Head-scratcher

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

One minute, 31 seconds to go.

The Toronto Argonauts had just handed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers a gift horse.

And the Bombers looked it right in the mouth.

What they found was a bad smell that leaves them reeling with a third straight loss, fourth at home, and a tenuous hold on second place in the CFL East.

The details weren't pretty, but they must be revisited. It's our job.

Leading 18-15, the Argos fumbled the ball away in their own zone. Some 25,000 Bomber fans couldn't believe their good fortune.

Apparently, the Bombers couldn't, either.

Because what they did next can only be described as a horrible brain cramp. A couple of them, actually.

Virtually ensured of a game-tying field goal, the Bombers instead asked backup quarterback Mike Quinn to throw the ball deep into the end zone.

Some might call it greedy. I call it stupid.

Quinn had played a mistake-free, if unspectacular, game to that point.

Enough to give his team a chance to win. No turnovers. Two short touchdown passes. And plenty of handoffs to running back Charles Roberts.

Exactly what the doctor ordered, considering starting quarterback Kevin Glenn and receiver Milt Stegall were still out with injuries.

So why does all that go out the window when the game is on the line?

Where was Roberts? Why not run the ball? At worst you're stopped and have to settle for the field goal, taking your chances in overtime.

At best, Roberts breaks another one -- he did carry 21 times for 120 yards -- and you wind up with the winning touchdown.

Throwing deep made no sense on so many levels.

Even if they score, they'd leave the Argos plenty of time to come back.

"I'm not going to second-guess," Quinn said. "That's not my job."

Which brings us to the second head-scratcher.

After the Bomber defence held, yet again, Winnipeg got one more chance.

And what does head coach Doug Berry do? He put third-string quarterback Brad Banks into the game instead of Quinn.

Banks, colder than a penguin's rear end at Christmas, then threw the ball, if you can believe it, right into the arms of Toronto linebacker Mike O'Shea.

And just like that, the Bombers, who led 15-3 going into the fourth quarter, had snatched defeat from what appeared to be a season-turning victory.

So the bleeding continues, and you have to wonder if the patient doesn't have some internal injuries that are going to take a long time to heal.

This in no way resembled the last two games, when the Bombers weren't even a threat to make a game of it.

But it might have even more lasting effects.

"This one hurts a little more," Quinn said. "Because we were right on schedule in the first half. I don't know ... the game just kind of turned."

Blowing a 15-0 lead has to be tougher to swallow than leather.

The winning touchdown came from Toronto receiver Arland Bruce III, after a video review in the final 2 1/2 minutes showed his foot landed just inches inside the end zone.

That stings -- like a thousand wasps just did their thing all over your body.

The ending ruined what was a pretty good story.

Roberts was dynamite, finding holes where there weren't any.

"It seemed like we were doing really well in the first half, running the ball," Quinn said.

So why did Roberts get just nine carries in the second half?

Kick returned Albert Johnson III was spectacular, too.

The Bombers defence also cranked things up a couple of notches.

Yeah, they got burned badly once, on a 73-yard pass and run.

But after that late meltdown on offence, they were simply burning.

You can't help but wonder if a locker-room rift between the offence and defence isn't far away.

A lot of things to wonder about, as a team that had so much promise is now a mediocre 5-5, and sinking rather quickly.


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