Blue Bombers take advantage of turnovers to beat down Tiger-Cats
'We just got whipped by a better football team,' says Hamilton coach
Matt Nichols threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers scored 23 points off five Hamilton turnovers in a weather-delayed 37-11 victory over the Tiger-Cats on Wednesday.
Ticats coach Kent Austin didn't hold back in telling reporters how he thought his team played.
"We just got whipped by a better football team. Period," he said.
The game's start was delayed two hours 38 minutes because of a severe thunderstorm and lightning in the area around Investors Group Field. It was the third game the Bombers have played this season that's been delayed by the weather.
Once the players had a quick warm-up, it was the Bombers who struck like lightning.
"It was a pretty exciting first half," Winnipeg head coach Mike O'Shea said. "Our guys were pretty pumped. I think all three phases just did a great job."
4 turnovers for Masoli
The Bombers (3-4) scored 20 points off four Hamilton (3-3) turnovers in the first half and led 34-0 at the break.
Hamilton didn't get on the scoreboard until 7:31 of the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Jeff Matthews and a two-point convert catch by Andy Fantuz.
Nichols, making his second straight start in place of incumbent Drew Willy, completed 23-of-31 pass attempts and had no interceptions. The team had no turnovers while snapping a six-game losing streak at home dating back to last season.
Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was 27-of-46 passing for 334 yards. He threw three interceptions and had a fumble that led to 20 Bomber points.
"Got to look at the film, but I've definitely got to take ownership of that," Masoli said. "I didn't have a good game."
Kicker Brett Maher had a punt blocked and the turnover was used for a Winnipeg field goal.
The Bombers got touchdowns from rookie defensive back C.J. Roberts, newly signed slotback Clarence Denmark, receiver Thomas Mayo and running back Andrew Harris.
Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock was good on his four converts and connected on field goals from 16, 31 and 19 yards.
Hamilton also got points off a 41-yard Maher field goal.
Denmark scores in return
The Bombers jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, went ahead 28-0 at 5:59 of the second and took a 34-0 score to the locker-room at halftime.
Roberts got things going when he intercepted Masoli and ran 19 yards for his first CFL touchdown.
Denmark, the former Bomber who was re-signed on Sunday, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-0 for the Bombers at 3:36 of the first quarter.
A Masoli fumble was scooped up by tackle Jake Thomas and led to a 13-yard touchdown catch by Mayo at 10:03.
After Winnipeg had a punt return touchdown by defensive back Kevin Fogg nixed by a penalty, the Bombers responded with Harris' two-yard touchdown run at 5:59 of the second for a 28-0 lead.
Defensive back Derek Jones then blocked Maher's punt and the ball was recovered by linebacker Tony Burnett. The turnover led to Medlock's 16-yard field goal.
Masoli then had a pass bounce off some hands and Bombers rookie safety Taylor Loffler ended up grabbing it for the interception.
Medlock used the game's fourth turnover to boot a 31-yard field goal at 12:58 to make the score 34-0.
Hamilton had the only third-quarter points with Matthews' touchdown at 7:31 and then Maher added his 41-yarder at 3:28 of the fourth.
Medlock booted a 19-yarder at 12:12 to finish game's scoring after Masoli was picked off by linebacker Ian Wild.