close
close

Blue Bombers slide further, fall to 0-4 – Winnipeg Free Press

Blue Bombers slide further, fall to 0-4 – Winnipeg Free Press
Blue Bombers slide further, fall to 0-4 – Winnipeg Free Press

CALGARY — Things have gone from bad to worse for the Blue and Gold. And even a thrilling comeback to force extra time can’t change the harsh reality the Winnipeg Blue Bombers currently face.

The Bombers entered the match with an 0-3 hole to start the season for the first time in over a decade, and with an injury list a mile long, the Bombers received another heavy dose of bad news, in addition to losing 22- 19 in overtime against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium Saturday night.

JEFF MCINTOSH v CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros throws the ball under pressure from Calgary’s Mike Rose during the first half Saturday. Collaros was injured just before halftime and did not play in the second half.

While it’s painful to be down 0-4, the worst for the Bombers came long before the final whistle.

Quarterback Zach Collaros took a heavy hit to the abdomen from Stampeders defenseman Josiah Coatney just before halftime, and although Collaros would return for a few plays, he was ultimately ruled out of the game during intermission.

There was no update from head coach Mike O’Shea, who said keeping Collaros out for the final two quarters was a precaution.

Collaros remained on the sidelines, actively supporting Chris Streveler as he led the Bombers to a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback. Collaros left the game after completing eight of his 12 passes for just 55 yards and an interception.

“Zach is the best quarterback in the league and when you lose a guy like that, it’s obviously going to be tough,” Bombers running back Brady Oliveira told the club. Free press.

JEFF MCINTOSH / CANADIAN PRESS

Blue Bombers defenseman Ali Fayad (52) puts pressure on Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier (12) during the first half.

“We’ve had a lot of adversity already this year. We talked about it earlier this week and we just have to look the adversity in the face until we overcome it. I thought Streveler came in and did an incredible job.”

With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the score was 18-9, but Sergio Castillo made it a field goal from 60 yards.

The kick is considered the second-longest field goal in CFL history and the longest ever by a Bomber.

That set the stage for Streveler, who would orchestrate an eight-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown to Drew Wolitarsky.

It was the Bombers’ first passing touchdown of the season.

Castillo’s goal made it 19-19 with 30 seconds left. The Stampeders were more than happy to stall out the clock and force overtime.

Streveler, who completed 14 of 24 passes for 170 yards and the lone score, couldn’t conjure the same magic in OT. He got Winnipeg as far as Calgary’s 16-yard line, but with second-and-10 looming, his pass up the middle to end zone receiver Nic Demski missed and fell into the waiting arms of Demerio Houston.

JEFF MCINTOSH / CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg slotback Nic Demski (10) tries to avoid Calgary defenseman Demerio Houston on Saturday.

Houston played three years with the Bombers before signing a two-year deal with the Stampeders, and it was his first game against his former team. He had projected before the game that he would have at least one interception. He now has two interceptions in three games after leading the CFL with seven last year.

Stampeders kicker Rene Parades then sealed the game with a 52-yard field goal, his fourth and longest of the game.

“We put together a drive when we needed to in the fourth, we just have to find a way to get it done,” Streveler said. “It’s a game here and there and that’s what the last three games have been like, and it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating, but we’re going to take responsibility for this, we’re going to have a good week of preparation next week and we’ll keep fighting.”

It was a defensive battle for much of the evening, with neither side able to get an attack going. Both clubs struggled to get an attack going, with the Stampeders narrowly outscoring the Bombers, 307 to 297, in offensive yards.

The Bombers were without their top two receivers, Kenny Lawler (broken arm) and Dalton Schoen, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Winnipeg had three starting receivers, with Ontario Wilson, Jeremy Murphy and Josh Johnson combining for 59 yards.

JEFF MCINTOSH v CANADIAN PRESS

Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira stretches for extra yardage during the first half.

Demski led all Bombers receivers with 54 yards on six catches, while Oliveira rushed 10 times for 26 yards, adding another 37 yards on five catches. Winnipeg had three turnovers in the game, including a pair of interceptions and a turnover on downs after Oliveira came up a yard short on a gamble on third-and-9 late in the fourth quarter. The Stampeders had two turnovers.

The Bombers also shot themselves in the foot with some unusual penalties, especially towards the end of the game. Winnipeg finished with eight penalties for a total of 60 yards, while Calgary had three for 40 yards.

“Just too many mistakes to win that close game,” O’Shea said. “We put ourselves in a tough spot a few times. Defensively, we cleaned up the explosive plays. We probably could have taken the ball away a little more than we did, so we didn’t make those big plays, but I thought our defense cleared them pretty well controlled.”

Credit to the Bombers’ defense for rebounding from a poor Week 3 performance against the BC Lions, where they surrendered nearly 400 passing yards and 500 yards of total offense.

The defense still has to make do without a number of key players, especially on the defensive line. It was impressive that they were able to keep the Bombers in the game for much of the evening.

JEFF MCINTOSH / CANADIAN PRESS

Backup quarterback Chris Streveler (17) is tackled by Stampeders defenseman Cameron Judge (4) as Kobe Williams (0) looks on.

JEFF MCINTOSH v CANADIAN PRESS

Winnipeg quarterback Chris Streveler (17) is tackled by Calgary Stampeders’ Cameron Judge (4) as Kobe Williams (0) looks on during CFL football action in the second half in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, June 29, 2024.

Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier has completed nearly 80 percent of his passes in his first two games.

On Saturday, Maier attempted 43 passes, completing 28 or 65 percent, for 239 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He connected with Marken Michel in the end zone from six yards out, with the touchdown giving Calgary an 18-9 lead early in the fourth frame.

“We still didn’t do enough to win,” Bombers safety Brandon Alexander said. “It’s frustrating because it feels like it was one play and if we could have made that one play, it would have been different.”

The Bombers return to Winnipeg to prepare for a Week 5 matchup against the visiting Ottawa Redblacks. The Bombers fell to the Redblacks 23-19 in Week 2.

[email protected]

X: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

Jeff Hamilton is a sports and investigative reporter. Jeff joined the Free press newsroom in April 2015 and has been covering local sports since graduating from Carleton University’s journalism program in 2012. Read more about Jeff.

Every piece of reporting Jeff produces is reviewed by an editorial team before it is posted online or published in print – part of the Free press‘s tradition, since 1872, of producing trustworthy independent journalism. Read more about Free pressDiscover the history and mandate of ‘s and read how our newsroom works.

Our newsroom depends on a growing readership to fuel our journalism. If you are not a paying reader, please consider becoming a subscriber.

Our newsroom depends on its readership to fuel our journalism. Thank you for your support.