Bombers get their swag on

Winnipeg's Odell Willis (left) grabs the face mask of Montreal's Brandon Whitaker Sunday....

Winnipeg's Odell Willis (left) grabs the face mask of Montreal's Brandon Whitaker Sunday. (MARIE-CLAUDE FOREST/QMI Agency)

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

MONTREAL — Odell Willis and his band of merry defenders have earned the right to say Swaggerville all week long if they want.

The moniker that drives the rest of the CFL nuts isn’t going away anytime soon when you consider this: According to Sean Campbell of radio station Team 990 in Montreal, the Als lost at home on Sunday for the first time since 2008 when quarterback Anthony Calvillo played the entire game.

Talk about swag, swag, swag.

“If you ain’t on Swaggerville’s bandwagon now, you can’t get on because we ride,” Willis said with a laugh in the cramped but jubilant Bomber locker-room at Molson Stadium. “We ain’t taking no more applications.”

The genesis of the defensive game plan that shut down the Alouettes on Sunday started many, many moons ago in southern California.

“This goes all the way back to when (linebackers coach) Casey (Creehan) and I were with Calgary,” Bombers defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke said. “We went and visited the San Diego Chargers, so we got that concept from them.

“We’ve been talking about it for years, and this was the first game we ever pulled it out.”

It wasn’t a game plan that required weeks and weeks of planning. The biggest difference was using five down linemen at times, a strategy Burke had not employed previously.

“A lot of the reason was because they were keeping so many guys in to protect that the only way we could create enough one-on-one matchups was to put that front in,” Burke said.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, the defensive backs and Swaggerville council members were winning battles left and right. Alex Suber, who is generously listed at 5-foot-7, held 6-foot-3 Jamel Richardson without a catch in the first half. One of Calvillo’s two touchdown passes came after Winnipeg returner Tim Brown coughed up the ball at his own 26-yard line.

“We played a lot of man, so we had to win one-on-one matchups,” Burke said. “It was their receivers against our DBs.”

Burke spent the last three seasons as Montreal’s defensive co-ordinator, helping the team capture the last two Grey Cups. He left on good terms, so he got no extra satisfaction from Sunday’s victory.

“It feels very good because I think they’re the best offence in the league,” he said. “Our guys played really hard today and played with great technique. I can’t say enough about how well our defence played.”

And for the 11th time in 11 games, Winnipeg’s fate rested on the final turnover tally. Thanks to three takeaways and two giveaways against the Als, the Bombers are 8-0 when they win the battle and 0-3 when they lose it.


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