Ty Long kicked a 34-yard field goal with 56 seconds left on the clock as the B.C. Lions picked up a wild 45-42 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.
The winning points were set up after Robbie Yell intercepted Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols and returned the ball to the Winnipeg 35 with 1:21 left on the clock.
After two running plays, Long — the rookie kicker who the Lions kept in favour of veteran Swayze Waters — split the uprights with his third field goal of the night at a raucous B.C. Place Stadium.
Justin Medlock, who came up well short on a 61-yard field-goal attempt that would have won last November’s West Division semifinal, didn’t have enough leg from 50 yards with one second left on a boot that would have sent the game to overtime.
Travis Lulay passed for 404 yards and two TDs to Emmanuel Arceneaux to go along with two interceptions for B.C. (4-1). Jeremiah Johnson and Chris Rainey also scored touchdowns for the Lions.
Nichols threw for 241 yards and three TDs, and scored another on the ground for Winnipeg (2-2), but also had that costly pick late.
Darvin Adams, with two, Clarence Denmark, backup quarterback Dan LeFevour and linebacker Kyle Knox scored touchdowns for the Bombers on the field where their 2016 season ended in November’s West Division semifinal.
With the Lions looking stunned after Winnipeg scored 28 straight points to go up 42-27, Arceneaux scored his second touchdown of the night from 10 yards out on a pass from Lulay to get B.C. within eight with under 10 minutes to go. The play also moved Arcenaux into third all-time in receiving yards in franchise history.
The Bombers tried a head-scratching fake punt on their next possession — their second trick play on special teams of the night — that failed to connect when Medlock’s pass was knocked down, setting up the Lions deep in Winnipeg territory. Lulay ran the ball in from 14 yards two plays later before connecting with Arceneaux on a two-point conversion to make it 42-42 with seven minutes to go.
Down 27-21 at the half, Winnipeg went up by one on the opening drive on the third quarter when Nichols tucked the ball with no one open and ran it in from 20 yards out.
The Bombers scored a touchdown on a fourth straight possession after getting the ball back, with Adams grabbing a six-yard pass from Nichols with one hand to make it 35-27.
Winnipeg scored again on B.C.’s next drive when defensive lineman Jake Thomas deflected Lulay’s pass before coming down with the interception. He lateralled to Knox, who tiptoed down the sidelines from 34 yards out to make it 42-27 through three quarters.