Justice served in Bombers loss

Alouettes slotback S.J. Green drops the ball as he is hit by Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan...

Alouettes slotback S.J. Green drops the ball as he is hit by Blue Bombers defensive back Jonathan Hefney in Winnipeg, Man., Sep. 30, 2011. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:56 AM ET

WINNIPEG - If one thing is crystal clear about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers heading into the CFL’s stretch drive, it’s that, well, nothing is crystal clear.

Their quarterbacking is up in the air, their running game still doesn’t put the fear of god into anybody and their special teams are often as much of a hindrance as a help.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks.

Three quarters into Friday night’s first-place showdown with the Montreal Alouettes, it appeared the Bombers would go only as far as No. 1 quarterback Buck Pierce carries them.

Because No. 3 Alex Brink, making his first start of the season, spent so much time hitting the turnover button through the first 45 minutes, his team didn’t stand a chance, and Bomber fans had to be yearning for the heady days of July and August.

The Als led, 29-6, near the end of the third, thanks in large part to three turnovers by Brink. Two of them were interceptions by Montreal defensive linemen, as Brink protected the ball like a high schooler.

Then came one of the wildest fourth quarters we’ve ever seen.

It actually began with 16 seconds left in the third, with a big play by Winnipeg’s special teams, and I’m not sure when I last wrote those words.

James Green’s punt block turned into Henoc Muamba’s touchdown return, and a semblance of hope was reborn in the hearts of another sellout crowd.

Then Brink and the Winnipeg offence, so offensive to that point, caught fire, the redhead from Oregon directing two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to pull the Bombers within six.

That’s when things got really interesting.

The Bomber defence found another gear, the crowd, down to maybe 10,000, got back into it and we almost had another Miracle on Maroons Road.

Winnipeg actually made it to the Montreal one in the final 10 seconds, enough time to sneak it in for the winning points, right?

Two Brink sneaks later, with reviews of both from the CFL command centre in Toronto, and no touchdown.

We’re not making this up.

The Bombers had two chances from the one, and blew it.

No doubt they’ll say they got ripped off by two horrible calls, and on the first sneak, they might be right.

I say justice was served.

Because the call that put Winnipeg on Montreal’s doorstep in the first place was as gawd-awful as I’ve seen.

Bomber receiver Greg Carr drew a pass interference call by putting the bear hug on Als defender Greg Laybourn, pretending Laybourn was holding him up.

The ball wasn’t even close to the two, but the flag came down, capping a horrible night by the striped shirts, who couldn’t have distinguished a pass interference call from a pass in a singles bar.

And the bad calls went both ways, the Als taking 18 of the 34 penalties, for a whopping 205 yards.

If you think the Bombers deserved to win this one, you weren’t really watching.

No, the Als didn’t exactly play like world-beaters, either.

As heavyweight battles go, this wasn’t a classic.

But the Bombers turned the ball over four times to Montreal’s one, and there’s your game story in a nutshell.

That’s four losses in the last five, turning a 7-1 start into 8-5, and all of a sudden the Big Blue have some not-so-pleasant company atop the CFL East.

It could be three’s company by the time the weekend is up.

Hamilton is a win over Toronto, Saturday, from being just two points back of the Als and Bombers.

Good thing the Bombers already have the season series on the Ticats, because that’s where they go next.

Where this team is actually going to go from here, your guess is as good as mine.

Because lately, it’s been about as predictable as its quarterbacking.

And that goes for Buck Pierce and Alex Brink.


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