Feeling crotchety

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET

How badly does each side want to win this ball game?

Let us count the ways.

There's the whole crotch chop thing that the B.C. Lions revived before coming to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers in a crucial CFL contest at Canad Inns Stadium this afternoon (4 p.m.).

Then there are the revenge factors.

The Bombers embarrassed the Lions 37-10 in B.C. with Winnipeg tailback Fred Reid rushing for a club-record 260 yards on 26 carries.

And there's the playoff picture, including the crossover playoff implications.

First, the Lions expressed concern about being fined for a pre-game crotch chop directed at the Bombers before the last game, calling out Winnipeg defensive lineman Doug Brown for telling on them.

'Set himself up'

"I'm expecting my old guy (Brown) on the defensive line to play pretty well (today)," Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly suggested yesterday. "He certainly set himself up where he is forced to play well now."

The Lions' revival of the crotch chop controversy still sticks in Brown's craw.

"I try to prepare and present myself in every contest the same way," he said. "But there is probably an emotional component that is amped up for this game as opposed to others. But they have the same thing. They had the 400 yards (393) rushing (against) and we had the 'Suck It' before our game.

"So there's something a little more to play for and it just so happens that I was the spearhead for the reaction from the guys in the locker-room for it ...

"I've been playing pro ball for 13 years and I think I can take care of myself on the field but if it gets to be something extra, we'll see how it goes ... It's all in perspective. You've got your hands full in worrying about a very important game and if they want to delve into a $75 fine and, 'Oh, the audacity of it all,' so be it, man. And we can take advantage of that because that's the most important thing to me."

The Bombers used the insult as motivation to whip the Lions last time.

"I'm sure we took a little chink out of their armour, if you will, the last time we played them and I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't in the back of their minds and there's a little bit of a revenge factor there," Kelly said.

"Revenge is between two lovers, not between two football teams, right?" responded Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono. "It's not a motive to get you excited for this game. From my perspective, you have to learn on what you didn't do in that game that hurt you and hopefully what you need to do to be better at it.

"Winnipeg ran the ball at us, and if you're going to insult anybody in professional sports, it's by keep running the ball at them. And when you rush for close to 400 yards, it's gotta sting somewhat."

So Reid must be rubbing his hands in anticipation.

"I had a big game against them last time out but it probably won't be like that this time out,"said Reid, who will play despite a sore hip.

'No big deal'

Reid, by the way, wasn't inspired by the chop last time.

"That was no big deal to me," he said. "I wasn't even paying attention to it until someone else brought it up as a big deal ... I guess they're mad about Doug and his comments but we're going to be ready to play, too. I know they're going to be ready to play and it's going to be a playoff atmosphere (today)."

The 6-8 Bombers head into today's game tied with Hamilton for second in the CFL East and one game behind the 7-7 Lions and 7-8 Edmonton Eskimos should they fall back into the crossover playoff derby.

The Bombers are riding a three-game winning streak but have not clinched a playoff berth yet.

"With four games left in the season, we're not the Montreal Alouettes -- we still have a ton to play for," Brown said. "So the closer we get to the end, there's that much more meaning to these games."

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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