Bombers win home opener, go 2-0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Fred Reid is tackled by Toronto Argonauts' Ejiro Kuale. (REUTERS/Fred...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Fred Reid is tackled by Toronto Argonauts' Ejiro Kuale. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

Shut down Cory Boyd? Check.

Limit Chad Owens? Check.

Victory? Check.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers delivered another fine defensive performance on Friday night, downing the Toronto Argonauts 22-16 in what will likely be their last home opener at Canad Inns Stadium. They improved to 2-0 in front of 27,638 raucous fans.

It’s the third straight year the Bombers have won their home opener.

The Bombers are 2-0 for the first time since 2003. Since 1952, when the CFL went to a 16-game schedule, the Bombers have made the playoffs 13 of the 14 times they’ve started with two wins.

The Argos fell to 1-1.

Bombers middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn sealed the deal when he recovered an Owens fumble with 1:22 to go in the fourth quarter. Deon Beasley forced Owens to lose the pigskin after he made a reception.

The Bombers had to settle for Justin Palardy’s fourth field goal of the night, but the defence held one more time for the win.

Winnipeg, which will play three of its next four games at home, hosts the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday night.

The Bomber defence forced five turnovers, sacked Cleo Lemon seven times and held Boyd to just 15 yards on six carries. Owens, meanwhile, averaged just 19 yards on kickoffs and just 5.2 yards on punts.

After Toronto surrendered a safety to give Winnipeg a 13-3 lead early in the third quarter, Lemon led his team on a 51-yard drive that he capped with a nine-yard touchdown run.

Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce, despite dealing with right-leg pain, had a pair of long runs for first downs during a drive that resulted in Palardy’s 32-yard field goal and a 16-10 edge for the Blue and Gold.

Palardy pushed Winnipeg’s lead to 19-10 with a 34-yard field goal five minutes into the fourth, but Noel Prefontaine countered with a 43-yarder to get his team to within six yet again and then added a 44-yarder with 2:12 to go that made it a three-point affair.

The first half will not go down in history as the best half of offensive football ever played.

The Argos failed on a pair of third-and-shorts, Pierce mustered 97 passing yards, there were four turnovers, and Palardy missed two field goals.

After the Argos took a 3-0 lead on Prefontaine’s 21-yard field goal, Palardy missed his first in 13 attempts dating back to last season, from 28 yards out, and settled for a single. Two series later Palardy whiffed from 44 yards, and the boo bords were out in full force.

The Bombers took the lead early in the second quarter when Fred Reid capped a short drive with a four-yard touchdown run.

The Bomber defence, meanwhile, was all over the ball. They sacked Cleo Lemon four times in the first half alone and limited Argos tailback Cory Boyd to just 13 yards on five carries.

The Bombers marched in the final two minutes of the second quarter, and they settled for Palardy’s 40-yard field goal as time expired to take an 11-3 lead into the locker-room.

LATE HITS: Reid had 63 yards on 19 carries … Defensive end Jason Vega left the game in the first half with a knee injury and didn’t return … Winnipeg was two sacks shy of the team record. The Bombers had nine against B.C. on July 22, 1984.


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