Top CFL ref: 'We'll never apologize'

Bombers quarterback Steven Jyles leaves the field after throwing an interception in the fourth...

Bombers quarterback Steven Jyles leaves the field after throwing an interception in the fourth quarter Friday night. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

The CFL offered an explanation, but not an apology, to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Tom Higgins, the league’s director of officiating, told QMI Agency on Sunday that neither the on- nor off-field officials erred on Jamel Richardson’s non-catch in the waning moments of Montreal’s 44-40 win over Winnipeg on Friday.

“We’ll never apologize,” Higgins said from Moncton, N.B. “Our guys go out and do the best they can.”

Richardson appeared to catch a tipped ball and then fumble it when Bombers safety Ian Logan hit him as he turned toward the end zone. Winnipeg defensive back Brandon Stewart scooped up the loose ball as the officials blew the play dead.

Higgins said the play was so close the referees would have been correct whether they had deemed it a catch or not.

“The on-field call said it was an incomplete pass,” Higgins said. “It was so extremely close.

“If it was ruled a catch and a fumble it would still have been looked at, and the call would’ve stood because it was that close.”

Since it was deemed an incomplete pass, the only thing the command centre could have reviewed was whether it was a catch or not. They could not have ruled it a catch and then determined if Richardson had fumbled.

BODY BLOWS: The Bombers took two big hits over the weekend when both the B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos recorded victories.

The Lions improved to 4-8 with an upset win over the Calgary Stampeders, while the Eskimos are 3-9 after a victory over the Toronto Argonauts in Touchdown Atlantic.

That means the Bombers (3-9) are two points back of the Lions and tied with the Eskimos for the West Division crossover spot. The Bombers and Lions will begin a huge home-and-home series on Saturday night in Vancouver.

Winnipeg needs to finish with more points than both the Lions and Eskimos to make the playoffs through the West.

The Bombers have one more game against the Eskimos, and that will take place on Oct. 30 at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Toronto loss, along with Hamilton’s setback against Saskatchewan, means they are both six points up on the Bombers in the East Division with six games to go, so the Blue and Gold aren’t completely toast in their own division quite yet.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: The Bomber offence bounced back against the Alouettes after a dismal outing the week before in Toronto, piling up 40 points and more than 400 yards of net offence against Montreal.

“It feels great offensively, because last week we struggled and this week we brought it together and we competed,” quarterback Steven Jyles said. “That’s all you can ask for, is just to go out and compete.

“Montreal’s a pretty good ball team and they’ve got a pretty good defence, and we put up 40 points on them.”

The Bombers return to the practice field on Tuesday.


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