Beat Tiger-Cats or bust

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

MONTREAL -- It's win or go home for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this weekend at Canad Inns Stadium.

The Bombers need to beat Kevin Glenn and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their regular-season finale on Sunday to finish second in the East Division and host the semifinal. If they lose or tie, they will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

The Ticats (8-9) can lose next week's game and still make the playoffs, as long as Edmonton and B.C. don't tie their regular-season finale on Friday.

The Bombers had a chance to all but sew up a post-season berth yesterday at Molson Stadium, but the Montreal Alouettes destroyed them 48-13 in front of 20,202 spectators.

CAN DO IT AGAIN

Winnipeg fell to 7-10, meaning it will finish with a sub-.500 record for the second straight year. The Bombers were 8-10 last season and placed second in the East. They can do it again with a win over the Ticats.

"We'll be ready. I promise you we'll be ready," head coach Mike Kelly said. "We'll be focused, and we'll get after it, and there's no question in my mind we'll be ready to play next week."

The Alouettes exacted revenge for their 41-24 loss to Winnipeg last week. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who didn't play in Winnipeg due to a sore calf, had a solid outing in his return, completing 27 of 38 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns.

The Alouettes improved to 14-3 and, after last week's setback, reconfirmed that whoever shows up for the East Final on Nov. 22 had better be ready. They finished the season with a 9-0 record at home, their first perfect season in Montreal since 1955, when they were 6-0.

"They put us over their knee, and they gave us a little spanking and said, 'We're the big dogs.' And we understand that, and congratulations to them," Kelly said. "They're a good football team. It's hard to go 9-0 at home, and they were able to do it.

"OK, it's over and done with. Now we gotta put it away, and right now all of our thoughts are nothing but positive and getting ready for Hamilton."

Michael Bishop and the Bomber offence was awful all day, but particularly in the first half. It looked like the offence of old, generating just two first downs and 44 yards of offence.

Both Kelly and Bishop both said the absence of receiver Adarius Bowman, who was out with a knee injury, was the big reason for the offence's pitiful performance.

"They were able to do the things that they did today because we didn't have Adarius," said Bishop, who completed eight of 21 attempts for 145 yards and one touchdown. "If we had Adarius, they don't play the coverage they play. So he was missed today. I definitely missed him."

Bishop hit Titus Ryan with a 65-yard touchdown bomb on the second play of the third quarter to get Winnipeg to within 12 points, but that was the lone offensive highlight.

Andrew Hawkins and Brian Bratton had touchdown catches for the Als, Avon Cobourne had a 14-yard run for a score, and Larry Taylor returned Alexis Serna's missed 46-yard field goal and took it 115 yards to paydirt in the third quarter to halt Winnipeg's momentum.

SIX FIELD GOALS

Montreal's Damon Duval booted a whopping six field goals, which Kelly surprisingly noted afterwards.

"Our guys never quit," Kelly said. "We forced them to kick a lot of field goals again today. We kept them out of the end zone for the most part, and that's a positive thing with Anthony in there."

Serna booted 40- and 25-yard field goals for the Bombers, who trailed 25-6 at the half.

Their mission now is to forget about yesterday's debacle and focus on their playoff lives.

"The schoolyard bully of the CFL called us out on the playground and just spanked us pretty good," defensive tackle Doug Brown said. "We've got one shot left to right all the wrongs."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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