Drew Willy hit Julian Feoli-Gudino with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left in the game to lift the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 34-33 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night.
The Bombers (3-0) trailed by five points when Willy led a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped by his game-winning third-down TD strike.
Backup quarterback Robert Marve had a touchdown and the Winnipeg defence got one from linebacker Desia Dunn and another from defensive back Chris Randle. Lirim Hajrullahu booted three field goals for the Bombers, who played their first road game after a pair of wins at home.
Troy Smith threw touchdown passes to Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, Kenny Stafford and S.J. Green for Montreal. They were the first career CFL touchdowns for former NFL stars Johnson and Stafford. The Alouettes (1-2) had four field goals from Sean Whyte.
Winnipeg returner Demond Washington fumbled two second half punts that both led to Whyte field goals.
Between the 23 penalties for 233 yards called and three challenges, the first half alone was painfully slow and lacking in flow, although play picked up in the second half.
The Bombers got a 16-yard Hajrullahu boot on their first drive, but Montreal answered with a six-play drive capped by a 46-yard TD pass to Johnson. Ochocinco is known for hugging people he meets, and that’s what he did to the nearest official after the score.
Winnipeg looked to be stopped twice on their next drive, but a roughing call and a review of Jeff Tisdale’s hold on Clarence Denmark produced a pass interference call in the end zone that set up Marve’s one-yard TD 8:56 into the game.
Whyte tied it with a 25-yard kick to open the second quarter .
Winnipeg gave up the ball on downs on their own 32, but Jason Vega stripped the ball from Troy Smith and Dunn ran it 70 yards to score at 10:41. However, the convert attempt was blocked by Alan-Michael Cash.
Whyte and Hajrullahu traded field goals late for a 19-13 Winnipeg halftime lead.
Montreal opened the second half with Smith’s 49-yard TD pass to a wide open Stafford to take a one-point lead.
Willy answered with a 49-yard toss to Nic Moore to set up Hajrullahu’s third field goal of the game, only to see Washington fumble a punt to set up a Whyte 37-yarder to put Montreal back in front on the fifth lead change of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, Smith found Green in the end zone for a five-yard TD, but the Winnipeg defence struck back when Randle picked off a pass and ran it in from 28 yards. The two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game failed.
Whyte added a 23-yard boot for a five-point lead with 2:18 left in the game.
Winnipeg’s rookie coach Mike O’Shea threw the challenge flag twice in the first half, winning a pass interference call on one and having an intentional grounding call changed to a sack, both delaying the game several minutes. Montreal’s Tom Higgins also challenged twice.
Among the crowd of 20,384 was Marc Trestman, who won two Grey Cups with Montreal before he was hired last season as head coach of the Chicago Bears. Trestman got a warm ovation as he was honoured in a half-time ceremony.
Chip Cox passed Kelly Wiltshire’s 609 to take over 10th place all-time in career tackles. The career leader is Willie Pless with 1,207.
The Bombers are back home Thursday to face Edmonton, while Montreal travels to B.C. on July 19 for their second meeting with the Lions in three weeks.