Close doesn't count for Bombers

Kirk Penton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:02 AM ET

It’s been a rough week for Alex Brink and sure things.

First of all, the backup Bomber quarterback’s beloved Boston Red Sox blew their whopping nine-game lead in the American League wild card race and missed the playoffs.

Then on Friday night, Brink and the Bomber offence failed to get into the end zone from the one-yard line on back-to-back sneak plays. Winnipeg would have all but wrapped up first place in the East Division had they been able to do so.

Instead, they fell 32-26 to Montreal, their fourth loss in five games, and are now tied with the Alouettes for first place in the East at 8-5.

Getting a yard in the CFL is almost automatic — just like the Red Sox winning the wild-card berth with a nine-game lead on Sept. 3.

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice said the bottom line is his team should have left no doubt when it came to getting in the end zone, so he isn’t about to look into whether Brink broke the plane.

LaPolice’s only question for the CFL head office a day later was whether there should have been time left on the clock for a third attempt. The last sneak started with five seconds left, and he doesn’t think the play took that long to complete.

The Winnipeg Sun looked at the final sneak five or six times and, using a stopwatch, recorded the time between the whistle to start the play and the one that ended it. Each time the tally was between 4.5 and 4.8 seconds, so five seconds coming off the clock appears to be valid.

“I just thought that when the ball was put into play we snapped it pretty quickly,” LaPolice said. “There should have been more time on the clock. A wedge play wouldn’t take five seconds.

“In their defence, (the officials) have to wait until all the surges are done. They have a tough job in the fact that what if somebody got it on second effort? They’re told to hold their whistle. What if a guy gets it on second effort and they’ve already blown the whistle? That’s what they don’t want.”

That’s exactly what the CFL’s director of officiating, Tom Higgins, said Saturday from Calgary.

“If you think about it in reverse, you don’t want to have a quick whistle, because anything that happens afterwards doesn’t count,” Higgins said.

A finish that close is always going to be controversial, but it appears the Bombers simply came oh so close. So the bottom line is the offensive line lost its one-on-one battle with the defensive line.

LaPolice said the sneak, or the wedge as he refers to it, was the right call. He had no regrets about his decision a day later, as he said they hadn’t failed to convert the play in his year and a half as head coach until last week in Toronto.

“It’s on us,” right tackle Glenn January said after the game. “Any time you have to get one yard, it doesn’t matter how many people they load the box up with. You gotta get it done. We’ve been really good on that front the past two years under coach LaPolice’s tutelage. Without looking at the film, it sucks.”


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