Bombers feel the heat following loss

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:39 PM ET

It was not so much the that the Blue Bombers lost in Montreal, it was the way they lost.

The Alouettes whipped Winnipeg 48-13 and the Bombers looked so bad that some observers even dared to suggest they had either lost focus or just are not a very good football team.

But the bloodied Bombers must lift themselves off the canvas and get their dukes back up in time to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a showdown for second spot in the CFL East in Winnipeg this Sunday.

“That’s not the kind of game you want to have to buoy your last stand at home in the regular season,” veteran Winnipeg defensive tackle Doug Brown said. “We have to put it past us. Hopefully Hamilton gets over-confident, because there’s not a lot of positives there.

“We are a resilient group. We’ve got some guys with some character in this locker-room so, we’re definitely capable. It’s just not the tone you want to set before you have your final stand at home. That’s not the way to build any momentum.”

Beat the Tabbies and the Bombers earn second place. Lose and they will miss the playoffs.

“Everybody had better get themselves right and understand that we’ve get one more shot or we’re going home,” Brown warned. “There’s been a lot of things that have gone wrong this year, and we have one chance to turn it around.”

The quicker they can forget the debacle in Montreal the better.

“We’ve gotta re-focus,” said veteran linebacker Barrin Simpson. “We’ve gotta put this one behind us because we’ve gotta play this (game) like this is your last opportunity to ever play again.”

Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly is already ready to rumble.

“Here we go,” he said. “Let’s stand in the middle of the ring and slug it out, and see what happens.”

The game will have the added drama of banished Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn starting for Hamilton, with ex-Bomber offensive linemen Dan Goodspeed and Alexandre Gauthier pass-blocking for him. Former Winnipeg defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall will also return and ex-Bomber QB Khari Jones is now a Tiger-Cats assistant.

“I don’t think I have to be Knute Rockne this week,” Kelly said. “Everywhere you turn, it’s about the ‘Blue Out’ and it’s a winner-take-all kind of match. So, if our players can’t get excited about playing this game, I don’t know what they’re going to get excited for.”

Fans are being asked to wear blue in the stands a la the ‘White-Out’ of Winnipeg Jets days.

“This is probably the first week in the last little bit that we haven’t responded to a challenge,” said Bomber wide receiver Brock Ralph. “There’s no bigger game than what we’re going to have this week. It’s a one-game season. I like the way that we respond to pressure and I think we’re going to come out firing and see a different team.”

HASHMARKS: Although DB/KR Jovon Johnson (ankle) will be expected to play this Sunday, WR Titus Ryan may spell him off on kickoff returns, Kelly said ... However, there was no update on either DB Jonathan Hefney (ankle) or S Shawn Gallant (leg) ... WR Adarius Bowman (knee) is expected to return after missing Sunday’s contest ... LB Joe Lobendahn (hamstring) is also expected to return. Kelly plans to dress both Lobendahn and LB Barrin Simpson, who recorded 10 defensive tackles and two quarterback sacks versus Montreal.

-With files from Kirk Penton/


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