Another blow to Blue

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were giving no thanks to their friends from Montreal on Thanksgiving Monday.

The Alouettes dropped a 39-19 decision to the Eskimos in Edmonton yesterday. The Eskies improved to 8-8 and a tie for second with Saskatchewan in the CFL West. More importantly, Edmonton is now four points ahead of the fourth-place Bombers (6-10).

The Eskimos play in Saskatchewan this weekend and the winner will be six up on Winnipeg and out of reach because the Bombers, who have the bye this week, only have two games remaining. Actually, a tie between the two would eliminate Winnipeg from playoff contention.

Both Edmonton and Saskatchewan won crucial games over the weekend while the Bombers served up a turkey at home versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, bowing 20-13 in their most important match of the season Friday.

Still hope

Yet, there is still hope. Should the Eskimos lose to Saskatchewan, Winnipeg could still beat them out for a playoff spot by winning their last two games. One of those is against the Eskies in Edmonton, where the Bombers win as often as Jessica Simpson says something bright.

Should Edmonton beat the 'Riders, the Bombers would still have to win their last two, then hope that B.C. also downs Saskatchewan on the final weekend.

"I really don't like trying to go into the playoffs with someone else controlling our destiny," veteran Bomber linebacker Lamar McGriggs said after the Hamilton loss. "I'd rather be in control ourselves, but right now, any way we can get in is fine with me."

Bombers' GM Brendan Taman did not return messages left yesterday.

SINGING PRAISES: Before he headed to Cowtown for Thanksgiving, Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley praised his much-maligned offensive line that held Hamilton to just a single sack Friday, and that was the result of quarterback Kevin Glenn hanging on to the ball much too long.

"Our offensive line had a very good night," Daley said.

"For the most part, they blocked well for the run, they protected the passer well. An area of concern weeks back when we played Hamilton was our O-line's matchup against their outstanding D-line, and our group did a good job. So, there were a lot of aspects of our play that were very good. I think it's been about a five-week stretch where they're really played pretty well."

Daley added that even the secondary that had been bludgeoned so badly the two previous matches had improved.

"Our secondary, which has been really hit hard the last couple of weeks with pass games by Montreal and B.C. really did a good job against (Hamilton quarterback) Danny McManus," he said. "The last game we played them, they had 520 yards passing. This game, it was 280-something (288 actually).

"This was a big test playing against a veteran quarterback who understands coverages and who understands our league and gets rid of the ball fast. And our secondary responded very well. So there are some things that do tease you. But I look at our O-line right now and I think our O-line has evolved into a pretty good group."

But it was those turnovers and ill-advised penalties that did them in versus Hamilton.

"Turnovers killed us," said McGriggs. "Right now, we don't know how to handle turnovers very well."


Videos

Photos