Failure to sack made it tougher on DBs

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

REGINA -- Was it Kerry Joseph, or was it the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' beleaguered pass defence?

Whatever it was, the safety-turned-quarterback threw for a season-high 348 yards, and the Riders racked up a season-high 465 yards of total offence in their 31-26 Labour Day Classic victory on Sunday.

The Bombers now have five days to figure out how to stop Joseph from dancing around the pocket like Fred Astaire and unloading bombs like John Elway.

Middle linebacker Barrin Simpson said the blame shouldn't fall solely on the cover men.

"We missed a couple sacks on Kerry which allowed him to extend the play," Simpson said. "All he's trying to do is run around and let the receiver get leverage on a DB, because as a DB you can't cover forever.

"So when we get an opportunity to sack him, we gotta sack him."

MR. BEAN IS BACK: Bombers cornerback Robert Bean had an eventful return to the lineup after missing six games with a knee injury.

Not only did his defence surrender nearly 500 yards to Joseph and the Riders, but Bean had an interception go right through his fingers in his own end zone late in the first quarter. Receiver Matt Dominguez nearly caught the ball for a touchdown.

"My eyes were kind of off," Bean explained. "The ball was wobbly, and it was crazy."

Then in the third quarter, Bean found himself on the side of the field where Riders receiver Michael Washington was wide open for a 14-yard touchdown catch.

"We didn't get the call," Bean said of he and halfback Davin Bush. "We were both on another man, and he was just wide open."

Bean said he and Bush didn't get the defensive call because the Riders were so quick to the line of scrimmage.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: Winnipeg's special teams, which were atrocious against Toronto on Aug. 24, were only slightly better on Sunday.

"Our punting game was I suppose OK, except for the one that was punted out of bounds (late in the fourth quarter). We gotta fix that," Berry said. "Our return game still wasn't what we're looking for."

The Riders averaged 18.3 yards on nine kick and punt returns, while the Bombers averaged 12.3 yards on eight runbacks.

LATE HITS: Injured Bombers RB Graeme Bell was at Sunday's game and was in the Winnipeg locker-room after the game. Bell was attacked by a bat-wielding man outside a Saskatoon bar in May and suffered a head injury that prevented him from playing this season ... The inaugural Never Party Alone cabaret Saturday night in Regina was a smashing success. The event, which was organized by Bomber fan Pat Rathwell, was well attended, and the proceeds will go to the Never Alone Foundation ... The Bombers return to the practice field tomorrow.


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