Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence stalls in season opening loss to Alouettes

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers sat out many of their starters in the pre-season and it definitely showed to start the regular season.

The Bombers had three turnovers in a lopsided 27-12 season opening loss to the Montreal Alouettes in a Grey Cup rematch on Thursday at Princess Auto Stadium.

It’s the first time since 2018 the Bombers started the season with a defeat and it’s just their fourth loss on home field since 2018.

The Bombers only generated 284 yards of net offence and over 80 of those yards came on the Bombers final drive of the game when the outcome was already decided.

Head coach Mike O’Shea took the blame for not having his team ready for the start of the season.

“I don’t know that I had them prepared well enough for this one,” said O’Shea. “Just missing that step, missing a bit of that football sense as we went along. I think we could have done a better job. I could have done a better job of getting them ready. Those last bunch of practices in training camp probably could have been a little different.

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“I’m more pissed at myself for probably seeing this coming and not doing enough about it.”

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But O’Shea still doesn’t regret resting many starters for the pre-season.

“I don’t think that the veteran group really has to play,” he said. “I don’t know that I’d change that idea.”

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Alouettes receiver Tyson Philpot scored a pair of touchdowns on 141 yards receiving, while Als quarterback Cody Fajardo passed for 254 yards with 2 TDs, and one pick.

Quarterback Zach Collaros didn’t look like his usual self, and completed 20 of his 33 passes for only 209 yards. He also threw an interception and was sacked twice.

“I certainly wish I would have played better,” said Collaros. “I got to do a heck of a lot better for us. And we’ll improve.”

Collaros didn’t take a single snap in the pre-season and it was his first game action since the 110th Grey Cup game in November.

“You never want to panic after one game,” said Collaros. “We got to continue to commit to each other day in and day out and whatever that is for you to get better. To a man, everybody’s got to look at themself in the mirror and come back here tomorrow and be critical about the game.”

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Click to play video: 'RAW: Blue Bombers Zach Collaros Interview – June 6'

RAW: Blue Bombers Zach Collaros Interview – June 6

Running back Brady Oliveira was held to just 38 yards rushing. Dalton Schoen was the Bombers leading receiver with five catches for 62 yards. Johnny Augustine scored their lone touchdown with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to make the score a little more respectable.

The Bombers offence and special teams looked especially rusty. New returner Myron Mitchell fumbled on a punt return which led to an Alouettes touchdown on the very next play. Not much went their way as veteran kicker Sergio Castillo missed two field goal attempts and a convert in the loss.

“It’s only week one,” said defensive end Willie Jefferson. “We got a long season to go. We don’t tend to lose a lot of games at home, so just stick with us. It’s going to be better.”

Bombers receiver Kenny Lawler had to leave the game in the first half with an upper-body injury.

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Winnipeg now has a 37-4 record on home field since 2018.

The Bombers will again go in search of their first win in a week two matchup against the Ottawa RedBlacks next Thursday.

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