD.
Former Ticat Aaron Kelly had seven catches for 101 yards—both game highs—while Grigsby ran for 56 yards and a TD on 13 carries.
He added six receptions for 63 yards.
Rookie Quincy McDuffie’s 66-yard punt return TD at 2:15 of the fourth earned Hamilton a 24-20 advantage—its first lead of the game.
McDuffie—making his CFL debut—delighted a Ron Joyce Stadium gathering of 6,500 that was forced to endure a horrendous first half by the Ticats (1-4).
Hamilton managed just two first downs and 22 net yards in the first half after registering two TDs and 158 yards on its first five plays in a 33-23 home win over Ottawa on Saturday night.
And when Grigsby put Winnipeg up 20-3 with a 16-yard run at 2:38 of the third, it looked like the game was over.
But quarterback Dan LeFevour—who threw for 361 yards and a TD, and ran for 109 yards and a touchdown against Ottawa—hit C.J. Gable with a 48-yard scoring strike at 6:35.
LeFevour, the CFL’s offensive player of the week, then scored on a two-yard run 12 seconds into the fourth to cut Hamilton’s deficit to 20-17 before McDuffie’s electrifying return.
Hamilton went ahead 26-20 after Hajrullahu was forced to boot the ball out of the end zone for a safety following a high snap at 3:53.
Feoli-Gudino then fumbled after a nine-yard catch that Rico Murray recovered at the Hamilton 31-yard line with under six minutes to go.
“It’s a good win for us but we don’t want to keep having to do it that way, that’s for sure,” said Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea.
“We recognize we made some mistakes. . . .
“It looked like Hamilton was ready to take it, but these guys just believe in each other and no one gave up,” O’Shea added.
“When you get guys who are going to stick with their teammates, who are going to stick together, it’s a great thing.”

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