CALGARY -- Is this it?
Is it all over for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers if they lose to the Calgary Stampeders tonight at McMahon Stadium?
Some say yes. Some say no.
Technically, it's not over if the Bomb Squad bombs once again. A 1-6 record doesn't constitute the end of the season, but you can certainly see it from there.
The Stampeders, after a woeful start, are starting to pick up some steam, although their defence was torched last week by Dave Dickenson and the B.C. Lions. Then again, who doesn't get torched by the Lions?
The Bombers are making moves with the hope of improving their team -- cutting key free-agent signing Wane McGarity loose earlier this week sent a big message -- and they will continue to do so until progress is seen.
So the mission tonight for the Bombers is simple: Beat Henry Burris and the Stamps to keep the hope alive -- as well as your jobs.
If you don't, you might be joining McGarity and his flowing dreadlocks in the CFL's unemployment line before you know it.
Here's a closer look at tonight's tilt:
KEEP AN EYE ON
Winnipeg SB Jamie Stoddard, No. 88.
The Canadian receiver has a ferocious fan following that believes he is a top-notch CFL receiver who has never gotten a chance. He's had chances here and there, but the release of Wane McGarity this week gives Stoddard the slot spot opposite Milt Stegall -- for tonight, anyway. The heat is on the Bombers receiving corps big time, and a strong showing by Stoddard could cool it a bit.
The Bombers got shellacked 49-27 by the Stampeders at McMahon last Aug. 7 in what was Dave Ritchie's last game as Winnipeg's head coach? The writing was on the wall going into the game, and the Bombers performance sealed his fate. Ritchie started Kevin Glenn in place of a healthy Khari Jones, but the Stamps took a 17-0 lead early in the game. Ritchie yanked Glenn in favour of Jones in the second quarter, but it was too late.
6 p.m. at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary is favoured by 7 1/2 points.
Calgary leads 84-79 since 1948. There has been one tie.
The Stamps beat the Bombers 21-15 on July 7 at Canad Inns Stadium. Most fans will recall this game as the one that Kamau Peterson blew when he dropped a deep pass from Tee Martin late in the fourth quarter. Charles Roberts had 108 rushing yards for the Bombers, while Stamps QB Henry Burris completed just 17 of 34 passes for 209 yards. He threw one interception.
The Stampeders are averaging exactly 100 more passing yards per game than the Bombers. Henry Burris has tossed an average of 271.2 yards per contest, while the Bombers duo of Kevin Glenn and Tee Martin has mustered up only 171.2 yards per match.
THE FINAL SAY
"I'm gonna cheat (tonight). Have you ever seen The Last Boy Scout? You remember in that movie, at the beginning, when the guy was running down the field and he had to score and he had the gun? I won't have a gun, but I'll have something close."
-- Bombers SB Milt Stegall on how important it is for his team to beat the Stampeders tonight.