Bombers running out of straws

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:14 PM ET

A week ago, Winnipeg had just whipped the Grey Cup finalist Saskatchewan Roughriders 31-2 and the jubilant Blue Bombers looked ready to take on the football world.

Today, the Bombers have their tails tucked between their legs after meekly dropping a 17-13 decision to the Argos in Toronto on Sunday, and some are wondering if they will win another game this year.

The Argos pulled into a second-place tie with Hamilton in the CFL East with a 6-5 record. They are both six points up on the 3-8 Bombers and have already won the season series against their lowly rival.

“The first thing you have to talk to is winning football games,” Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said Monday. “It’s going to be very hard for us to go (to the playoffs) out of the East now with how many points back we are and losing both season series. So, they (players) have to understand that Edmonton, B.C. or us are still going to make the playoffs.

“We play B.C. twice and Edmonton once. But you can’t look that far ahead. We’ve got to look at beating Montreal this week (Friday here) and getting our two points. Just keep getting points and see what happens down the road. But that’s our biggest priority, just to play consistent football. That’s what I’m very frustrated about — going from last week to this week was bad. I’m trying to figure out why.”

Yes, the crossover playoff remains a possibility but the fact that the Bombers have fallen into that race-to-save-face with seven games left in the season is disturbing.

“This was huge for us,” veteran Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown said just after the most discouraging loss of a frustrating year. “That was the season series. That’s two Eastern Division teams now that we’ve lost the season series to, and we haven’t won a game on the road, man. We’re running out of straws to prop up our house, man.”

The Bombers are now 0-6 away from home.

“It just feels like the same story over and over again,” said safety Ian Logan. “You come out and you’re close, keeping it close; it looks like we’re going to win, and then at the end of the game, we just don’t finish …

“This one hurts a lot. This was a must-win game. It’s a long climb up right now. We’re in a bad position right now.”

Sure, the Bombers have lost a lot of close games this season but the L’s in the loss column are printed the same no matter what the final score is.

“They’re frustrated because people keep telling us, ‘You’re getting close and almost winning football games,’” LaPolice said. “That’s not the point. The point is to win football games.”

After hosting the Alouettes on Friday, the Bombers will face the B.C. Lions, currently also 3-8, in back-to-back contests. After that, they play the Als in Montreal, Toronto at home, the Eskimos — who are currently 2-9 — in Edmonton, and finish the season at home against Calgary.

“We’re still growing together as a team,” said veteran centre Obby Khan. “These are growing pains that we’re going through. It’s just inconsistent play … We have a great game last week, and then we come out a little flat this week. It’s just inconsistent growing pains.”

But all is not lost — yet.

“We’ve gotta wait and see how it all shakes out at the end of the season,” Khan said. “The fat lady hasn’t sung yet, so we’ve gotta keep battling. We’re in control of our destiny still. We’ve gotta win games. We’ve gotta beat Montreal; we’ve gotta beat B.C. We can still jump past Toronto and we could still play for a crossover. It’s still in our hands.”


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