Bombers have a lot of holes

LaPolice leaves the field after the Bombers fell 45-23 to the Roughriders on Sunday in their second...

LaPolice leaves the field after the Bombers fell 45-23 to the Roughriders on Sunday in their second straight embarrassing loss. 'I'm going to coach them like hell to be better,' he vows.

Jim Bender, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Sure, they are still in top spot in their division but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will soon lose that Beast of the East designation if they continue to unravel the way they did the last two outings.

Despite storming to a 7-1 record in the first half of the CFL season, the Bombers had weaknesses that just became more glaring in their last two losses to the Saskatchewan Roughriders — both of them utterly embarrassing.

Their pass protection, rushing and kick returning needed improvement heading into the second half when the cream rises to the playoff top. Now, you might add the passing game and a defence that is becoming too predictable to that equation.

“There’s a lot of holes in the dam,” veteran Winnipeg defensive lineman Doug Brown said after the 45-23 loss to the Riders in their own ballpark. “It’s hard to just put your finger on one of them right now because we made a lot of errors as a team out there (Sunday). You’ve gotta think things are going to improve from here because that was quite disastrous out there.

“Credit to Saskatchewan. They’re a lot better than their record shows, but we definitely are not playing up to any standard that we’re capable of right now.”

Don’t blame it on the six turnovers, either.

“At that point, the game was already signed, sealed and delivered,” Brown said. “Defensively, we had given up enough points for Saskatchewan to win before a majority of those turnovers happened.”

Not only is the second half of any season tougher but the Bombers will have to play six of their eight remaining games against division rivals — three of them versus the defending Grey Cup champion Alouettes. The first of those comes this Sunday in Montreal.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up in the Eastern Division that are going to determine our outcome,” Brown said. “We have to be able to move past it and learn from the plethora of mistakes we made (Sunday).”

Montreal is in second spot with 12 points, just two shy of Winnipeg.

“We’re mad as hell because we wanted to win that game (Sunday) and everyone’s really frustrated,” said Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “But we need to play better. We need to be accountable to each other and communicate better and respond.

“I’m disappointed. I wanted us to be better and I’m going to coach them like hell to be better.”

The Bombers are still tied for first overall with Calgary at 7-3 and they could possibly even clinch a playoff spot by winning their next three straight.

“We haven’t pressed the panic button, by any means,” said Winnipeg safety Ian Logan. “We know we have a good team.”

— With files from Kirk Penton and Paul Friesen


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