Badly outmatched

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

All they wanted was a sign. A sign this wasn't going to be another one of those years.

A sign this Blue Bomber team wasn't going to roll over and play dead to the top dogs in the CFL.

A sign last week's slaughter in Saskatchewan was just one of those nights.

That's really all the 22,000-plus fans who showed up at the Stadium last night hoped to see, wasn't it?

I mean, actually beating the Edmonton Eskimos wasn't really an option, not with their stacked lineup against a Winnipeg team that's obviously a work in progress.

No, if most of those in the crowd were injected with truth serum, they probably would have admitted they came to see just that: a work in progress. Emphasis on the progress.

If this was progress, we'd never have made it to the moon, folks.

Out to redeem themselves in their home opener, the Bombers were instead turned meekly aside, 27-8, barely causing the Eskimos to break a sweat.

Not that they didn't try, mind you. It's just that when you're so badly outmatched on offence, you don't stand a chance.

Chew on this number: through two games, this team has averaged 123 yards total offence.

By comparison, Edmonton's Ricky Ray passed for a cool 469 yards last night, alone. 'Nuff said?

Let's revisit, shall we?

The faithful saw some good signs early, when the Bombers went into half-time trailing just 10-1.

After all, it took the Roughriders just one kickoff return and a few offensive plays to put the first 14 points on the board last week.

Sure, the Winnipeg offence still looked like it was slogging through Red River sludge, this time with Tee Martin at the controls. The unit managed just five first downs and 47 yards of offence in the first 30 minutes.

SHAKING YOUR HEAD

Charles Roberts would get the ball and see nothing but white in front of him, more evidence his five blockers are, indeed, an offensive line.

And the Bomber defence had one of those breakdowns that leave you shaking your head.

How often do you see a team's backup running back romp for a 60-yard touchdown? Mike Bradley had never scored a CFL touchdown before, for crying out loud, but here he was, doing his best Kenton Keith impersonation.

The worst part of it was the way Bomber defender William Fields mistook Bradley for his sister when he should have been tackling him.

So, yeah, some of it looked eerily similar to what happened in Regina, but the Bombers were still in it, dammit, thanks to a defence that appeared to be finding itself.

Then the second half rolled around, providing another one of those head-shakers from the defence.

This time it was a 105-yard pitch-and-catch from Ray to Jason Tucker, who was so open he could have been arrested for being indecently exposed.

That made it 17-1, Esks, and you began to expect the worst.

For a while, you got it, too: Dave Mudge's facemask penalty killed a promising Winnipeg drive, and head coach Jim Daley inexplicably called for a punt instead of a wind-aided field goal try.

Strange thing is, the score didn't change until the last play of the third quarter, and it was the Bombers who changed it.

Taking advantage of a blocked punt by rookie Stanford Samuels, Martin hit D-lineman Jon Oosterhuis, of all people, with a two-yard touchdown pass on a short yardage play to make it 17-8.

Working against the breeze in the fourth quarter, the Bombers never threatened.

The team that embarrassed itself five days earlier may have hung in there a little better.

But let's be honest: if it doesn't start finding a way to move the ball, it'll have trouble beating the Ottawa Renegades.


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