Blue Bombers rally late to remain unbeaten
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Drew Willy completed 24-of-38 passes for 256 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with just 28 seconds to play, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers remained unbeaten on the young season with a thrilling 34-33 victory over the Montreal Alouettes at Percival-Molson Stadium.
"We know now that we can come back on any team and put them away," Willy said. "I have a lot of faith and confidence in a lot of guys. It's what we'll need the entire year."
Nick Moore hauled in seven passes for 84 yards for Winnipeg (3-0), which also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.
For Montreal (1-2), Troy Smith threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns on 18- of-32 passing, but he also committed a two crucial turnovers -- one fumble and one interception -- both of which were returned the other way for scores. Brandon Whitaker compiled 110 total yards (68 rushing, 42 receiving), and Brandon London had four receptions for 77 yards.
Winnipeg got the scoring started on the game's opening drive when Lirim Hajrullahu connected on a 16-yard field goal.
Montreal answered on its first possession when Smith hooked up with Chad Johnson for a 46-yard touchdown, the former star NFL wideouts' first-career CFL major.
The Bombers took a 10-7 lead less than four minutes later following a one-yard touchdown plunge by Robert Marve. They were set up on the goal line following a pass interference call in the end zone.
After an Alouettes' drive stalled in Winnipeg territory, Sean Whyte hit a 25- yard field goal in the opening moments of the second quarter to tie the score at 10-10.
With under six minutes to play in the half, the Bombers failed to convert a 3rd-and-1 attempt, but on the first play of the Alouettes' ensuing possession, Desia Dunn recovered a Smith fumbled and returned it 70 yards to give Winnipeg a 16-10 lead following a blocked PAT.
Montreal cut its deficit to three on a 39-yard field goal by Whyte with 1:53 left in second quarter, but Winnipeg answered in the waning seconds of the half when Hajrullahu knocked in a 24-yard field goal to give it a 19-13 lead heading into intermission.
The Alouettes came out of halftime sharp, and at the 10:35 mark of the third quarter, Smith connected on a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stafford to take a 20-19 advantage.
Set up by a 49-yard pass from Willy to Moore, the Bombers regained the lead with 5:54 left in the third on another Hajrullahu field goal, this time from 27 yards away.
Winnipeg muffed a punt deep in its own territory to give the ball back to Montreal, leading to a 37-yard field goal by Whyte as the home team went back on top, 23-22.
The Alouettes extended their lead to eight early in the fourth quarter when Smith completed a back-shoulder pass to S.J. Green in the end zone for a five- yard major.
The Bombers shifted the momentum with 8:37 left when Chris Randle picked off a Smith pass and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. After a failed two-point attempt, the score remained 30-28 in favor of Montreal.
After another fumbled punt return by the Bombers, Whyte chipped in a 22-yard field goal to pad the Alouettes' lead.
The Bombers had their backs against the wall with under a minute left facing a 3rd-and-10 on Montreal's 17-yard line, but Willy completed a touchdown pass to Julian Feoli-Gudino to give them the lead. It remained a one-point game, 34-33, after a missed two-point try.
"I was screaming in the huddle," Wiley said. "I started my cadence four yards away so the offensive line could hear me because the crowd was real noisy. A lot of drama, but it was the play for sure against a good defensive line."
With less than 30 seconds to work with, the Alouette's failed to move the ball into field goal range.
The touchdown for Green gives him 35 for his career ... Hajrullahu has yet to miss a field goal this season (7-of-7) ... Montreal still leads the all-time series by a 46-39-2 count ... The teams will meet again in Week 9 in Winnipeg.
07/11 23:56:55 ET