Loneliest man in town

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Just three minutes to go, and the fate of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on this night -- and perhaps much longer, who knows? -- is hanging in the air way above the turf at Canad Inns Stadium.

Bomber quarterback Tee Martin has lofted a long bomb for Kamau Peterson, who's broken into the clear behind the Calgary defence.

The crowd holds its breath, ready to explode in celebration of the home team's first victory of the season.

The team's destiny about to drop into his hands, Peterson instead lets it slip through his fingers. The ball falls to the turf, and the Bombers fall to 0-3.

"Could have been a hero, and ended up the goat," Peterson would say later, not trying to be the least bit funny.

Actually, he'd been crying, his back to his teammates and head in his hands, facing his locker -- the loneliest man in Winnipeg.

"I could live with it, if it was just me that falls," Peterson continued. "But you've got 40 guys busting their asses, they're 0-2 and trying to turn their season around. That s--- just can't happen.

"The whole city deserved that play. This team deserved that play. I hold myself personally responsible."

Now, Peterson's drop wasn't the only reason the Bombers dropped a 21-15 decision to the Stamps, but on a night when thunderstorms greeted the final gun, it will surely be the lightning rod for this team's offensive woes.

And believe me, the Bomber attack was woeful, other than a masterful performance from running back Charles Roberts.

The closest this team got to the end zone was the Calgary 16-yard line, and that was with five minutes to go. That's two offensive touchdowns in three games.

It could have been three, and it could have been a win, if not for one man's mistake.

Fair? Of course not.

BLOCKED PUNT

There was also Jon Ryan's third blocked punt in three games that handed Calgary its only touchdown, two minutes into the game.

"For him to feel he cost us the game, that would be inaccurate," Bomber head coach Jim Daley said of Peterson, who latched onto four other passes. "It was a tough catch that would have been a huge play. But there were other plays that were very instrumental, too."

Perhaps. But it's the one Peterson didn't make that everybody will be talking about.

That's just the world of pro sports.

The fact Peterson is coming off a year of too many drops will only add to the fervour.

But you know what? Nobody is going to be harder on the guy than he is.

"I'm partly over it as far as the mental aspect," Peterson said. "Now I have to punish myself physically. That's a defining moment, and the moment defined me today. Obviously, there's a glitch somewhere, whether it's fatigue or the rain. But if there's a tornado I should make that play."

Translation: you might find Peterson out in the middle of a downpour at 3 a.m. catching balls from a Juggs machine in a neighbourhood park near you. At least, until he gets this out of his system.

You can't say the Bombers aren't making any progress, because this team's defence has improved each time out.

Oh, it bent a little, but not once did it break, slamming the door shut whenever the Stamps offence drove to within a sniff of the end zone.

The defence did what a hockey goalie or a baseball pitcher are supposed to do: give its team a chance to win.

It's then up to your offence to close the deal.

Memo to fans of high-flying, high-scoring CFL football: move along, there is nothing to see here.

Except a man sitting with his back to his teammates, wondering what just happened to him.


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