It was a fitting finish for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Blue and Gold made a game of it — just like they always do — before eventually falling 35-32 to the Calgary Stampeders in their regular-season finale at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday night.
The Bombers extended their CFL record with their ninth loss by four points or fewer in front of an announced crowd of 22,056 spectators that was actually nowhere near that number.
The Bombers finished with a 4-14 record, their worst since they were 3-15 in 1998.
Ken-Yon Rambo hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from backup Drew Tate early in the fourth quarter that extended Calgary’s lead to 32-22.
The Bombers cut the lead to three when Joey Elliott hit Terence Jeffers-Harris on a 27-yard TD toss midway through the fourth for the latter’s first touchdown since July 24.
The Bombers got the ball right back when Rico McCoy rocked Jon Cornish on the ensuing kickoff, forcing him to fumble. Brandon Stewart scooped up the pigskin.
The Stamps defence held, however, and Winnipeg’s Justin Palardy booted his sixth field goal of the game, a 16-yarder, to tie it at 32-32 with 4:24 to go.
Palardy’s six three-pointers were one short of Trevor Kennerd’s club record, which he set in 1981.
Rob Maver’s 38-yard field goal — his fourth of the night — with 3:01 to go proved to be the game-winning points. It came after Landan Talley’s 47-yard kickoff return.
The Stamps, who didn’t have anything to play for, finished with a 13-5 mark and will host the West Final on Nov. 21.
Palardy booted 12- and 41-yard field goals in the third quarter to knot the score at 22-22.
Maver restored his team’s lead with a 28-yarder into the wind that came at the end of a long, clock-eating drive late in the third.
Elliott and Cory Watson hooked up on a 55-yard passing play with five minutes left in the second quarter that resulted in the first CFL touchdown for both players and cut Calgary’s lead to 22-16 at the break.
Former Bomber Romby Bryant caught a 30-yard touchdown toss from Henry Burris and defensive lineman Randy Chevrier snagged a one-yard TD toss from Tate in the first quarter for the Stamps.
Burris completed all three of his pass attempts for 55 yards and the score before leaving midway through the first quarter.
In the first half Maver booted a pair of field goals and added a kickoff single, while Burke Dales had a punt single for Calgary.
Palardy kicked field goals of 24, 51 and 38 yards in the opening 30 minutes.
The Bombers lost running back Fred Reid, who was pursuing the CFL rushing title, to an ankle injury in the first half. Reid had 48 yards when he left, giving him a 37-yard lead over Toronto’s Cory Boyd.
Elliott, in his second career start, completed 13 of 29 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jeffers-Harris was Winnipeg’s top receiver with six catches for 65 yards and the major.
Tate was good on 15 of 24 attempts for 178 yards and two touchdowns.
Terrence Edwards extended his lead atop the CFL receiving races with three catches for 47 yards. He leads Arland Bruce III and Andy Fantuz by 69 yards.