Face it, they're losers

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

You've got to hand it to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers: they came up with an entirely different way to lose.

Let's face it -- they'd perfected the look-putrid-on-offence method over the first half of the CFL season. If they were to cement their status as the league doormats, they needed to come up with something different in yesterday's Banjo Bowl, and they certainly didn't disappoint.

Threatened with the prospect of actually getting back in the race in the CFL East, the Bombers reached deep into their box of dirty tricks and pulled a 34-31 defeat from what seemed like sure victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

FINAL PROOF

A week after lollygagging their way to a pathetic six points on offence against these same Riders, the Bombers this time scored four touchdowns and built a 17-point lead, before coughing it up like a hair ball in the fourth quarter.

You can call it a choke if you want. Generally we reserve that term for good teams that tighten up when it matters most.

This effort, marked by a defence that loosened up when it counted most, was more like final proof this team is a loser.

At 2-8, anyone beg to differ?

This season is as good as toast, burned beyond recognition, and now the alarm has to be ringing in the ears of club president/CEO Lyle Bauer.

When the going got tough yesterday, this group folded like a cheap tent, across the board.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn and the offence couldn't move the ball a lick in the final minute when a simple first down or two would have sealed the deal.

Meanwhile, a Riders team missing three starting receivers completely embarrassed the Bomber defence.

I mean, when Michael Bishop, a quarterback on the dark side of the 50% completion mark most days, hits 80% against you, we're 100% sure you're screwed.

And don't point to the loss of middle linebacker Joe Lobendahn for the second half collapse. Injuries didn't seem to hurt the Riders offence, which came in three yards shy of 500 on the day.

That's right, 500. This was the CFL's bottom rung offence before yesterday, folks.

Yes, the Riders made some big plays, none bigger than a last-second catch by someone named Gerran Walker. Gerran Who? The guy was playing his first game, for pete's sake.

Too many Bomber defenders looked like they were.

It actually wasn't anywhere near this team's worst effort of the season. Truth is, had the Bombers been playing with the same spark since Week 1, they might be around .500, which would feel like paradise, by comparison.

But the fact it took absolute desperation, the trading of Charles Roberts and another paint-peeling tirade by Bauer this week to get a decent effort out of them says it all.

If this was the Bombers after a wakeup call, imagine them after they hit the snooze button.

Check that -- we don't have to imagine. We've seen it.

The dominos couldn't have been lined up any better than they were yesterday: a sellout crowd, a limping Riders team that could easily afford to lose and a now-or-never attitude for the Bombers.

It's clear as crystal the answer is never. As in, this edition of the Blue and Gold is never going to regain the form of last year's.

That should have been obvious after the 0-4 start.

But even Berry and GM Brendan Taman must see it now, too, if they take off their rose-coloured glasses.

So the Bomber brass has two options, as I see it.

Either it continues to make drastic changes to the roster, a la Roberts, or it cuts off the head of this tortured monster.

That would be Berry and Taman. The two are joined now, since they collaborated to oust one of the best players in franchise history.

The move didn't work.

And like they said about Roberts, it's all about production.


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