Bombers losing hope

The Als' Avon Cobourne, who rushed for 80 yards and had 52 yards receiving, shrugs off Jonathan...

The Als' Avon Cobourne, who rushed for 80 yards and had 52 yards receiving, shrugs off Jonathan Hefney of the Bombers on Sunday. (QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

MONTREAL -- All those weeks cracking their skulls against the brick wall have finally started to take their toll.

Some were even looking at the fact the Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't get blown out as badly as the week before as a morale victory.

Once again, the Winnipeg offence was woeful as Montreal beat the Blue Bombers 33-14 in a CFL game before another sold-out crowd of 20,202 at Percival Molson Stadium yesterday.

'HARD TO BELIEVE'

"We're at the point where it's getting hard to believe when we play a top-tier team that we're going to be able to be competitive out there," said veteran Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown. "We're trying but we're not getting it done. There's nothing worse in football than having that feeling where you wonder and you hope that you can be competitive and when that is fleeting, that's a dangerous time.

"You want to believe that you've got an opportunity to win. But last week it was 55-10 (loss to Saskatchewan) and this was 33-14. It's an improvement over last week but it's so far away from where we need to be and where we want to be to not have any chance of writing the season off."

It is already a dangerous time as the Bombers fell to 3-8. They remain tied for last overall with Toronto, four points out of the cross-over playoff spot now held by B.C.

"The only thing that holds us together is Toronto's just as bad and B.C.'s just a couple of games out of our grasp," Brown said. "We're pulling at straws right now and that's really disappointing ... The worst part of it, the record's one thing but it's tough when you fly home and you walk through the airport and you just know what everyone's thinking. This organization's too proud to let this continue. It's so disappointing."

The Bombers did swing a trade with Calgary yesterday (see page S2) but are still in desperate need of a proven CFL quarterback.

"Oh man, I don't think things can get any worse," said defensive end Gavin Walls. "Once you hit the bottom, that's the bottom. All we can do is try to climb out and build.

"We're at the bottom of the food chain and we've got to find a way to win. We've got to play smarter, there's no question about how hard we work and we've got good coaches. We've got to play chess while they're playing checkers. When we're playing checkers, other teams are playing chess."

After participating in a media scrum the two Winnipeg news reporters travelling with the team missed, Bomber head coach Mike Kelly refused to come back to talk to them -- apparently defying orders issued by president/CEO Lyle Bauer.

Starting quarterback Michael Bishop completed nine of 19 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown and one interception. He was replaced late in the first half by recently-arrived Casey Bramlet, who was 1-for-8 for 13 yards and two interceptions.

Bishop returned in the fourth quarter to throw a 55-yard TD toss to wide receiver Adarius Bowman.

"It's frustrating," Bishop said. "A lot of times it's not just one person's fault. But everybody knows that the quarterback gets most of the blame when you lose and the credit when you win. Right now, there's more blame and miscommunication in games."

Montreal tailback Avon Cobourne rushed for 80 yards and a one-yard touchdown on 15 carries and added another five catches for 52 yards, including a 20-yard TD reception. Montreal placekicker Damon Duval kicked five field goals and two singles.

Winnipeg tailback Fred Reid, who was held to 18 yards on 11 carries, scored Winnipeg's other TD on a four-yard run.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca\


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