Worst defence ever

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Well, at least it's over.

That's basically the only positive the bruised and battered Winnipeg Blue Bombers can take from their 46-24 loss to the Calgary Stampeders yesterday in their CFL regular-season finale at Canad Inns Stadium.

"It's kind of what you expect to end a season like this," said Bombers running back Charles Roberts, who rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns to basically cement his second CFL rushing title.

Stampeders 46 Blue Bombers 24

"We haven't played well pretty much for the entire year, and we don't deserve to get no fluke win at the end of the year."

The Bombers, who technically have the bye this week, will finish last in the West Division with a 5-13 record, their worst since a 3-15 campaign under Jeff Reinebold in 1998.

They missed the playoffs for the second straight season, and they also set CFL records for most yards (8,249) and most passing yards (6,335) allowed in a single season thanks to yesterday's drubbing.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the 2006 Bombers, who will attempt to play in the Grey Cup in their own stadium next November, will look nothing like the squad that trudged off the field yesterday.

The roster is certain to get a major facelift, but head coach Jim Daley and GM Brendan Taman could also be on the chopping block.

Those post-season evaluations will begin today.

"They can start that healing process now, so I guess that's a good thing," cornerback Omar Evans said. "They can get going on what they need to do and what they need to bring in here."

The Bombers, who had to make seven roster changes for yesterday's game due to injuries, actually started well yesterday in front of an announced crowd of 23,455.

"Coach Daley isn't a big rah rah-type guy, but before the game today he threw out some F-bombs and some S-bombs, which is out of his character," offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek said. "It really got the guys hootin' and hollerin' and getting ready to go out there.

"So I guess he saved the best pre-game speech until the end."

Winnipeg led 7-0 in the first quarter and 10-7 early in the second, but Calgary quarterback Henry Burris proved to be way too much for the worst defence in CFL history.

Burris completed a remarkable 21 of 25 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns, and the Stamps (10-7) kept alive their hopes of finishing second in the West Division.

Calgary will host the West semifinal if it beats Edmonton (11-6) on Sunday.

Nik Lewis had touchdown catches of 26 and six yards for the Stamps, while Jeremaine Copeland hauled in a seven-yard pass for major.

David Allen had a 22-yard touchdown run, Coby Rhinehart had a 21-yard interception return for a major after Brian Clark, who had made the pick, flipped the ball to him, and Burris scored on a two-yard plunge.

Sandro DeAngelis added a 37-yard field goal and a single when he missed from 30 yards out.

Meanwhile, Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn didn't exactly finish the campaign on a good note. He was 10-of-19 for 113 yards and tossed three interceptions that resulted in 15 Calgary points.

"It's a tough ending to a tough year," Glenn said.

Bomber backup Russ Michna completed eight of 12 attempts for 124 yards, which included a 13-yard touchdown strike to Milt Stegall in the fourth.

Roberts had touchdown runs of one and two yards, and Troy Westwood added a 47-yard field goal.

Things got testy late in the fourth quarter. Stamps punter Burke Dales and Bomber fullback Wade Miller exchanged punches, and Winnipeg linebacker Ron Ockimey got ejected.

"That fight at the end, the touchdown at the end ... that just goes to show that we went down with the ship," Abou-Mechrek said. "Not a lot of guys jumped off the ship early."


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