Bombers own up to loss

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

It's too bad Under Amour athletic wear isn't the real deal, because it would have provided protection for everyone falling on their swords in the Bomber locker-room on Thursday night.

Even if the Blue and Gold don't win a game this season, it doesn't sound like accountability will ever be an issue.

Mere moments removed from a season-opening 19-17 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos at rainy Commonwealth Stadium, Bombers head coach Mike Kelly and quarterback Stefan LeFors both proclaimed they need to be better.

"With a loss, it was not good enough," said LeFors, who completed 14 of 31 passes for 174 yards. "There were some throws that obviously I wish I had back, and there were some plays here and there that were left out on the field that we didn't make. So obviously not winning, that's on me."

Over to you, coach Kelly.

"What affected the offence was I have to do a better job of coaching it," he said. "I gotta make sure I can put our guys into better situations for them to perform individually so that we can put some points on the board.

"The bottom line is we didn't put enough points on the board, so that falls on me."

Is there an echo in here?

The real bottom line, however, is this: There were a handful of positives for the revamped Bombers that they can take into Friday's home-opener against the Calgary Stampeders.

Embattled kicker Alexis Serna even had a chance to tie the game with a 47-yard field goal as time expired, but he pulled it a few inches to the left. Winnipeg had a great shot at taking a game most predicted it wouldn't come close to winning.

"You can't look at just that one play," LeFors said of Serna's miss. "You gotta look at everything that went on in the first half that killed us. That was the key.

"Not getting any points on that first drive (when a Glenn January roughing penalty pushed them out of field-goal range), not threatening them at all in the first half, that hurt us."

Kelly admitted he should have had LeFors throw deep more often earlier in the contest. Instead, he tried to rely on a unique play in which the receiver took a handoff instead of the two running backs.

"We wanted to show them a few things that maybe they hadn't seen," Kelly said. "Maybe I got a little too cute for myself."

On the bright side, the defence was decent, special teams scored a touchdown, and they didn't commit a turnover. On the other hand, the offence had only two drives to write home about, the punt return game was atrocious, and they played down two men because Derick Armstrong refused to take the field and Doug Brown had a setback with what is believed to be a viral infection.

The scene in the Bomber locker-room after the match wasn't exactly doom and gloom. There was no music playing and it was relatively quiet overall, but the optimism was apparent.

"We showed a lot of promise," guard Brendon LaBatte said. "We battled hard, and we came back when the game was on the line, and we were in a position to take it to overtime, if not win it.

"So we definitely have a good character team here. We're battling hard, and that's something we're going to do all year."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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