Defence does its job

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:23 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The revamped Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence looked nothing like last year's version during last night's CFL opener at Molson Percival Stadium.

In fact, in sharp contrast to last season, it was more the offence than defence that cost Winnipeg its game against the Montreal Alouettes.

The Bombers held the high-flying Alouettes to seven points in the first half and kept quarterback Anthony Calvillo under wraps.

Calvillo, who is trying to become the first CFL quarterback to throw for at least 5,000 yards in five consecutive seasons, completed 22 of 37 passes for 108 yards and no touchdowns.

The Bombers sent a few blitzes at Calvillo, which they didn't do much last season, did some 3-4 sets and had him forcing passes into strong coverage.

Calvillo threw five balls to Ben Cahoon, with the all-star slotback hauling in two for 20 yards.

The points Montreal wracked up in the second half were more the result of Winnipeg penalties and bad field position than poor defence.

GOTCHA!: Bombers special teams coach Cory McDiarmid was grinning like a Cheshire cat after Ike Charlton returned a Stanford Samuels blocked punt 54 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bombers a 17-7 lead in the third quarter.

It was extra special for McDiarmid, because he spent last season as Montreal's running backs coach.

DOUBLE VISION: Perhaps Doug Berry will start liking instant replay now.

The rookie Bombers head coach, who said earlier this month that he wasn't a fan of the technology, challenged an incomplete catch by Bombers rookie receiver Quentin McCord in the first quarter.

Upon further review, referee Jake Ireland ruled McCord actually did make the catch, which resulted in the Bombers moving 20 yards downfield.

The Bombers still ended up punting four plays later, but they made the first regular-season challenge in CFL history count.

Berry was hot at Ireland in the fourth quarter when the Als challenged an eight-yard run by Charles Roberts, contending he fumbled. The play was reviewed, but the challenge was denied.

LATE HITS: You can add Berry to the list of Bomber head coaches who have lost their first game as the team's head coach. Bomber bosses are now 10-14 all-time in their first appearance ... The Bombers sported a new look last night: solid, navy pants that featured no stripes or logos. We'll consider the look still under review ... The Alouettes had their 63rd consecutive sellout at Molson Stadium ... It was a rough night for Bombers offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek. The recently converted right tackle had four illegal procedure calls against him, one holding penalty and a face mask infraction ... Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn was sacked six times. Als linebacker Tim Strickland had four of them.


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