Bombers playing for pride, not playoffs

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Jim Daley begins many of his thoughts by saying: "The reality is ..."

Well, Mr. Daley, the reality is this: Your team ain't making the CFL playoffs.

Today's game between Daley's Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-9) and Montreal Alouettes (5-6) is big for one team, and it's not the Bombers.

The Big Blue is in next-year country. It's time to pad those stats to snag some bonus money or to secure a job for 2006.

For the first time since 1998, when Jeff Reinebold was at the helm, the Bombers will play out the string. The march to nothingness begins this afternoon at Molson Stadium.

Some may point out that it's still mathematically possible for the Bombers to make the post-season and say that they haven't given up hope.

Those same people are also waiting for Elvis to return to the building.

The Winnipeg Rifles have a better shot at making the CFL playoffs than the Bombers do.

Basically, all the Bombers can do now is play the role of spoiler. It's an ugly word, but hey, that's the reality.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Winnipeg RB Charles Roberts, No. 1

For the few dozen of you out there who have RDS, there's a good chance you'll learn how to say "Wow!," "Amazing!" and "Did you see that?" in French. The last time the Bombers met the Alouettes, Roberts darted for a career-high 195 rushing yards. Montreal's defence is evolving, and it's not like it used to be. Roberts, meanwhile, is rolling after a 125-yard outing last Friday in Ottawa.

REMEMBER WHEN?

... the Bombers travelled to Molson Stadium on a three-game winning streak at this time last year? They figured a win over the Alouettes, who were 11-1 at the time, would plant them among the CFL's elite. It didn't quite turn out that way. Als QB Anthony Calvillo tossed four touchdown passes and Montreal rolled to a 47-25 win. It was the first of four straight losses for the Bombers, who traded QB Khari Jones the next day.

KICKOFF

Noon at Molson Stadium.

TV/RADIO

RDS/CJOB.

THE LINE

Montreal is favoured by 11 points.

ALL-TIME SERIES

Montreal leads 30-26 since 1961, with two ties.

LAST MEETING

RB Charles Roberts had a career-high 195 rushing yards and SB Milt Stegall scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:43 remaining as the Bombers held on for a wild, 51-46 win on July 22 at Canad Inns Stadium. For Winnipeg, which led 37-19 going into the fourth quarter, it was its first win of the season in five tries.

QUIRKY FACT

The Alouettes are 4-0 when QB Anthony Calvillo passes for fewer than 300 yards. They're 1-6 when he passes for 300 yards or more.

THE FINAL SAY

"The good thing about it is we're not able to fly out of here to go home. We actually have to go back to Winnipeg, so guys weren't able to pack a bunch of bags and have to think about that."

-- Bombers SB Milt Stegall, praising coach Jim Daley's decision to have the team return to Winnipeg tonight -- and go over film tomorrow -- before letting them leave for the bye week.

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WHO'S HOT

BOMBERS: No. 98 Gavin Walls

This one's a slam dunk. The rookie defensive end had two -- count 'em -- two touchdowns last Friday in Ottawa thanks to an interception and a fumble recovery. He also chipped in with two tackles and a pass knockdown to earn CFL lineman of the week honours.

ALOUETTES: No. 86 Ben Cahoon

Rust? What rust? The incredibly durable slotback returned from a broken elbow and wrist to record seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown last week in B.C.

WHO'S NOT

BOMBERS: No. 84 Chris Brazzell

Razzle Dazzle has cooled off. The wide receiver, who had back-to-back games of 135 receiving yards in late August, has just eight catches for 99 yards in three contests since then.

ALOUETTES: No. 18 James Whitley

The defensive back struggled last week in B.C. against Dave Dickenson, so he will sit today. Cornerback Darrel Crutchfield, No. 26, returns to the lineup after missing six games with a foot injury.


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