Bombers still have chance

At be­ing worst team in re­cent mem­ory

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS CFL - PAUL WIECEK

THE thing about be­ing in a play­off race is it helps if your team oc­ca­sion­ally wins a game, in­stead of just count­ing on the other teams to lose.

The woe­ful 2- 10 Win­nipeg Blue Bombers went to bed Satur­day night just four points be­hind the third- place Mon­treal Alou­ettes, who lost their third in a row Satur­day, 28- 26 to the Hamil­ton Tiger- Cats, to fall to 4- 8.

But it’s the West Di­vi­sion’s Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos who the Bombers will now also have to catch if they’re go­ing to make a late- sea­son play­off run. With back- to- back vic­to­ries over Win­nipeg — 25- 7 last week in Ed­mon­ton and 35- 27 in Fri­day night’s de­ba­cle in Win­nipeg — the Eski­mos are 3- 9 and two points ahead of the Bombers.

It was the 7- 11 Eski­mos, re­mem­ber, who crossed over last sea­son and took the third play­off spot in the East when both the Bombers and Hamil­ton Tiger- Cats fin­ished 6- 12. And it could hap­pen all over again this year if the Bombers or Als don’t fig­ure out a way to win again soon.

Now, some of this play­off talk — heck, prob­a­bly all this play­off talk — is be­sides the point when you con­sider the new lows the Bombers reached this sea­son with Fri­day’s epic col­lapse.

Up 20- 0 in the sec­ond quar­ter and, for once, ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing some vi­able of­fence, the Bombers found a whole new way to lose — and this one truly was a team ef­fort.

Con­sider: Af­ter gen­er­at­ing 181 yards of net of­fence in the first half, the Bombers were able to muster just 81 yards in the sec­ond half and did absolutely noth­ing to help out a de­fence un­der siege.

And speak­ing of de­fence, how about Win­nipeg de­fen­sive backs Alex Su­ber, Marty Mar­kett and, worst of all, De­mond Wash­ing­ton, all drop­ping what should have been sure in­ter­cep­tions in the fourth quar­ter that would have put Ed­mon­ton on ice, earned Win­nipeg the vic­tory and have peo­ple talk­ing to­day about the tidy lit­tle two- game win­ning streak the Bombers had put to­gether at In­vestors Group Field, in­stead of look­ing for knives to cut out their eye­balls?

And speak­ing of fail­ing to put the game away, how about Bombers place­kicker San­dro DeAn­ge­lis miss­ing what would have been the game- win­ning field goal from just 35 yards with 2: 33 re­main­ing?

Yes, in a sea­son in which this mot­ley Bombers crew has sel­dom put to­gether a com­plete team ef­fort, they fi­nally at least found some­thing they could all do to­gether — rip de­feat from the jaws of vic­tory.

So now what? Well, things cer­tainly don’t get any eas­ier from here. Ed­mon­ton had just one win all sea­son — and were rid­ing an eight- game los­ing streak — un­til they faced the Bombers the last two games and so you could ar­gue the light­est com­pe­ti­tion Win­nipeg will face this sea­son is al­ready be­hind them.

The Bombers play again at home Fri­day against a B. C. Lions squad that was 7- 4 com­ing into this week­end. Now, the Lions are cer­tainly vul­ner­a­ble at the mo­ment — they’ll be with­out start­ing QB Travis Lu­lay and they’ve won on the road just once in five games this sea­son.

But if the Bombers couldn’t beat Ed­mon­ton Fri­day af­ter they’d been spot­ted a 20- point lead, it’d be hard to ar­gue that B. C. will be a pushover.

And af­ter B. C., things get re­ally tough. The Bombers will be in Calgary to face a Stam­ped­ers team that just last night had their 10- game win streak at home bro­ken by Toronto.

In a sea­son in which this team hasn’t been able to win much, one mark that they might still yet win is that of the worst Bombers team in re­cent mem­ory.

Un­til now, that mark has been held by the 1998 Bombers, who recorded the worst record for a Bombers team in an 18- game reg­u­lar sea­son sched­ule at 3- 15.

If you can fig­ure out where th­ese 2- 10 Bombers get a third win in the fi­nal six games of their 2013 sched­ule, you should give head coach Tim Burke a call and fill him in. Which is not to say, mind you, that it can­not hap­pen — heck, this bunch of sad sacks beat Saskatchewan just a cou­ple of weeks ago, so any­thing is pos­si­ble.

But it seems safe to say that what­ever hap­pens from here, this Bombers team will never have an eas­ier chance to win their third game in 2013 than the night they were up 20 points on the Eski­mos and blew it.

It only gets harder — much, much harder — from here.

JOHN WOODS / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Well, well... Ed­mon­ton’s Adar­ius Bow­man grabs a pass un­der Blue Bomber Henoc Muamba’s gaze.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.