Bombers out of excuses

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

There were no excuses left for the abominable way the Blue Bombers played when Saskatchewan bombed them 39-12 in the Labour Day Classic in Regina.

Winnipeg could not blame the blowout on a team still trying to find its identity, on losing three offensive linemen in one CFL game or missing its offensive leaders to injury.

Worse, the Bombers suffered their fourth straight loss and showed no signs that better days are coming. In fact, there is a danger that they could sink into that dark abyss that sucked the life out of the 2005 squad after losing back-to-back games to the Roughriders.

"I hope not," Bomber defensive end Tom Canada said after the match. "I think we've got a lot more pride than that. But, at a certain time, enough's enough and hopefully, (Sunday's loss) was the wakeup call of all wakeup calls.

"Hopefully, this could be some motivation for us because we all know we can play a hell of lot better than we've been playing. So now, I guess it's addressing that and getting it done because (Sunday's performance) is not acceptable ... I'm not trying to say I'm excluded from the pack. I felt like I had probably had one of my worst first halves of my football career. Just all the way around the board, we're just not playing up to our standards. Something's got to change quick."

Bombers head coach Doug Berry blamed the loss on getting beaten up in the trenches.

"Any time that you get beat 39-12, it's a matter of that (lack of intensity)," he said. "It's who controls the line of scrimmage and they controlled the line of scrimmage. That happens in an 18-game season, I just don't want it to happen twice in a row. But it's going to happen where one team's going to come out and, quote-unquote, physically take it to the other team. We've been on the other end of that and (Sunday), somebody did it to us. Now it's, 'What is our response? What's going to key us to come back next week?' "

Winnipeg plays host to the Roughies in a re-match in the third annual Banjo Bowl this Sunday.

"You can go one of two ways after a game like that," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "You can say, 'That's enough of this,' or you can accept it and put your tail between your legs and accept it."

Berry threatened to make personnel changes.

"We did not control the running game, we were out of position a few times in the passing game and we didn't control the quarterback's scrambling," he said. "Those little shovel passes got us good two or three times. We haven't played like this all year and we know it. Everybody knows it. We'll look at it on film and find out what corrections we need to make.

"We'll re-evaluate as quickly as we can this week and make sure that we're playing with the right guys and are asking them to do the right things."

The players, however, have proven in the past that they were good enough "to take it to people," Berry said.

"We'll tinker with the lineup a little bit but we generally feel we can get better play out of the guys we have," Taman said.

At least the Bombers were talking about getting payback, for what it's worth.

"Every time you lose like that, you want revenge right away," said receiver Quentin McCord. "But you've got to get back to the drawing board, watch the film and see where our mistakes were and just go from there."

Just where they go from here remains to be seen.

"It's going to be a true test of what we have here," Taman assessed.


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