Bombers saddled with loss

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

CALGARY — Doug Brown said Saturday night’s game was going to set the tone for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who were playing four of their next five games on the road.

If that is indeed the case, the defensive tackle and his teammates have some work to do, but the future may not be too bleak.

The banged-up Bombers didn’t play terribly, but the result at McMahon Stadium was still the same.

The Calgary Stampeders took advantage of a sluggish Bomber offence in the first half and some ill-timed Blue and Gold penalties to escape with a 23-20 victory in front of 30,150 spectators.

It was Winnipeg’s eighth consecutive loss at McMahon. The Bombers, who fell to 2-3, haven’t won in Calgary since 2002. The Stamps improved to 4-1.

The Bombers, who now have three of their next four on the road, have lost five straight games away from Canad Inns Stadium dating back to last season. They visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-4) next Saturday in a key East Division battle.

Even though they lost by three points on Saturday when their average margin of defeat over the last seven years was 15, the Bombers believe they’re better than to celebrate nearly beating a solid team.

“We played exponentially better out here than we have over the last seven years since we won a game, but there’s no points for moral victories in the standings,” Brown said. “They don’t give you half a point for having a good effort.

“It’s frustrating. Defensively, myself included, we were really porous and making all sorts of mistakes in the first half, and then we came out and really put a concerted effort together in the second half and gave ourselves a chance to win.

“If we play the whole game like we did in the second half, we don’t have to worry about anything or anyone else. We would’ve controlled our own destiny in that sense.”

Winnipeg got to within two points, at 20-18, when Terrence Edwards hauled in a 61-yard touchdown toss from Jyles three minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Bombers then had a chance to win the game, getting down to the Calgary 30-yard line in the final minute thanks to a 44-yard catch by Edwards, but it ended there when quarterback Steven Jyles overthrew the slotback in the end zone on third-and-10.

“This team right now is too talented to be talking about moral victories,” said Edwards, who had six catches for 162 yards and the score. “Nobody in there is talking about moral victories. We’re in there talking about how we can’t beat ourselves.

“(The Stamps) are too good to kill ourself on drives, kill ourself on penalties, stupid mistakes, unforced mistakes. We can’t make those against this calibre of a team.”

Jyles, making his second start in place of the injured Buck Pierce, completed 17 of 30 passes for 227 yards and one major. Most of it, however, came in the second half.

“Calgary’s a good defence, but we left a lot of plays out there,” Jyles said. “We make those plays, and we come out of here with a win.”

The Stamps led 17-8 at the break. Ken-Yon Rambo, playing in his first game since last July, had a 20-yard touchdown grab, Rob Maver booted a 45-yard field goal and Deon Murphy had a four-yard touchdown catch two plays after Bomber defensive end Phillip Hunt was given a penalty for a horse-collar tackle on running back Joffrey Reynolds.

“I didn’t feel that was a horse-collar tackle,” Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said.

Fred Reid had a 46-yard rushing touchdown for the Bombers, with Alexis Serna adding a punt single. Serna’s 33-yard field goal was the only scoring in the third quarter, and Maver had two field goals in the fourth.

Calgary quarterback Henry Burris was good on 28 of 38 attempts for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bombers lost safety Ian Logan, who re-injured the same hamstring that kept him out of the last two games, receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris (undisclosed) and special teamer Jerry-Ralph Jules, whose right foot was in a walking boot after the game.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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