BOMBSHELLS: Will McGuire be next man up if Streveler can't go in rematch with Stampeders?
Sean McGuire got his first opportunity to throw the football in the CFL Saturday and there may be more where that came from.
The rookie Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback came in to replace an injured Chris Streveler for one series in a 37-33 loss the Calgary Stampeders and threw two passes in a two-and-out.
He attempted a long bomb to Lucky Whitehead on his first attempt, but it fell incomplete, and completed his first career pass to Andrew Harris on the second attempt, though it was only for three yards.
“No panic or anything,” McGuire said. “I practice every week for a reason. Just tried to let it rip, the first ball. I felt good about it.
“No matter what they called, I was just going to go out and try to execute. We had a nice double move called and they didn’t quite bite on it.”
McGuire has been the No. 2 quarterback in Winnipeg since Aug. 15, when No. 1 Matt Nichols went down with a season-ending shoulder injury and Streveler took over as the starter.
He’s a raw rookie, but Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea likes the work he has done in practice and has maintained that McGuire will get the next shot even though the team recently acquired veteran Zach Collaros from Toronto.
Streveler was banged up in a big way on Saturday, with an ankle injury being the worst of his problems. He was seen hobbling after the game and had a crutch with him at the team hotel later that evening.
If he can’t play Friday in the rematch against the Stampeders in Winnipeg, there are many people who believe the Bombers should start Collaros, an eight-year veteran who has thrown more than 2,000 passes in the CFL.
McGuire has thrown two.
“I’m not in the business of speculating,” McGuire said. “If my number gets called, I go out and do my job. That’s just it, that’s how I have always prepared.
“Obviously Chris was taking a couple shots and that’s kind of the world I’ve been living in. For a long time now I’ve been just one play away from going in.
“I’ve just been doing my job and I just went in and tried to do it again.”
GOING FOR TWO
In a very close game between two strong West Division teams, Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson chose to apply a little extra pressure by going for two-point converts on his team’s first three touchdowns.
All three were successful and the points came in handy in a game that was eventually decided by four points.
Bombers coach Mike O’Shea had no urge to try to match the two-pointers, choosing to kick the convert on all three of his team’s touchdowns.
“We have our formula,” O’Shea said. “Part of the reason teams go for two is to try to get you to chase points early. I don’t really fall into that trap.”
SIX POINTS IN SECOND HALF
While it was easy to hang Saturday’s loss on a defence that got burned for 337 Bo Levi Mitchell passing yards and three touchdowns, the Bombers once again saw their offence stall in the second half as well, when they were trying to protect a lead.
They scored just six of their 33 points in the second half. There have been several games this season when the Bombers simply have not backed up their first half performance with a strong second half and Saturday was another prime example.
“It’s a couple of plays here and there, coming up short,” Streveler said. “I know our team can finish.
“They just stopped us a little bit more. They made some defensive adjustments, started bringing some pressure and what not. They made plays. We didn’t run the ball as effectively in the second half because of that.”
Particularly concerning for the Bombers was their ineffective passing game in the final three minutes when they had two opportunities to drive for the winning touchdown. Streveler finished with just 134 passing yards and completed only two of six attempts in the final three minutes.
The Bombers are a running team but that won’t work when you need to move quickly to score a late touchdown. They were in a must-pass situation and they weren’t close to good enough.
Defensive end Willie Jefferson did not record a single stat on Saturday as the Stampeders did a good job of neutralizing one of the league’s most dominant players … Whitehead replaced an injured Darvin Adams in the lineup and made a strong contribution, scoring a touchdown on a 25-yard jet sweep in the first half and catching four passes for 38 yards … The Bombers won the special teams aspect of the game, getting 138 return yards from Janarion Grant and a four-for-four field-goal kicking day from Justin Medlock. Grant, who scored two punt return touchdowns when the Bombers and Stamps met in Winnipeg on Aug. 8, had one 50-yard kickoff return Saturday … Winston Rose had his league-leading ninth interception, while Marcus Sayles had a forced fumble, a scoop and a score just a week after recording two interceptions and a sack against Montreal … The Stampeders could have put up considerably more passing yardage were it not for four wide-open drops by receivers … Bombers defenders pointed to communication problems as a reason for their inability to slow down Mitchell and the Stamps receivers. It’s something they have said before this season and it seems unacceptable when you’ve just played your 17th game … The Bombers took five penalties for 75 yards on Saturday and they were costly, extending drives for the Stampeders when the defence could have been off the field. In a tight-game, those were negative difference-makers.
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