Blue give one away

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

With such important playoff implications on the line, forcing five turnovers should have been enough to to earn Winnipeg a victory.

But both the offence and the special teams blew it for the Blue Bombers yesterday.

The offence failed to convert the turnovers into touchdowns and placekicker Alexis Serna missed two field goals as the Bombers bowed to the B.C. Lions 24-21 at Canad Inns Stadium.

A Jovon Johnson interception returned to the B.C. 31 resulted in a single off a wide field goal try. A fumble recovery by defensive tackle Doug Brown at the Winnipeg 44 resulted in a Serna field goal. A Dorian Smith fumble recovery at the B.C. 23 resulted in another three-pointer.

And they got zip from two other turnovers.

"We left way too many points on the field," said Bomber centre Obby Khan.

"It's on us. It leaves a real bitter taste. Those ones are the hardest to swallow."

Khan will get no argument from the Winnipeg defenders who deserved a better fate.

"I don't even feel like talking about it right now," said Johnson, who had two picks. "That's how I feel. That's how we feel. We don't feel like talking about how frustrating it was. It's frustrating. Everybody knows it and no one in this locker room feels like talking about it ...

"Those interceptions don't mean nothin' when we lose. At the end of the day, it's just another stat to overlook because it don't mean nothin'. We didn't get any points out of it. We didn't get nothin' out of it but a loss so it don't mean nothin'."

In fact, you get the impression that some were biting their tongues.

"You only get so many opportunities and if you don't take advantage of them, you see what the end result is, right?" said Brown. "The game was hard-fought but we're not a team that can give away a game like that with three remaining and playoff positioning on the line.

"We had opportunities to win this game and we let it go. We're not going to scare anybody until we can learn how to take advantage of situations that we need to benefit from.

'DISAPPOINTING'

"We're 6-9. We had a chance to get to 7-8, close to .500, close to respectability and some of the old problems that dwindled in our past are re-surfacing in our ugly heads at the most inopportune times. You've got to grow as a team as the season goes on. Coach (Mike) Kelly has preached to us that we've got to improve all the way out and I don't think we improved tonight. That's disappointing because we've only got three to go and our post-season lives are on the line right now."

Of course, it did not help that Bomber quarterback Michael Bishop also threw three interceptions -- one returned for a touchdown -- and fumbled the ball away.

"Everybody in this locker-room knows we let one get away," said Bishop, who completed only 13 of 32 passes for 226 yards and one TD. "We should have put that game away early."

DOUBLE DUTY: When Serna was enjoying such a breakout season, it was believed that it was partly due to the fact he no longer had to worry about punting. But, with Mike Renaud out for the rest of the season, Serna was back doing both duties yesterday and missed field goals of 38 and 47 yards.

"It's always tough when you don't perform the way you should have," said Serna, adding that the last miss tailed away from between the uprights. "I missed two field goals and that's not good. Special teams is a big part of the game and it obviously showed."

Serna punted for a 36.0-yard average.

"I was just thinking too much for punting," he said. "I should have simplified everything ... It's a learning experience and I'll just come back next week and play better."

EJECTED: B.C. defensive tackle Steve Williams was disqualified for punching Khan late in the first half. Khan stayed down for some time but later returned to the game.

"Right on the chest, on the sternum," Khan said. "It just knocked the wind out of me real bad. I just couldn't breathe. When you get a big guy punching you that hard in the sternum, and you're not expecting it. He just wound right up, and bang.

"I just blocked him on the ground and I was lying on top of him like offensive linemen do. He got up and I said, 'What's up now,' and he turns around and, crank. No personal feelings. It happens. We played with a lot of emotion on both sides. It happened. No hard feelings. If I see the guy, I'll give him a hug."

HASHMARKS: LB Joe Lobendahn suffered a hamstring pull and will be further updated today ... Bishop was also bothered by a hamstring pull that may have affected some of his passes ... When Johnson picked off his second pass, it was his sixth of the season, which leads the CFL.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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