Bombers’ dominant defence was the plan from the beginning

Bombers’ dominant defence was the plan from the beginning

This was the plan from the onset.

The continued improvement, the focus on chemistry-building, the elimination of big plays that had plagued the team earlier in the year and a shared tenacity with the aim of siphoning the will from opposing offences.

A chilly, fall afternoon Investors Group Field played host to that culmination. Sixty minutes of play ended with an impressive, well-round zero on the scoreboard next to the Saskatchewan Roughriders logo in a 31-0 win.

“This was always part of the plan,” said Blue Bombers linebacker Chandler Fenner. “It’s the perfect time to start meshing and start melding. It’s all happening perfectly. I love it when it all comes together.”

It had to, of course.

It’s a rare feat in football to shutout a team. The Bombers hadn’t done so since a day in the middle of July in 2006 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Even with dominant performances like the Bombers had on Saturday, often garbage-time points spoil the goose egg.

Not so on Saturday.

“Our coaches were doing a good job at keeping us focused, staying aggressive,” said defensive back Marcus Sayles, who finished with four tackles and a forced fumble. “We didn’t let them get their momentum going.”

Indeed.

The Bombers snatched Saskatchewan’s will early in the game. The Bombers nearly had two turnovers before they inevitably recorded their first on a forced fumble that Anthony Gaitor took to the house.

Taylor Loffler would grab the next two, both interceptions by the Bombers safety.

“We were just moving around, everyone was just out there flying around,” Loffler said.

Loffler was heading toward the biggest performance of the day until Adam Bighill decided to muscle it away.

The Bombers middle linebacker was “meticulous and a savage” on the day, according to Fenner.

The former NFLer ended the day with eight tackles — three of them sacks — and one forced fumble that led to Gaitor’s major in the first quarter.

And while it looked easy from the press box, from the stands in front of 26.070 and from the TV, Bighill — choosing to remain professional — politely said it wasn’t.

“No. They’re professionals,” Bighill said of the Riders. “They’re trying to scheme and win. It was just the fact that we were really well prepared and we played on top of our game and executed really well.”

Winnipeg allowed just 170 yards of Saskatchewan net offence, their third lowest total given up this year. Their four takeaways were tied for their second most this season. Winnipeg has now won every game this season — nine — when they’ve won the turnover battle.

It’s a far cry from the days where the Bombers were giving up 400, sometimes 500, yards a game. This re-invigorated defence has helped lead the Bombers to four straight wins and a resurgence up the West Division standings.

“I’ve talked all throughout the year about playing our best football come November,” Bighill said. “We’re starting to see that.”

sbilleck@postmedia.com

Twitter: @scottbilleck

3
Like
Save

Comments

Write a comment

*