Black day for Blue Bombers

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers might be a good football team some day, but right now they're nowhere close.

The Montreal Alouettes exposed almost every Bomber weakness yesterday, exploding for 613 yards of total offence and cruising to a 42-23 win at Molson Stadium.

The win, in front of a another sellout of 20,202, improved the Alouettes to 6-6 and moved them into second in the East Division, while the Bombers fell to 4-10 and are all but out of playoff contention.

The only way Winnipeg can make the playoffs is if it wins its remaining four games and either Calgary or Saskatchewan loses all five of its games.

Not only that, the Bombers would also have to finish with more points than either the Ottawa Renegades (5-8) or the Alouettes to cross over to the East.

In other words, it's not going to happen, so the soul-searching has begun.

"I don't know what can be done," despondent Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "It's just been adjustment after adjustment after adjustment so far.

"At some point, you run out of things you can do with your personnel. Sometimes it comes down to talent, and apparently we're not doing so well in that department right now."

The Bombers get two weeks to ponder yesterday's loss, which was their fourth in the last five games. They have their first bye of the season this week and will host the B.C. Lions on Monday, Oct. 10.

The Bombers actually started well yesterday and had a 14-3 lead after the first quarter thanks to two Alouettes turnovers.

Two plays after backup safety Shawn Gallant picked off Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo, Bombers pivot Kevin Glenn hit Milt Stegall with a 32-yard touchdown toss -- the receiver's 12th of the season -- and cornerback Omar Evans returned another interception 22 yards for a score.

Montreal, however, began to pile up the yards two drives later. It had four straight plays of at least 20 yards, and Calvillo capped it with a two-yard touchdown scamper on the first play of the second quarter.

The Bombers led 17-14 at the half despite surrendering 366 yards of total offence, but headed to the locker-room wondering what could've been thanks to three turnovers.

Bombers running back Charles Roberts fumbled on Montreal's 30-yard line in the first quarter, he failed to gain a yard on third-and-one from the Montreal 34 in the second, and Glenn, who had gotten the Bombers to the Montreal 19, was later picked off by Als safety Richard Karikari on the goal-line.

Overall, the Bombers got inside the Als' 35 seven times but came away with only Stegall's touchdown and three Troy Westwood field goals from 26, 23 and 18 yards.

"That's the difference between a 4-10 team and a team possibly going to the playoffs -- those things right there," Stegall said.

"... We're moving the ball and then we just freeze up."

The Bomber defence suffered a similar fate in the second half, as the Als walked all over them, outscoring them 28-6 in the final 30 minutes.

Als receiver Kerry Watkins, who burned cornerback William Fields all afternoon, had seven catches for 164 yards, including a 32-yard TD grab, while running back Robert Edwards dashed 16 times for 121 yards and added two touchdowns from 15 and one yard out.

Calvillo, who completed 25 of 35 for 430 yards, also hooked up with Ben Cahoon for a four-yard major.

The last time the Bombers allowed more than 600 yards of total offence was Aug. 4, 2000, in a 31-16 win over B.C.

"There's really no words," Brown said. "You can say it was an exercise in futility out there today."

The loss spoiled another solid performance by Roberts, who carried the ball 22 times for 150 yards. Glenn, meanwhile, completed just 15 of 28 attempts for 224 yards.

"We're a long way from where we gotta be," Bombers head coach Daley said.


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