Bombers’ defence seals win over Als

The Canadian Press
Judy Owen

WINNIPEG–Matt Nichols almost had forgotten what it felt like to win. It was good.
The Winnipeg quarterback threw one touchdown pass and no interceptions as the Blue Bombers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-14 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night.
“Anytime you go through a stretch like that without getting a win, you almost forget what that feeling feels like, celebrating with your teammates in the locker-room after a good win and a much-needed win,” said Nichols, who was playing his 100th CFL career game.
“Obviously, it was an incredible feeling.
“I’m proud of how the whole team responded this week, and we came out and it felt like we were flying around in all phases,” he noted.
Nichols, who was pulled at halftime in Winnipeg’s previous game after throwing three picks, completed 18-of-25 passes for 256 yards and also threw a touchdown toss to running back Andrew Harris.
Montreal quarterback Johnny Manziel, making his third CFL start, was sacked five times.
The former Heisman Trophy winner went 18-for-25 for 212 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.
Bombers’ defensive lineman Craig Roh pulled Manziel down three times and also had seven defensive tackles.
“Sacking quarterbacks is already fun but when they have a million Instagram followers, it’s even more fun,” Roh said, referring to Manziel’s social media popularity.
The victory before 24,349 fans at Investors Group Field upped Winnipeg’s record to 6-7 while the Alouettes moved into double digits for losses at 3-10.
Manziel was intercepted by defensive back Marcus Sayles with less than three minutes left in the game.
Winnipeg used the turnover to score on a one-yard quarterback sneak by back-up Chris Streveler with 31 seconds to go.
After going around the locker-room shaking his teammates’ hands, a disappointed Manziel told reporters he thought he knew the coverage the Bombers would present, but it didn’t work out and the interception hurt.
“It’s hard,” Manziel said. “It’s hard, you know, how hard these guys are working just to come up short like that in the end.
“Like I said, I’m sick to my stomach.”
Sayles, a rookie out of the University of West Georgia, was thrilled with his contribution.
“It was just crazy. We knew we had to seal the deal,” he remarked. “I [felt] like our momentum was going a little bit down towards the end of the third so we made a team decision to come back together.
“We made a play and everybody did their job.”
Harris caught his 10-yard touchdown pass midway through the first quarter, but left the game late in the second quarter with an injury and didn’t return.
There was no update.
He finished with seven carries for 44 yards, giving him 1,028 yards for the season.
It’s his fourth season surpassing the 1,000-yard milestone.
His replacement, Kienan LaFrance, ran in a seven-yard TD.
Elsewhere in the CFL last week, Ottawa beat Edmonton 28-15, Saskatchewan edged Toronto 30-29, and B.C. nipped Hamilton 35-32.