Bomber turnovers cost them undefeated run against depleted Tiger-Cats

Winnipeg nearly doubled its turnover output Friday night in Hamilton

Matt Nichols was off his game on Friday night in Hamilton as the Bombers lost for the first time in 2019.
Matt Nichols was off his game on Friday night in Hamilton as the Bombers lost for the first time in 2019. CFL.CA

HAMILTON–Football is a game of 60 minutes, but Winnipeg quarterback Matt Nichols felt the game was already sealed on only his second pass attempt.

The pivot eventually threw three interceptions in a 23-15 loss to the host Tiger-Cats, as the Blue Bombers’ undefeated run came to an end. It was the first that bothered him the most.

“It’s crazy that one ball slipping out of my hands to start made the difference,” said Nichols. “(It) felt like my teammates played well (enough) to win tonight and I felt like I personally didn’t.

“That’s alright, this is professional football and that’s what I signed up for.”

The Blue Bombers (5-1) came into Tim Hortons Field on Friday night hoping to achieve their best start to a CFL season since 1960 but were held back by seven total turnovers.

Maintaining possession was not something that had concerned the Bombers’ coaching staff earlier, as they led the CFL in turnover ratio and had only eight in their previous five games.

Head coach Mike O’Shea was not thrilled.

“All of it bugged me,” he said, in his post-game media availability. “Every turnover is critical — we’re going to look at the film where I’m sure the team won’t be happy but we’ll see we didn’t meet our standard.”

Although it was a missed opportunity for the Bombers to assert themselves as the CFL’s best (Hamilton moved to 5-1), the league leader in touchdown passes this season sees benefits.

“Sometimes a loss like this can make a team realize that it’s not going to be easy,” said Nichols. “This is a great example for us as a team and me.”

Hamilton won the game without their starting quarterback for much of it.

Jeremiah Masoli went down with an apparent knee injury with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter and did not return to the game. His status is still listed as uncertain following the action.

Bombers’ defensive back Winston Rose was impressed with back-up Dane Evans and did not believe the Bombers missed a chance at victory.

“It wasn’t a missed opportunity,” said Rose, after Evans completed 13 out of 25 passes and added 94 yards through the air with one interception, and a rushing touchdown, against the league’s top defence.

“Any back-up QB should be as prepared as a starter would, and tonight he proved that.”

Rose had two interceptions, one off Masoli and the other off Evans, tying him with Calgary Stampeders defensive back Tre Roberson for the league lead with five.

The 25-year-old totalled five interceptions all of last season and credits his off-season mindset, work-ethic, team as well as the help from a Stampeders quarterback.

Rose also wasn’t shy to mention the assist from a power above.

“I approached my off-season like there was a game every day,” said the defensive back. “I woke up  and did one-on-ones with Nick Arbuckle. Got a lot of work with receivers — my team has helped the most this year and God blessed me with my gift.”

After the gut-wrenching defeat in front of 23,512 in Hamilton, the Bombers take the short drive on a short week up the QEW to face the Toronto Argonauts (0-6) on Thursday.

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Posted: Jul 27 2019 8:00 am
Filed under: Football Sports