Bombers road woes offensive

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:16 PM ET

MONTREAL -- - Maybe it’s the loud crowd.

Maybe it’s lumpy hotel beds.

Maybe it’s the lack of home cooking.

Whatever it is, the befuddling Winnipeg Blue Bombers can’t win on the road, and that may end up being the single biggest reason for the team’s losing season of 2010.

Look a little closer, however, and it’s not the entire Bomber team that can’t win on the road. The blame for most of Winnipeg’s 0-8 record away from Canad Inns Stadium can be placed squarely on the offence:

— The Bombers have been shut out in a quarter 12 times on the road, including in the second and third of Sunday’s 22-19 loss to the Alouettes at Molson Stadium. They’ve been blanked in only three quarters at home.

— The most points the Bombers have scored on the road this season is 23. The fewest they’ve scored at home is 28.

— Six of Winnipeg’s eight biggest yard outputs this season have occurred at home. Oddly, their most productive game was a 508-yard anomaly in a loss at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium on Aug. 7.

— Steven Jyles is 3-1 at home as the quarterback of record, but he’s 0-6 on the road.

— In Winnipeg’s last four road games its defence has allowed 12, 0, 0 and 11 points in the first half, yet the Blue and Gold did not win any one of those contests.

— The Bomber defence is allowing an average of 29 points at home and only 25 on the road.

Most of those statistics are the result of the others, but you get the point. The offence goes stone cold outside of Manitoba’s borders.

Somebody on Maroons Road needs to slip the CFL schedule maker a 50 this winter to see if he can’t add a few more home games to next season’s Bomber schedule.

“I don’t really know exactly what happened, but unfortunately it’s become a characteristic,” left guard Brendon LaBatte said after Sunday’s setback. “It’s a little lull where we disappear for a quarter or two.”

The Bombers led 11-2 after one quarter on Sunday and had a great chance to go up by 16 early in the second when they got down to the Montreal five-yard line. Jyles, however, threw an interception in the end zone. He later was picked later in the quarter by Etienne Boulay. They didn’t score again until late in the fourth.

“We had those early turnovers where if we would’ve put points up on the scoreboard it wouldn’t have been close,” Jyles said.

“We came out and started the way we wanted to start offensively,” added slotback Terrence Edwards. “When we’re in the red zone we gotta capitalize. We gotta put points on the board because they’re going to put points up.”

Two weeks ago in Vancouver, the Bombers led the B.C. Lions 10-0 late in the second quarter and had the ball on the their 27. Then Jyles fumbled the ball. He recovered it but lost 26 yards on the play, pushing the Bombers out of field goal range. They didn’t score again until midway through the fourth.

Members of the Bomber offence were at a loss to explain the offensive events of Sunday in Montreal.

“I guess they made adjustments,” Edwards said of the Alouettes defence. “We were throwing what they were giving us. We had stuff called; we can’t throw it into coverage.

“Steve was taking what they were giving us. Everybody knows we’re a big-play offence, so they tried to take that away from us. We gotta throw it underneath and keep drives alive. That’s what we gotta do.”

Added right guard Steve Morley: “You gotta give credit to Montreal, too. They’re a good team. You gotta give them credit. You can’t just point the finger at us. They executed and made plays.”

Asked whether or not they should run the ball more, LaBatte said the coaches are putting the players in position to win. It’s the players who aren’t delivering.

“Uh, you know, sometimes you’d like to run it more, but sometimes we go to run it more and we don’t get any production,” LaBatte said. “You can’t say it’s the play calling at all. It’s execution.”

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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