Bombers out of last chances

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look on during the final moments of their loss to the Montreal Alouettes....

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers look on during the final moments of their loss to the Montreal Alouettes. (REUTERS/Shaun Best)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

It is almost the last of the last chances.

With three games to go in the current campaign, the Blue Bombers, believe it or not, still have a crack at qualifying for a CFL crossover playoff berth.

But Winnipeg, 4-11, needs to knock off the 7-8 Toronto Argonauts at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. to keep those playoff hopes realistic.

“Yeah, all year, it’s been, ‘This game is huge for us. This game, you know, this is it. This is our season.’ Well, we’re finally running out of last-chance parables in terms of the finality of what’s going on with our football team,” veteran Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown said Friday.

“We’re still in it. We’ve got three games to go, but we understand that we have to win all three just to give ourselves an opportunity. If we lose this game at home (Saturday), then we’re just playing for pride — which is not something we want to be doing the last two weeks of the year.”

Technically, the Bombers would still be alive if they lose to Toronto and both B.C. and Edmonton lose as well, however unlikely.

“It’s been playoff time for some time here,” Brown said. “Now, it’s close to elimination time.”

Winnipeg safety Ian Logan knows it sounds like a broken record.

“We’ve been saying, ‘This is a game we have to win, we have to win.’ This one, we really have to win,” he said. “If we lose, there’s nothing else.”

The Bombers recorded one of the most amazing comebacks in CFL history when they overcame a 32-11 deficit to beat the B.C. Lions in overtime the last time they were home, then took the Alouettes to the last minute before losing by three in Montreal last week.

“Our morale’s still high,” said rookie slotback Terrence Jeffers-Harris. “We need things to go our way that aren’t in our control, but we’re just going to control what we can. We’re looking forward to winning one game at a time, and getting the points we need to get to get into the playoffs …

“We can’t lose. We can’t afford to lose any of these games — not the ones we’ve lost and not the ones we have left — so, that’s definitely a challenge.”

To get a crossover post-season berth, the Bombers will have to finish ahead of both B.C. and Edmonton, who headed into the weekend with identical 5-10 records.

“To be truthful, Winnipeg’s had a lot of games stolen from them,” said veteran Argo receiver Jeremaine Copeland. “I’m not saying anything bad. Winnipeg’s definitely competed every time they’ve played.

“They’re a team to be reckoned with. They could easily be a team pushing for first place right now when you really think about it.”

Instead, they are pushing to get out of the cellar.

“Our main focus is to finish this season strong, get three solid wins and go into the off-season with confidence,” said Bomber quarterback Steven Jyles. “We have to finish against these guys. We played Toronto before in their backyard, and that wasn’t our best ball game (17-13 loss). We felt that we gave them that ball game. We have to come out and play, put plays together and put them away when we have the chance.”

Winnipeg has only one win versus an East Division opponent this season.

“I truly believe that if we finish strong and get these three wins here, then just let everything take care of itself,” Jyles said. “And, if something just so happens that we don’t make the playoffs, we’re going into the off-season with that confidence and the belief that we know that we’re a good football team. We knew the whole time. It was just a matter of us putting it all together.”

With files from Kirk Penton


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