Bombers close in on berth

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Here's a potentially freaky stat in a CFL season full of freaky occurrences.

As bad as the year began for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, they have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot three days earlier than last year, when they finished with a 10-7-1 record.

If the Bombers win their next two games and the Toronto Argonauts lose their next two, the Blue and Gold will secure a post-season berth.

"That is crazy," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said yesterday. "But all I'm worrying about is Edmonton on Saturday. I don't care about Toronto. I only care about what we do."

If Toronto (4-9) loses to B.C. on Friday and Winnipeg (5-8) beats Edmonton on Saturday, the Bombers would have a chance to lock up a playoff spot by beating the Argos on Oct. 10 at Canad Inns Stadium. With a win that night, Winnipeg would take a six-point lead on Toronto -- and own the tiebreaking edge -- with three games to go.

The Bombers secured a playoff berth last year on Oct. 13.

As improbable as that sounds, it's not out of the question. The Bombers have won three in a row, while the Argos have lost four straight.

Do not, however, get the impression Taman is sitting in his office with feet up on his desk, sipping a margarita. While noting that most areas of his team played well in Friday's 30-23 win over the Eskimos, he was quick to point out they're still three games below .500.

But have the Bombers turned the corner after consecutive victories over the Argos, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Eskimos?

"If turning the corner means that we've played a complete game, I'd answer that by saying no," Taman said. "We can play better. That doesn't mean we're playing bad. We can play better, though, in all three phases of the game.

"We're happy we're winning, but we're not content."

'Very confident'

The players sure like what's happening. Veteran linebacker Kelly Malveaux likes the vibe he's feeling among the players.

"We're building something right now," he said. "You can hear the buzz in the locker-room. The guys are very confident."

But not too confident. Left tackle Alexandre Gauthier noted Friday's win over the reeling Eskimos wasn't exactly convincing. They blew a 21-9 lead and needed a last-minute drive to get the victory.

"The only thing I don't like is we let them come back at the end," Gauthier said. "It's dangerous. Yes, we did win it, but we're not supposed to let that happen.

"Now we're all happy and that's fine, but I know everybody's thinking about that. We need to be able to finish better."


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