Gamble comes up short

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

REGINA -- One second left in the first half and one yard to go, and the Blue Bombers actually lose two yards.

Down 18-4 with the seconds ticking off and Winnipeg at the Saskatchewan one, quarterback Michael Bishop handed off to tailback Fred Reid who was immediately stuffed.

Conventional wisdom dictates the quarterback sneak the ball in that situation.

"You're the leading rushing team in the league and you have the leading running back in the league and you run your best back through your best hole and your guard (Brendon LaBatte) gets beat and you don't get in," explained Bombers head coach Mike Kelly, who calls the plays.

"It comes down to that. I truly believe, from a yard and a half away, we could bang it in there and we didn't do it."

Trouble is, Saskatchewan stuffed Reid's runs the entire first half.

"(A sneak) would have been a problem," Bishop said. "They had eight or nine guys up in the box. If I could do it again, I would have pulled it and tried to outrun (them) to the edge. But they did a good job of sniffing it out."

Scoring a touchdown then would have pulled Winnipeg to within 18-11 at the half.

"That was a tremendous play and really hurt their momentum," said Saskatchewan head coach Ken Miller.

"Any time we have the ball on the one-yard line, we've got to get it in there in some kind of way," said Reid. "We had to keep fighting."

COIN CONFUSION: The Bombers got off to a bad start before the kickoff following mass confusion over the coin toss. Saskatchewan won and deferred to the second half, giving Winnipeg the choice in the first half. But the Bombers wound up taking the wind in the first quarter AND kicking off when they really wanted the wind in the second.

Kelly raced across the field to discuss the matter with the officials, to no avail.

"We're not going to talk about the officials in this league," Kelly said. "We'll leave it at semantics."

When pressed, Kelly replied: "Semantics."

Apparently, it's a non-issue.

RUN STOPPERS: Reid was held to eight yard on six carries in the first half and wound up with 41 yards on 12 rushes.

"They had a pretty good scheme for us but it won't happen again, I promise you that," said Reid, who had said he was going to push for 300 yards in the contest. "But you've got to give it up to those guys. They played hard and stopped some of the things we tried to do. When you do that and the scheme's good, they came out on top. They had everybody in the box so it was hard to run."

BREAKOUT GAME: WR Adarius Bowman had his best game as a Bomber, catching five passes for 121 yards, including an 18-yard TD.

"I think maybe it was a bit of his coming-out party," Kelly said. "We've been anticipating him being a playmaker for us and I think he did a nice job.

"He made some nice adjustments on routes and Michael was able to find him and he showed what kind of skills he has. I'm really happy for him."

Bowman had predicted he would have a breakout game.

"It was a good game but I would rather have come out with a win," he said.

BROWNE OUT: Backup S Brady Browne suffered a hyperextended elbow and may be out for awhile.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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