Bombers are 'over-dogs'

Buck Pierce and head coach Paul LaPolice lead the Blue Bombers into battle against the Toronto...

Buck Pierce and head coach Paul LaPolice lead the Blue Bombers into battle against the Toronto Argonauts Saturday.

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 AM ET

WINNIPEG - A week ago, they were distinct underdogs.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had just been blown out in two straight games by Saskatchewan, their starting quarterback was suffering bruised ribs and they were about to take on the defending Grey Cup champion Alouettes in Montreal.

This week, the Bombers are fresh off a victory over those Als, their starting QB is breathing better and they are about to take on the Argos — who have the worst record in the CFL — in Toronto on Saturday.

So just about everyone expects the Bombers to win this one. Or, in the vernacular of former Bombers head coach Dave Ritchie, they are now “over-dogs.”

“Over-dogs?” Bombers veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown responded with a laugh. “Well, if there’s any team that recognizes the lesson that records don’t really amount to much, we were taught that quite well by the Saskatchewan Roughriders when we had the best record in the league going in there and they had the worst. And they showed us that you’ve got to throw that out the window when it comes to the games and when the whistle’s blown and you step on the field.

“So certainly, we’ll be well-prepared and not have an overconfident bone in our body when we face Toronto because the two wins we got against them (earlier this year) were really tough games. It’s not going to be any easier heading out there and they’re getting into a desperate situation.”

The Argos, who are 2-9 and in danger of missing the playoffs, recently released starting quarterback Cleo Lemon and replaced him with former Bomber Steven Jyles, and have been answering questions about the future of head coach/GM Jim Barker.

But the Bombers are not about to get caught up in that drama.

“We have to play a very good football game on the road in a place where it’s difficult to win,” Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said. “Toronto is a different atmosphere. It’s (Rogers Centre) like playing a game in a mall. There’s not huge crowds.”

But a Winnipeg win over the Argos combined with an Alouettes’ loss to Edmonton would give the first-place Bombers a six-point lead over Montreal in the East.

“We still understand the weight of this matchup as compared to last,” Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce said. “It’s just as big. Everybody else looks at last week as something spectacular that we did, that no one thought we could do.

“(But) this week is going to be a challenge. They’re a good football team, they’re going to be playing at home … and they’re going to have a lot of reasons to play well.”

The Bombers lead the season series 2-0 with two games left against each other.

“It feels good to know we control our destiny,” LaPolice said. “Last year we were scrambling to get a crossover spot at this point. Now we’re in a position to compete for first or second."


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