WINNIPEG — Five hours and 40 minutes. That’s how long it took the Edmonton Eskimos to beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Thursday’s weather delayed season opener. It’s now the longest regular season game in CFL history.
While the game will be remembered as a nearly six hour marathon, it’ll still go down in the standings as a loss.
“Like any loss this is gonna hurt,” Head Coach Mike O’Shea said. “And they battled. But they’ll be over it.”
In all there was nearly three hours in delays. It’s the third straight season the Bombers have gone through this experience and they seemed to only get stronger each time they came out of the tunnel.
“You play outside, weather is going to happen,” Chris Streveler said. “So I think we did a good job of kinda relaxing while we’re in here, but then kicking it back in when we were getting ready to go back out. So I don’t think that was really too big of an issue for us. I felt like we were ready to play every time we came back out.”
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“We just kinda hung out in here,” Weston Dressler said. “Guys put music on. Each break we talked about what was going on in the game for a little bit, and then you kinda just take a break from it cause it’s difficult. You don’t know for sure when you’re going to be back out there.”
You certainly can’t fault rookie quarterback Chris Streveler for the loss. He made three touchdown passes and gave them every chance to win in his pro debut.
“With the weather delays I don’t think I ever imagined it going like that,” Streveler said. “Just like any game I think there’s some good things that I personally — and us as an offence — can build on, and also some things that we’re going to need to get better at.”
While a two-and-out with the game on the line in the dying minutes started their undoing, Streveler still proved he was more than worthy of the starters role.
“For a guy who’s been in the CFL for what is it, two-three weeks now, he kept his composure,” Dressler said. “He didn’t pout about any mistakes that were made.”
“A lot of poise obviously,” O’Shea said. “I thought he did really well.”
The real glaring problem wasn’t the rookie QB, it was the supposedly improved defence that surrendered 487 yards of offence.
“The first 5 minutes they took advantage of a couple opportunities,” O’Shea said. “Our guys didn’t waiver at all and just settled down a little bit. That’s something good to build on but none of the players are happy.”
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In the longest game since the 1962 Grey Cup, better known as the “Fog Bowl”, it was Kevin Fogg who came up with the two of the team’s biggest plays. Fogg returned a missed field goal 110 yards for a touchdown and then he snatched an interception in the endzone.
“The way he tracked that ball to have that interception in the end zone,” O’Shea said. “He takes points off the board right there so it was impressive. He tracked it a long way and made a helluva catch.”
“But none of it means anything cause we didn’t win,” Fogg said.
The Bombers will get another crack at win number one next Friday in Montreal.