Second and longing

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Two minutes into the fourth quarter on Friday night, the B.C. Lions had converted six of 10 chances against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when it was second-down-and-10 or longer.

One could argue that if the Bomber defence had allowed only three of those six conversions, the outcome would not have been a 26-20 victory for the West Division-leading Lions.

"Those are plays we left out on the field," Bombers middle linebacker and defensive captain Barrin Simpson said. "We weren't good enough defensively on second down. That was what hurt us. We let some of their drives keep going."

The B.C. drive that led to its eventual game-winning points late in the third quarter and early in the fourth was a prime example of the Bombers having the Leos right where they wanted them -- only to let them escape with a first down.

On second-and-10 from B.C.'s 50-yard line, quarterback Jarious Jackson found Geroy Simon for 11 yards. Four plays later, on second-and-10 from the Winnipeg 39, Jackson hit Josh Boden for 13 yards. Two plays after that, Jackson once again found Simon, this time for 18 yards, on second-and-10 from the Winnipeg 26.

The clinical march down the field concluded with Joe Smith plunging one yard for the score that gave the visitors a commanding 26-11 lead.

'EVERYTHING COUNTS'

"Those are critical field-position plays," Simpson said. "When it's second-and-long and we need field position, we can't give up the second-and-long plays."

The other three instances in which the Bomber defence blew second-and-long plays all occurred on separate drives ... and led to 13 B.C. points.

"They always hurt, especially when they're going into the wind," head coach Doug Berry said. "Those are the ones that really kill you, because you think you've got them stopped potentially and they keep advancing. "... In a close football game, everything counts. Every play."

Defensive back Kelly Malveaux said the secondary was paying special attention to Simon, last year's CFL most outstanding player. That led to problems.

"Everybody has to do their job," Malveaux said, suggesting not everyone did. "We can't have one person doing too much, myself included, coming out of a zone to give up a big play in behind you.

"That's kind of been our nemesis all year, just coming out of zones and letting people hit you in the second level. We need to work from deep to short now. That's what we need to be doing."

LATE HITS: The Bombers don't return to the practice field until tomorrow but will do some conditioning work today ... The Montreal Alouettes host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats today and, with a win, can join the Toronto Argos in a tie for second spot in the East Division, three points back of Winnipeg ... The Bombers travel to Calgary this Sunday to take on the Stampeders.


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