The Winnipeg Blue Bombers got knocked on their butts, but they are vowing to rise from the turf and come back swinging.
The Blue and Gold blamed mostly injuries to two starting offensive linemen and partly bad officiating for their 44-16 loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday night, so they don't feel as if they have taken a step backwards.
Despite the loss, the Bombers remain firmly entrenched in second place in the East Division with a 3-2 record, two points back of the 4-0 Alouettes.
Winnipeg plays in Edmonton on Thursday night against the Eskimos.
"There's no question in my mind we will come out and be a very strong, confident football team when we play Edmonton this week," head coach Doug Berry said.
"... I know I could almost sense and feel (the players') chests expanding as I was talking to them today. So I feel really good about it."
The Bombers weren't feeling so good at the end of Saturday's game. In fact, they were fuming after the Alouettes kept all their offensive starters on the field and scored a touchdown with 2:27 to go.
Berry and defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall were seen giving the finger to the Montreal bench on national TV, and Berry barely glanced at Als head coach Don Matthews when they shook hands after the game.
Berry said after the game that he had "two succinct words" for Matthews, his former boss, during their midfield meeting.
"I told the team today I thought the ultimate compliment was paid to them (when) Montreal went after as many points as they could get," Berry said.
"That's a sign of respect, knowing that 'We may not beat these guys two more times.'
"... Statistically we can move the ball on them, and we can slow them down, so I don't blame him for going up and getting as many points as he could."
Winnipeg's post-game reactions were also a result of the frustration they were feeling after rookie CFL referee Murray Clarke piled 18 penalties on the Bombers during the drubbing.
Berry went mum yesterday when asked about Duane Butler's vicious hit on Mike Quinn that knocked the Bomber backup quarterback out of the game.
"I'm not going there," he said.
He was then asked how many penalties he thought his team deserved.
"I can't comment on that," he said.
The coach did, however, point out that he sent some plays to the CFL for review "as I always do."
Bomber players treaded lightly when discussing the officiating after the game, but some plan to use it for motivation on Thursday night.
"I'll tell you one thing," said defensive tackle Doug Brown. "It's going to push us to go into Commonwealth with a chip on our shoulders."
If nothing else, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Bombers will be jacked for their back-to-back meetings with the Alouettes in September.
"There will be another game," Berry said, "so take notice."