Bombers claw back to beat Alouettes

Chris Garrett ran in a one-yard touchdown with 48 seconds remaining in the game as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers clawed back from a 15-point deficit to defeat the Montreal Alouettes 26-25 on Saturday.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Buck Pierce, right, is tackled by Montreal Alouettes' Chip Cox during the first half Saturday in Winnipeg. ((Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press))

Anthony Calvillo's big arm usually puts opponents away.

On Saturday, it let the Winnipeg Blue Bombers back into the game.

The Alouettes quarterback threw a rare trio of interceptions as Montreal lost 26-25 to the Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg scored 15 points off the turnovers, including a crucial touchdown in the fourth quarter when the Bombers were clawing back from a 25-10 deficit.

The teams are now tied for first place in the CFL East Division with 10-6 records, but the Bombers have won the three-game season series and would get first place if the clubs finish the regular season tied.

"The turnovers. That's what so crucial and disappointing at the same time," said Calvillo, who only had five interceptions this season heading into the game.

"That's why I'm so sick, because all these guys fought so hard, so dang hard, and then to come up knowing that you're a big part of the loss, that's what stings me.

"But that's part of being the quarterback. You've got to deal with it and move on."

Calvillo, who was sacked six times, finished 14-of-37 for 199 yards, three interceptions and no TDs. It was his lowest yardage this season for a full game.

Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce was 21-of-33 for 236 yards with one TD and one pick that led to a Montreal touchdown.

The Bombers weren't putting too much emphasis on the comeback victory.

"All we did was live to play another day in terms of having that opportunity and that chance (for first place) in front of us," defensive tackle Doug Brown said.

The Alouettes host the Stampeders next Sunday and end the regular season on the road against B.C. on Nov. 5.

Winnipeg plays at home against Toronto next Friday and travels to Calgary Nov. 5.

The Bombers had lost three of four games heading into the Montreal match, while the Alouettes had a four-game winning streak halted.

Greg Carr hauled in a seven-yard TD catch for Winnipeg and running back Chris Garrett had a pair of touchdowns.

Bomber kicker Justin Palardy was good on a 15-yard field goal, had a single off a missed 32-yard attempt and hit the uprights on a 27-yard attempt. Punter Jamie Boreham added a pair of singles for Winnipeg's other points.

Windy conditions played a huge role in the game.

When the Alouettes had the wind in the third quarter, they scored 16 points and mounted a 25-10 lead, including a four-yard run for a TD by Brandon Whitaker after Pierce threw an interception.

Montreal kicker Sean Whyte finished the game with a personal-best six field goals in front of a sellout crowd of 30,360 at Canad Inns Stadium.

The Bombers turned the tables in the fourth, scoring their own 16 points.

Palardy began the surge with a 15-yard field goal at 2:30 of the fourth, but hit the uprights on a 27-yard attempt.

Bombers catch a break

Calvillo's third interception of the game was a tipped ball that was grabbed by Bomber defensive back Jonathan Hefney and led to Garrett's first TD at 8:21 for the 25-20 score.

Garrett's final TD was set up by a Montreal pass interference call on linebacker Chip Cox that took the ball to the one-yard line.

Quarterback Alex Brink kept it and failed to get in on the first try. He then flipped it to Garrett for the winning points with 48 seconds left. A two-point convert attempt failed.

When the Als travelled to Winnipeg Sept. 30, they stymied a Bomber come-back attempt for a 32-26 victory.

That day, a questionable Montreal penalty took Winnipeg to the one-yard line, but Brink failed to get into the end zone twice and time ran out.

Bomber offensive lineman Glenn January said he was thinking of the deja vu as he was walking to the line of scrimmage.

"The football gods ruled in our favour," January said, tipping his hat to the defence's performance.

Cox said the Als have struggled all season with letting opponents come back in the fourth quarter.

"We've got to learn how to step on teams," Cox said.

Bomber Terrence Edwards led all receivers with 110 yards off six catches, his first 100-yard game since Sept. 11. Garrett finished with 11 carries for 57 yards.

Whitaker rushed 15 times for 109 yards and receiver Jamel Richardson had five receptions for 102 yards.