Solid Bombers defence praised

Blue Bombers defensive backs Ian Logan (left) and Alex Suber do their part to make Alouettes...

Blue Bombers defensive backs Ian Logan (left) and Alex Suber do their part to make Alouettes slotback S.J. Green (19) drop the ball in the end zone during Winnipeg's victory over Montreal on October 22, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)

Jim Bender, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 AM ET

Validation often comes from the vanquished.

The Blue Bombers sacked Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo six times and picked off the CFL’s leading passer three times to key Winnipeg’s 26-25 victory over the defending Grey Cup champs Saturday.

“They’re good,” Calvillo assessed. “They’ve got the guys up front. They have the advantage when they’re playing at home, because we have to be on the silent count. They’re in this position for a reason — because they’re a solid team, offence, defence and special teams. Give them credit. They played well.”

That impressive sack attack was done with defensive end Odell Willis — who entered the game as the CFL sack leader — sitting out most of the match with a rib injury.

“The way they rotate us, we’ve always got fresh guys in there getting after it,” said veteran Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown. “In some instances, we were rushing four defensive ends, almost. Anthony’s a hard guy to get to. That speaks tremendous for what our (defensive) co-ordinator (Tim Burke) was able to implement (Saturday).”

Calvillo completed only 14 of 37 passes for 199 yards and no touchdowns.

“When you get pressure on a great quarterback, it can make him average,” said Bomber cornerback Jovon Johnson, who had one of the three picks. “The wind affected him a little bit. They couldn’t take the shots they wanted. That’s part of the game.”

Defensive linemen Fernand Kashama and Jason Vega had two sacks each and Bryant Turner, one.

“The coach was calling some good plays for us,” Kashama said. “We had some schemes up front and that gave everybody an opportunity to go out there and make plays, and I’m glad I had a chance to be a part of it.”

That stingy defence allowed the stagnating offence to find its game in the fourth quarter.

“Those guys are just ballers,” said Bombers centre Brendon LaBatte. “The energy they carry and the way they play out there, it’s infectious. They just play with so much determination, and they’re so fast and they fly around, it’s honestly fun to watch.”

But they can’t let up now with two games to go.

“We’ve got to play with the same intensity and the same momentum that we played with (Saturday) because, if we play like that, it’s going to be hard for teams to beat us,” Johnson said. “But it starts with us. We’ve got to come out ready to play. The games that we lost, we weren’t ready to play at the beginning of the game.”

The Bombers did clinch at least second spot and their magic number to clinch top spot is two — any combination of Winnipeg wins and Montreal losses adding up to two.

“It’s all for nothing if we lose next week and they win,” Brown said. “It’s just another chapter, and the stakes just got raised even more. Both teams are all in now.”

— With files from Kirk Penton and Paul Friesen


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